Message from the President Mar.2009
a monthly magazine for our employee Mar.2009
The Power to Overcome a Crisis
Every day, we hear more and more bad news about the worsening economy. A growing number of manufacturing companies, our company’s clients, have announced plans to reduce even the number of their regular employees. Now, it should be obvious that manufacturing companies need to continue developing new products, as long as they remain in the manufacturing industry. Many Japanese manufacturers continued to develop new products even in a harsh business environment, as they eliminated excess debt, equipment and staff between the late 1990s and the early 2000s. I’ve said time after time that Meitec will do what it can as the partner of these companies. Even now, most of the technical directors of our clients (leading manufacturing firms) with whom I meet stress the need to carry on with their product development, for which the contribution from Meitec engineers is essential. Nevertheless, the speed at which the economy is deteriorating and the uncertainty about the future are affecting client companies severely in the form of declining earnings. An increasing number of companies are on the verge of suspending their development investment.
The problem facing us and other companies now is not simply the economic slowdown. It’s the tremendous difficulty of predicting how serious the current crisis is and when it will end. If we know the answers, we’ll be able to take a range of measures, by weighing our corporate strength against the size of the crisis and its time span. Because the answers are nowhere to be found, however, every company seems to be rushing to downsize as much as it can. It has come home to me that uncertainty about the future is the most frightening thing for human beings, as well as businesses.The biggest challenges now facing us are how to overcome this fear of not knowing what awaits us in the future and how to move forward.
What’s important at a time of crisis is to share properly what’s visible to us across the Company. Even if we don’t know what the future will bring, we can see what’s close at hand. When you know what’s at hand, you can begin to see gradually what’s beyond it. We need to grasp such “visible information,” which is the real state of the Company, as accurately as possible and share it. When conditions deteriorate, disturbing information spreads fast and wide in any organization, and it can often become amplified or distorted by word of mouth. As a result, people worry even more. On the other hand, some people try to ignore disturbing information. Both reactions do serious harm to companies and employees. The current bad situation cannot be denied, and I prefer that employees have a clear understanding of how bad it is and keep track of how our company will address it.
In February, we introduced a management information page on our intra-site to provide accurate information on the state of our company to all employees. Some information should be communicated directly from the heads of business bases and departments, as well as myself. In such a harsh operating environment, it’s also vital to provide information promptly and accurately. In other words, we’ll seek to ensure the prompt and accurate communication of the information that all employees ought to know.
I’d like to see all employees act proactively on the information that’s provided, instead of simply sharing it. In his inaugural address, U.S. President Barack Obama called for a “new era of responsibility.” He said, “What’s required of us now is a new era of responsibility, a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world.” I agree. If everyone sits and waits for others to take the lead, nothing will change or move forward. But the moment each one of us sees the problem as our own, and think and act as much as we can, we’ll gain the power to overcome the crisis, and that power will support the Company. Supporting the Company will in turn support ourselves, our co-workers and everyone else. I believe it’s our responsibility to seize the opportunity to grow by overcoming the current situation.