At the end of July, I visited the Yokohama Works to attend a town meeting for managers of the Sumitomo Electric Group. Although I always willingly try to listen to employees, I feel that it's also worthwhile to take such an opportunity to sit down and discuss various themes.
Since it was a town meeting with those in high positions, I expected that I might receive some harsh comments. As typical members of the Sumitomo Electric Group, however, they stated their opinions frankly but calmly, though they might have been a little too reserved.
One of the topics that caught my attention was about cooperation between R&D and production groups. I feel that this theme is almost always on the agenda. Although I don't think that no cooperation has been achieved between them, it's still a truly important theme. By being fully aware of the entire process, both R&D and manufacturing departments need to make concerted efforts with a sense of speed, and managers have a particularly important role to fulfill. I hope that they always bear in mind this point, together with the significance of HR interaction and technology exchange.
Another topic that we discussed was about how to approach customers. In this age of rapid change, the key lies in innovation. It's important to identify customer needs and social needs correctly, and consider who should visit customers and what they should ask the customers about. I feel that we always need to explore these points.
Moreover, as we frequently complete new products by combining existing technologies, rather than creating something new totally from scratch, it is important to share information among related departments throughout the Group, and establish an environment with an open atmosphere.
Although we explored many more topics, including those we discussed at a night get-together, I'd like to keep them secret here. Anyway, I would like our managers to be fully aware of their positions, share important information with those concerned or disseminate necessary information, and ensure smooth communication. In addition, I ask that they never become content with the status quo, always try to improve things and identify problems to be solved, and involve everyone in their workplaces in these efforts.