Last month, I made a business trip to the U.S. to visit one of our group companies, Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems, Inc. (SEWS), to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its establishment, and to participate in the North American Top Executives’ Conference comprising 24 top executives (such as presidents) of our group’s 17 companies in North America.
On April 14, SEWS held a ceremony to celebrate their 25th anniversary and a softball game (photograph below) in which the company’s staff members wore 25th anniversary jerseys. It seems that friendly interaction was promoted between the company staff, their families and local residents. On the day of the event, I conveyed my appreciation to the company staff’s commitment to our group via a video message. On a subsequent visit to the company I participated in a celebration party with the attendance of six staff members who have been working for the company for 25 years, in order to express my gratitude to them.
It was when the yen appreciated very strongly from 235 yen to 150 yen to the dollar in only one year after the conclusion of the Plaza Accord of September 1985, that SEWS was jointly established by Sumitomo Electric and Sumitomo Wiring Systems, Ltd., to launch local production of automotive wiring harnesses. Overcoming a wide variety of structural changes, SEWS now operates as a base of manufacturing and sales of electronics equipment, harness parts, including connectors, and other products in more than 20 locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The company has grown to employ as many as 13,000 people, including its group companies. I’m truly impressed that the once young and small company in Kentucky has now developed into the largest overseas base of our group. This is largely due to the accumulation of earnest efforts made by the company’s staff, as well as to support from customers and local residents. I would like to once again express my appreciation. Making the 25th anniversary one of our milestones, we will continue to make concerted efforts throughout our group to satisfy the expectations of our customers in all aspects, including quality, cost and delivery deadlines, and to contribute to mutual prosperity with local communities. We hope to receive your continued support and cooperation.
During this business trip, I also participated in the North American Top Executives’ Conference. When promoting different businesses on such a large continent, different group companies tend to disregard the lateral ties between them. At the conference, receiving reports from the participants on their respective companies’ situations, I once again asked them to ensure that this year’s three priority targets are fulfilled throughout their companies: “Start the final spurt towards the goals of VISION 2012,” “Improve your ability to deal with change,” and “Believe in your dreams and stay cheerful, energetic, and happy.”
Although my schedule was tight, I was able to reconfirm the Group’s strong unity achieved by sharing the policy of Sumitomo Electric Group and aligning the vector of the individual group companies towards the Group’s collective goals, making the business trip even more significant.