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President’s Message
Newsletter "SEI WORLD" Vol. 457

Masayoshi Matsumoto President & CEO

Attending an In-house Report Meeting

At an in-house meeting that I attended the other day, one staff member reported on great improvement in solving a technical problem regarding a product. The problem had long been considered within our company as difficult to solve. However, the staff member’s team had examined the problem from a wide variety of aspects, analyzed each of them, repeated a hypothesis and test cycle, and worked on each factor that prevented favorable results, before finally making the big improvement.

Continuing to look at genbutsu (actual things) very carefully in order not to overlook any facts, even if they seem insignificant, and to firmly believe that there must be something important, even if there seems to be nothing special – I feel that what enabled the team to perform these efforts without giving up was their strong determination to definitely solve the problem. This is an excellent example of what kaizen (improvement) is, and it is a great pity that I cannot give you specific details about the case.

The report reminds me that I accompanied the late Masao Kamei, chairman of Sumitomo Electric in those days, on a business trip to Athens, where he participated in an international conference. During some free time on the trip, we visited the Parthenon, where he suddenly told me that defeats were not allowed at companies and that wisdom was generated especially in difficult times. I don’t remember what we were talking about before he said that, but now that I have gone through many difficulties, I am better able to understand the true meaning of what he said then.

The staff member reporting the above-mentioned improvement told me later that the team had had a very hard time discovering the true cause of the problem, but convinced themselves that each phenomenon had its own cause. It can be said that their instinct to reveal underlying mysteries and produce even better products, as well as their pride as engineers, outweighed the temptation to compromise and give up, and say there was nothing they could do.

This episode may sound self-praising, but I am very happy that the young staff members worked on the problem with such strong determination, and therefore I’ve chosen to share it with you.

Masayoshi Matsumoto President & CEO

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