As you may know, due to the development of mobile and communications technologies, globalization is underway in a wide variety of aspects of the social economy. While newly industrialized countries were once regarded mainly as production bases, they are now enhancing their presence as markets, because of the increase in the number of people in the wealthy and middle classes in those countries. It is expected that, along with advanced countries, such newly industrialized countries will be confronted with environmental problems and various resources problems, such as those concerning energy, food and water, as well as with an aging population.
In the domain of the manufacturing industry, there is an ongoing paradigm shift, such as the digitization, as indicated by the introduction of recently much-talked-about 3D printers, the trend of making technologies and specifications open, and modularization, in which products are designed by combining standardized parts. Additionally, the speed of the transition to product commoditization and price competition is becoming faster and faster. Also, technologically superb products do not always sell well. At the same time, in the field of automobiles, structural changes are occurring through technological innovation of various elements from motors to electricity. Moreover, to solve resource problems, which are gradually coming to light around the world, new energy-saving technologies and alternative technologies are necessary.
Amidst this severe situation, I believe that the driving force of our sustainable growth resides with research and development to create core technologies, and with manufacturing capabilities to utilize such technologies to generate products with dependable quality.
Recently, we have released our new mid-term management plan VISION 2017. The fundamental concept of this plan is “innovation.” This word indicates, of course, the innovation of creating something from nothing. In addition, though, it also expresses the wider sense of innovation advocated by Joseph Schumpeter: creation through new combinations of existing elements.
Under VISION 2017, we strive to achieve innovation based on our core technologies, and to develop new products that will accommodate future social needs. On top of that, we aim to realize a business model innovation.
While sticking to the basics of the Sumitomo Spirit and the Sumitomo Electric Group Corporate Principles when performing our duties, each staff member of our group will strive for innovation.