The other day, I went on a short business trip to the U.S. The Sumitomo Electric Group has 37 affiliates in North America, including Mexico. The North American Top Executives’ Conference is held annually for those responsible for these companies to get together in order to report issues concerning their management and join in free discussions mutually exchanging opinions and advice. I went to the U.S. to attend this event and also to visit some of our local group companies.
In addition, to directly experience the current situation and atmosphere of the U.S. was also one of the purposes of my business trip to the country. I was able to confirm that, even though not a full-fledged resurgence, the business climate in North America is improving. Such a recovery was indicated also by positive reports from the affiliates.
Thinking about the U.S. socio-economy, you will find that the country is still struggling with financial problems and disparity problems. Moreover, there are concerns over the rise of protectionism and a return to the Monroe Doctrine. On the other hand, the shale gas revolution has boosted the likelihood of solving the country’s energy issues. Additionally, the U.S. population is on the increase, and its real wage index remains stable. Furthermore, as you may know, in the U.S., active innovation is promoted not only in the industrial field but also other fields, society is open to diversity, and the country’s political and social systems have something in common with those of Japan.
In addition, the typical business principles in the U.S. are freedom and responsibility, fairness and openness, transparency, flexibility, a sense of speed, and competition. In the 1970s, when the memory of the Second World War still lived vividly in people’s minds, one young Japanese man knocked on the door of plants in the U.S. without an appointment in order to sell his company’s products. He tested the products at each of the plants and did his best to fully demonstrate their quality. In those days, it was still strongly believed in the U.S. that products made in Japan were inexpensive but low quality. Based on the testing results, however, the plants made fair and reasonable judgments. Just saying “Great!” these plants decided to do business with the man’s company. I hear that this Japanese man still believes that this kind of DNA has been certainly reflected in the business ethics of the U.S. today.
While I was drafting this article, the news about Detroit’s bankruptcy arrived. Although I don’t think that everything in the U.S. is all right, I still believe that it is necessary for us in the industrial field to realize once again the importance of this country as a market and a business field.