New Year's Message

2018 New Year’s Message to Employees

Eiji Hayashida President and CEO, JFE Holdings

Eiji Hayashida
President and CEO, JFE Holdings

Happy New Year and warmest greetings as we begin 2018!

The Japanese economy is on a gradual recovery trend thanks to increasing exports to expanding economies outside Japan as well as capital investment driven by favorable corporate earnings and demand created by preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Japan. Also, the global economic outlook focused on the U.S. and China appears to be steady. The environment for steel business is improving as China progresses with structural reforms to shrink its oversupply of steel.

Nevertheless, continued protectionism, excessive debt in China, geopolitical risks and other factors persist, with the potential to significantly impact Japan. There are always risks in our business, so it is important that we identify every crucial change and then respond promptly.

Overall agenda for 2018

This is the first year of our sixth medium-term business plan. There is no change in our goal to become a global company that provides the world’s best technologies and services to customers. To achieve this goal, I ask each person and each unit to review the activities carried out and results achieved under our fifth medium-term plan, and then address the critical issues for achieving improvement under our new plan.

Critical issues

Always put safety first
We have not yet fully eradicated the occurrence of serious accidents. The basis of safety is thorough two-way communication, so let’s return to the basics to create safe and secure workplaces.

Improve productivity and shift to high-value business
Please continue to maximize our AI and IoT data-science technologies for stronger productivity. Concurrently, let’s apply our human skills toward creative work leading to greater competitiveness, new products and improved processes.

Enhance our revenue base in Japan and develop business overseas
To ensure that our activities are linked to achievements, we need to improve our earnings infrastructure in Japan for greater competitiveness. From a more long-term perspective, we also need to pursue new business opportunities and drive global business.

Recover profitability
Revenue in the current fiscal year is expected to improve greatly over the previous year thanks to the combination of a more favorable business environment and the strategies that we carried our under our fifth medium-term plan. Unfortunately, however, we will not hit our major targets, so we must focus even more sharply on profitability by tackling the aforementioned critical issues, as well as the following:

  • JFE Steel must make a determined effort to implement PDCA measures, understanding that stable operations are the fastest way to raise profitability.
  • JFE Engineering must enhance its project-management skills and establish a system to ensure that it fills all orders on schedule.
  • JFE Shoji Trade must leap forward with efforts to develop greater strengths and functions.

My Expectations

We are now in an era when change comes fast and drastically and established perceptions are being overturned. This is why it is so important that we achieve sustainable growth and increased corporate value in three basic ways.

First, please work to steadily develop forward-looking products and technologies as well as grasp changes in societal and customer needs to provide valuable products and services without delay.

Second, as we improve operational efficiency through workstyle reforms, please concentrate on improving personal performance and abilities. We have been upgrading our practices and work environments, so now is the time to begin leveraging these upgrades.

Third, never forget our corporate values — challenging spirit, flexibility and sincerity — to ensure that you always conduct your work with a strong sense of ethics.

In Closing

Going forward, please take pride and confidence in your work to help us meet our challenges and come closer together as a group.

As we embark on another year, I am very pleased to extend my very best wishes to you and your family for health and prosperity in 2018.