September 1, 2014,11:10 +0900(JST)

Minister Amari Visits Yokohama Works to Observe Redox Flow Battery


On August 21, Minister Akira Amari in charge of Economic Revitalization, who also serves as the Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy, visited our Yokohama Works to observe a redox flow battery. On the day of the visit, I went to the Yokohama Works 45 minutes before his scheduled arrival, and confirmed with the staff in charge the arrangements for welcoming the minister, when we were notified that he would arrive about 30 minutes earlier than scheduled. We welcomed him with a fair amount of haste.

When he arrived at the works, the minister was smiling. Once we began our explanation, however, he took notes with a serious look from beginning to end. Asking important questions, he looked as if he were marshalling his thoughts.

Minister Amari (front, second from left). I am on the far right.

I was surprised that he was asking very in-depth questions, such as regarding global trends in the development of renewable energy technology, comparisons between other secondary batteries, and patent strategies. He said that he had recently visited the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany while the Diet was out of session. He went to the applied research institute, which connects basic research at universities with actual business at companies, on the recognition that the activation of research and development and improving its efficiency are necessary in order to realize the growth strategy of “Abenomics.”

In front of the redox flow battery

After observing the redox flow battery, the minister was interviewed by the media accompanying him. He said that his visit had made him recognize that a redox flow battery could not be commercialized without advanced Japanese manufacturing technology. He continued to say that the national government would like to promote technological development of the battery, as well as business development in foreign countries. This would be very helpful. He was taking notes even of the challenges regarding commercialization, which means that we cannot make a botch of things. To live up to his expectations, we plan to accelerate our development and commercialization of the redox flow battery.

It was so hot on this day that I was worried that my suit would be scorched. It must have been tough for the staff members of the Cabinet Office who made arrangements for the minister’s visit, the security staff, and the staff members of Sumitomo Electric who were in charge of the visit. I would like to once again express my appreciation to them all.

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August 21, 2014,14:15 +0900(JST)

Business Results for the First Quarter of FY 2014


On July 31, we announced our business results for the first quarter (April-June) for the first quarter of fiscal 2014 as follows: sales of 638.2 billion yen; operating income of 21.8 billion yen; ordinary income of 29.8 billion yen; and net income of 26.9 billion yen. We achieved an increase in both revenue and profit compared with the same period of the previous year. However, there were differences in the results among our various business groups. I instructed each business group to once again analyze the relevant factors and take appropriate measures.

The following day I attended a Partners’ Meeting, to which we invited our business partners who always support us in the procurement of materials and equipment. As in previous years, the meeting again drew many participants from both Japan and overseas. This year marked the seventh anniversary of this event. Every time I attend a Partners’ Meeting I keenly realize that we receive support and cooperation from many partners.

第1四半期を終えて

At the party held after every meeting, the participants let me know some useful information on various topics, or give me lectures. All this serves as an invaluable barometer for the future of the Sumitomo Electric Group. This year, the participants generally seemed to be in a cheerful mood, making me feel confident about our future.

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July 31, 2014,15:49 +0900(JST)

10th Anniversary of Executive Training Program


At the end of last week, in order to attend the kick-off meeting of an executive training program Action Learning, I stayed at our seminar facility on Mt. Ikoma, on the border between Osaka and Nara Prefectures. The program was launched in 2005, marking its 10th anniversary this year. The program annually draws 40 to 50 executive managers from our various divisions and our domestic and foreign affiliated companies. More than 400 people in total have participated in the program so far.

Although the program certainly includes a several-day lecture-oriented seminar, the main part is a half-year activity called “action learning.” In this session, participants are divided into teams, each consisting of five to six persons. The teams are required to work on provided themes regarding actual management, and to submit solutions. Since participants are divided into teams randomly on purpose, many of them need to struggle with themes that are outside their fields. There has been no change in this style since the program was first launched.

Giving a lecture to participants.

It is difficult to explain this program’s specific effects. However, there are quite a few of proposals and ideas incorporated into our management policies directly or indirectly. In addition, since many participants tend to consider issues only from their divisions’ perspectives, the program is very effective in helping them to learn about the situation of the entire Sumitomo Electric Group and to share the group’s management challenges.

What types of proposals will the nine teams this year submit? Based on my past experience, proposals that were completed after much legwork were most convincing. Some proposals were helpful enough to provide management with new perspectives (even though proposals may have hit sore spots). At the start of this year, I requested all company staff members to realize the idea of “creative destruction.” I hope that this year’s teams come up with many bold ideas that will help achieve this idea. I look forward to hearing the teams’ presentations at the end of the year.

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July 28, 2014,11:35 +0900(JST)

Chinese G-katsu Winner Groups Visit Japan


In my previous blog post, I wrote about the G-katsu presentations and improvement activity award ceremony (G-katsu event) held on July 17. In the morning of the same day, I received a courtesy visit of the two winning groups of all-China group activity competitions (all-China G-katsu competitions).

With members from Sumitomo Electric Optical Components (Wuxi) Co., Ltd. and Wuhan Sumiden Wiring Systems Co., Ltd.

Although it might sound a little confusing, while a G-katsu event is held as a competition among our business units, all-China G-katsu competitions, launched in China in 2007, take place as an area competition among our affiliated companies located in China. The latter serves as a good opportunity for companies in the area to work hard in friendly rivalry. Since China is a vast country and there are many affiliated companies there, an all-China G-katsu competition is held in the two regions of East China and South China. The top group in each competition is invited to Japan to observe the G-katsu event held in Japan.

Since the Sumitomo Electric Group develops businesses in a wide variety of fields, it is not unusual for us to have several companies established by different business units in one country. Even though located geographically close to each other, however, such companies have unexpectedly few opportunities to have contact with one another on a daily basis, mainly due to differences in their business units. The all-China G-katsu competitions help our local staff members realize how widely the Sumitomo Electric Group develops businesses, and also serve as an opportunity to foster interaction among group companies. A similar area event - though small in size - was launched in Indonesia in 2011. I hope that such an event will take place in other regions as well.

Although I have never attended an all-China G-katsu competition, I heard that the total number of companies giving presentations at the events held in East China and South China is around 20, and the number of audience members is approximately 200. I also heard that each event features high-level presentations every time. I look forward to attending the events sometime in the future.

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July 28, 2014,10:20 +0900(JST)

Flag of Best President Award Crosses the Sea


On July 17, I attended our group activity (G-katsu) presentations and improvement activity award ceremony. This is an event to encourage our staff members to perform small-group activities and improvement activities across the Sumitomo Electric Group. In the presentations session, seven groups representing their business units or other organizations demonstrated the results of their activities. While sometimes referring to difficulties they had experienced, they spoke about their efforts regarding various themes such as eliminating defects, decreasing facility shutdown time, cutting out unnecessary processes, and reducing the amount of waste material.

With winners of the Best President Award

All the presentations indicated that members had worked hard to exert their originality and ingenuity and had made untiring efforts based on the philosophy of the Three Actuals: examining actual sites, actual products, and actual situations. Although there was a fierce debate among panel members regarding which group should win the Best President Award, eventually Hui Zhou Zhurun Wiring Systems Co., Ltd. (China) [HZR], which participated in the event representing the automobile unit, was selected.

Small-group activities and QC circles are a forte of Japanese companies -- but this belief is the thing of the past. Actually, at our foreign affiliated companies, group activities are carried out more and more actively, with their level steadily increasing. HZR demonstrated an excellent result, as explained in the company’s easy-to-understand presentation that staff members gave in an impressive manner. As a result, the flag of the Best President Award crossed the sea for the first time. I feel very satisfied with the result from the perspectives of globalization and diversity. Of course, I hope that Japanese members will also make further efforts in friendly rivalry, and that groups from other countries also work hard to be selected as representatives of their business units and to win the Best President Award. I believe that this will eventually raise the level of the entire Sumitomo Electric Group. I also hope that, like the World Cup, this event will become even more international.

At the casual party after the event. Ms. Shu (next to me), an HZR presentation member, had joined the company this day seven years ago. In her speech, she said that she was delighted beyond description to have won the special award on her special day.

A group from Sumitomo Electric Sintered Alloy, Ltd. was very close to winning the Best President Award. A special award from the president was granted to the group. The event secretariat seemed confused with the sudden decision made by the panel of judges to newly establish the special award. However, a happening like this may be sometimes good.

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The president's photographProfile

Masayoshi Matsumoto
President & CEO
Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.


Born in 1944 in Hyogo Prefecture, Masayoshi Matsumoto joined Sumitomo Electric in 1967. After serving as General Manager of Chubu District Office, Managing Director and Senior Managing Director, he assumed office of President and CEO in June 2004.

His leisure activities include jogging, reading and art appreciation. Also a seasoned athlete, he played baseball in junior high school and practiced judo in senior high school. In university, he threw the javelin competitively and participated in all-Japan inter-university competitions.

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