JFE Holdings, Inc.
2019 New Year’s Message to Employees
President and CEO, JFE Holdings
Happy New Year and warmest greetings to everyone in the JFE Group as we begin 2019!
In the new year, we expect the Japanese economy to remain on a gradual course of recovery despite the somewhat sluggish impact of the consumption tax increase and slower imports in some sectors. Overseas, while the outlook for the U.S. economy remains steady, we will need to keep a close eye on developments in and relating to China, where growth is showing signs of starting to slow.
While our business is always subject to external risks such as trade friction, geopolitical risks and political disruptions, we will work even harder this year to accurately identify crucial changes and then respond promptly.
Overall agenda for 2019
This is the second 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 help us achieve this goal, please first review what you did, what you achieved and the issues you addressed in 2018, the first year of our six medium-term business plan, before turning your attention to our profit plan for 2019.
Enhancing revenue in Japan and manufacturing capabilities
This year we will continue to work toward an improved earnings infrastructure in Japan and increased productivity in terms of both people and our facilities. From a more long-term perspective, we will pursue new business opportunities and strengthen our competitive edge through more stable production and cost reductions.
Customer-focused sales and product strategies
We are taking steps to ensure that product development and marketing function as an integrated unit. This will help us boost our service capabilities and offer better solutions for a wider range of needs. We are also striving hard to identify opportunities and respond with timely strategic investments in areas such as the shift to lightweight and electric vehicles and restructuring in the environmental and energy sectors.
Expanding overseas business
We will continue to expand overseas to fuel our sustainable profit growth. Our strategies are focused on the stable launch of overseas projects, global supply chain optimization by leveraging our global network, and tailoring solutions to specific needs in each region. Due to the inherent risks of overseas business, we will emphasize the sangen principle of visiting sites, making direct observations and ascertain facts to enable us to thoroughly assess risks, which will enable us to venture into new territories without fear of failure.
Improving productivity and shifting to high-value business
To improve our productivity, we will increasingly deploy big data, AI and IoT data-science and robotics technologies. We also aim to boost operational efficiency and emphasize creativity that leads to greater competitiveness, new products, improved processes and new business opportunities.
Putting safety first always
Unfortunately, we suffered a number of serious accidents last year. The basis of safety is thorough two-way communication based on safety regulations, so we will return to the basics to create safer and more secure workplaces.
Each operating company will pursue its own specific initiatives:
- JFE Steel will ensure operating stability by strengthening its manufacturing capabilities.
- JFE Engineering will strengthen its system to ensure orders are fulfilled on schedule to achieve targeted profits.
- JFE Shoji Trade will expand its functions to serve as the core trading company of our group.
Moving forward, we aim to achieve sustainable profit growth by addressing critical issues across our group and enhancing the presence of our JFE brand.
We are now in an era when established perceptions are being overturned. Amid such upheavals, we are placing top priority on achieving sustainable growth and increased corporate value. To do this, we are emphasizing three strategies.
First, we are asking everyone to interpret and convey information more effectively. Since our value chain spans the globe, strengthening ties across our group will add to our overall strength. To that end, we must not only enhance overall communication, but also each individual’s ability to interpret and convey information.
Second, we must raise operational efficiency to boost performance. Our workstyle reforms are aimed at creating working environments where each individual can perform to their own high standard with a sense of pride and satisfaction. The goal is not merely to reduce working hours — by rethinking our total jobs, we can learn how to become more productive and more creative even if we work fewer hours.
Third, we are reemphasizing our JFE values — challenging spirit, flexibility and sincerity — to ensure that everything we do is based on a strong sense of ethics.
In closing, 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 2019.