Message from the President Jun.2008

a monthly magazine for our employee Jun.2008

Corporate Self-Sufficiency:
Thoughts Voiced by Bridge Engineers

On April 1, 2008 M-Net portal was released in-house. It aims to provide improved convenience to all Meitec engineers by unifying the interface for “getting connected to the company” from the engineers’ own PC environment. Another centerpiece feature of this portal site is the “Web-Version Best Matching System.” Since the early days of introduction of the Best Matching System six years ago, we’ve received a number of requests to make the system viewable from PCs at home. Owing to our success in solving the technical as well as security-related problems, the system--although an abridged edition--was finally brought to realization this time. I look forward to seeing a greater number of our engineers access the site.

At the annual president’s meeting, the Best Matching System is a topic I never fail to bring up and discuss. That’s because I believe the most important factor in career improvement for you as engineers is to “realize a rotation best suited to each individual engineer within the network of Meitec’s clients.” To achieve this, it’s essential that each engineer should routinely access Meitec’s client network to verify his or her market value. The basic process for achieving a truly good rotation entails the following stepsDid you know that SHORYU is published in China, too? It’s name there is Chinese Wall Newspaper, a digital magazine published monthly by Meitec’s local subsidiary in China. If you’ve never read it, I urge you to take a look. The section I’m particularly fond of reading is “News from Bridge Engineers.”

“News from Bridge Engineers” contains thoughts and feelings about work and life in Japan, as related by bridge engineers who came to Japan from China and started working on their assignments. In the section, men and women, who’ve taken the first step in their careers as engineers in a foreign country, write about their expectations, anxiety, bewilderment, surprise and gratitude concerning various encounters. Every time I read their accounts, each word and phrase makes me realize anew that as long as people understand each other, they can share thoughts and a sense of values about work despite differences in nationality. I also gain a renewed awareness that this is what enables Japanese manufacturers?Meitec’s customers?to establish a successful business overseas. At the same time, I’m able to reconfirm in my mind that I’m on a mission to make Meitec’s bridge engineer business a success at any cost: a sense of mission to ensure the Meitec Group’s transformation into a company ever more useful to society, against the background of the coming aging society with a falling birthrate, as well as the further advance of globalization.

Even though both the aging population in Japan, combined with a declining birthrate and globalization, were identified more than a decade ago as major social issues for the future, the nation has made little progress in addressing them. In the next five years, a shortage of engineers caused by the so-called “lack of interest in science-related subjects among students” will no doubt have an even greater impact on Japan’s manufacturing sector than the aging population with the lower birthrate. If we should see a continuation in the situation where almost all manufacturing companies suffer declines in domestic sales because of Japan’s population decrease, while boosting their reliance on overseas sales, will such companies even need to have their head office located in Japan 10 or 20 years from now? It’s unfortunate, but nations?that is, large social systems?tend not to take concrete countermeasures until problems become fully manifest, probably because of the multitude of closely interconnected interests. Judging from the current state of Japan’s national pension problem, for example, the nation may be unable to achieve the proper resolution even though the issue has reached the surface.

My idea of “self-sufficiency” involves thinking about how to cope with such a situation should it arise and formulating a response on one’s own, instead of blaming the government or society. When you find yourself in a fix, saying “It’s government’s fault” or “Society is at fault” will get you nowhere. It’s important for companies as well as individuals to start right now and do whatever they can at their respective levels. That’s why the Meitec Group has defined “World Stage” as one of the four business values created by Real Global Vision 21, and set its sights on launching right now a new venture capable of coping with the aging society with the declining birthrate and with globalization, on the assumption that these social issues will come to take on greater significance henceforth.

“World Stage” goes beyond inviting engineers from other countries including China; it also entails efforts in the reverse direction, sending engineers from Japan to other countries overseas. Given the fact that a total of more than 1,000 Meitec engineers have already been working overseas annually on assignments for clients, the Meitec Group can meet society’s needs by creating a stage where engineers throughout the world play active parts both within and outside Japan. The first step involves putting the bridge engineer business, which has already brought more than 200 engineers to Japan, on track by the end of the current term.

In that regard, I ask again for the understanding, cooperation and sense of “challenge” of an even greater number of Meitec employees in our endeavor to build World Stage, one of our goals in becoming a company that’s truly useful to society.

June, 2008