April 19, 2016,09:00 +0900(JST) Message to Our Managers

From January to March every year, I visit some of our branch offices and affiliates located in different parts of Japan, and also take the opportunity to participate in seminars, in order to speak to our managers about the appropriate attitude to their work.

I always speak about very similar topics every year, such as the Sumitomo Spirit, thorough implementation of SEQCDD* improvement, communication, leadership, and human resources development, but it is difficult to ensure that my message gets through. I hear that one top manager said that a message will finally begin to get through only after it has been delivered about 20 times. I totally agree with this assertion. On top of that, the moment that listeners feel "This is the same old story again...," the message will begin to slip out of their minds.

This year, I referred to the congratulatory address given by Dr. Kotaro Honda (1870-1954) of Tohoku Imperial University in 1939 at a factory completion ceremony of a company. Dr. Honda was the world-leading authority in the fields of metallurgy and material properties. He was also the inventor of KS steel, a steel whose name bears the initials of Kichizaemon Sumitomo (the 15th head of the family business), and thus was deeply connected with the Sumitomo Group.

In his speech draft, which remains today, he made the following assertion: "In the field of industry, no matter how skillful you are, you can never make truly excellent manufactured goods if you do not have sufficient professional ethics. Only persons of integrity can understand how important their work is in society, and realize the gravity of their responsibilities. Only after working faithfully whether or not anyone is watching, can you make excellent products at low cost."

Although it has been more than 70 years since this congratulatory address was delivered, this is a universal message from which even today's workers can learn a lot, and thus I introduced it to our managers.

* SEQCDD: Safety, Environment, Quality, Cost, Delivery, and Research and Development

April 8, 2016,11:05 +0900(JST) Toyota Motor Corporation Awards Received

At the Toyota Global Suppliers Convention, held at the end of February, we had the honor of receiving four awards: the Global Contribution Award, Technology & Development Award, "Superior" Value Improvement Award, and "Excellent" Value Analysis Award.

Technology & Development Award presented by President Toyoda (far left)

Technology & Development Award presented by President Toyoda (far left)

Of particular note is the Global Contribution Award. As one of only three companies selected from among about 400 companies, we received the award as the result of the comprehensive assessment of our contribution to the Toyota Motor Group both domestically and globally. This is the highest honor a supplier like us can receive, and all of us at the Sumitomo Electric Group are truly pleased. This is the fifth time that we have received this award after going nine years without it.

Meanwhile, we received the Technology & Development Award for the first time in 10 years. We received this award in recognition of our motor coil wire for hybrid cars. Although this is not a new product, we have reviewed its raw materials and production method, which has enabled the item to be smaller and more fuel efficiency for hybrid car motors.
Although our typical product in the automotive products field is the wiring harness, we manufacture many other excellent products in that field and many other fields. We would be happy if you take the opportunity of our winning these awards to learn more about our products.

The "Superior" Value Improvement Award and "Excellent" Value Analysis Award also indicate that our steady efforts in the Sumitomo Electric Group have been highly recognized. I'm sure that these awards have given great pleasure to our employees.

Encouraged by our receiving these awards, we will continue to make every possible effort to promptly accommodate a wide variety of customers' needs.

April 7, 2016,14:30 +0900(JST) Completion Ceremony for Large-Scale Storage Battery System at Minami-Hayakita Substation

Last December, our redox flow large-scale storage battery system was completed at the Minami-Hayakita substation of Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Inc. (HEPCO). On March 9, I attended the completion ceremony.

The weather forecast said that a blizzard would rage. However, though it was certainly cold, the wind was thankfully not so strong, with the sun sometimes shone, making the day not so bad for holding the event. The ceremony was a large-scale event, attended by about 100 related people, including President Akihiko Mayumi of HEPCO.

The completion ceremony began with a Shinto rite of offering sprigs of sacred sakaki trees in front of the shrine altar established in the building housing the battery system. I also offered a sprig. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, a plant tour was held and then everyone attending moved on to the Hayakita Citizen Center, where a celebration party was held. At the party I delivered an address, in which I expressed my appreciation for the tremendous hard work of all those concerned. In total, 44,081 people have been involved with the construction without causing any accidents or disasters for 19 months since the construction started in May 2014. I would like to express my sincere appreciation once again. I also would like to extend my deep gratitude to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the local government, and other parties concerned for providing excellent instruction and support.

The demonstration experiment will run for three years until FY 2018. Although it has just started, we would like to continue doing our best so that we can generate results favorable to both HEPCO and Sumitomo Electric.

  • Ribbon-cutting ceremony
    Ribbon-cutting ceremony
  • Celebration party
    Celebration party

April 7, 2016,14:00 +0900(JST) CSR Foundation's Activities

CSR Foundation's Activities

Since its establishment in 2009, the SEI Group CSR Foundation has provided monetary contributions for university courses and financial support for academic and research activities, in order to contribute to developing human resources and promoting academic activities in various fields both in Japan and overseas. On March 3, we held a ceremony to provide the monetary contributions and financial support, with 25 professors attending.

After the ceremony, three professors selected from the participants spoke about what they do in their university courses to develop young entrepreneurs.

To develop young managers who can respond to dynamic environmental changes flexibly and speedily, a systematic development program is absolutely necessary. I hope that these courses will provide not only the necessary support, but also opportunities for young people to experience actual difficulties, receive stern but constructive criticism, and feel distressed enough to improve.

In the world of business, things seldom follow logically. When you encounter an unexpected situation, grit and a firm character are needed. I asked the professors to incorporate such aspects into their courses. I look forward to seeing excellent results from their hard work.

CSR Foundation's Activities

April 7, 2016,13:30 +0900(JST) Striving to Qualify for the Olympic Games

On March 6, the 71st Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon was held. Since we were supporting the race as a special sponsor, I went to the venue to root for the runners.

This year's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon served as the final race for selecting Japanese athletes for the Rio Olympic Games. Partly because of the unfavorable performance of Japanese runners in the two previous races in Fukuoka and Tokyo, it seems that this race at Lake Biwa was attracting a lot more attention from the public than usual. At the pep rally held the day before the race, I was asked to deliver a speech, and stated that I looked forward to watching an aggressive race, which may have sounded a little bit harsh to some runners.

On the day of the event, it was so warm that even a little walk caused me to sweat a little. Although there was some concern that it might rain, the weather turned out to be nice with gentle winds, making the day perfect for cheering on the runners. However, for the runners it seemed that it was a bit too warm.

  • Striving to Qualify for the Olympic Games
  • Striving to Qualify for the Olympic Games

In the first part of the race, some foreign athletes formed the first group, followed by a second group of Japanese runners. In the second group were Mr. Fujiyama, Mr. Fujimura, and Mr. Tanimoto, all of whom are members of our athletics club. As the race continued, however, they gradually started lagging behind the other runners... What a pity!

The race continued on at a fast pace in the former part of the event, suggesting that first place and other high positions would be dominated by foreign runners. At the end of the race, however, Japanese runners gathered strength. When Hisanori Kitajima (Yaskawa Electric Corporation) came into the stadium in third place, spectators in the stands became very excited, and I also actually screamed "Go! Go!" Although I'm not sure whether he heard me or not, he overtook the runner in front of him right before the finish line, and so finished in second place. Considering his tenacious performance and the warm weather condition that day, his result was excellent. I feel that he has come close to being selected to represent Japan at the Olympic Games. I hope that runners competing in the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon will all become Olympians.

I feel that the race as a whole was exciting and fully worth watching. I would like to express my appreciation to all those who rooted for the runners from the sidelines along the course or in their living rooms.

Striving to Qualify for the Olympic Games

  • Meanwhile, the 71st Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon was the final race for Noritaka Fujiyama, a member of our athletics club. After finishing the race, he told me that, though he could not run as he had expected, he enjoyed running. He looked refreshed. At the 2013 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, he finished in 12th place. As the leader of our athletics club, he has always done his best. Mr. Fujiyama, thank you very much for your hard work!

  • Striving to Qualify for the Olympic Games

SUMITOMO ELECTRIC President CEO Masayoshi Matsumoto

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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