Group CEO New Year Message to Employees: Make Necessary Improvements at Top Speed

Jan 05, 2023

Executive Spotlight / Feature Story

Company

Group CEO New Year Message to Employees: Make Necessary Improvements at Top Speed

  • Group CEO
  • Executive Message

On January 5, 2023, the first business day following a New Year’s holiday since the official start of the holding company structure in April 2022, Group CEO Yuki Kusumi shared a message with all employees. After assuming the position of CEO in FY2022, Kusumi emphasized that he would “focus on ‘strengthening the competitiveness’ of each business for the next two years”—a period that draws to a close at the end of March. In this message, he reiterates his strong desire not just to complete the two-year initiative, but to do so while gaining a competitive edge over the competition. With every worksite and every employee taking on this “challenge,” the Group will strive to realize an “ideal society with both material and spiritual affluence.”

Happy New Year to everyone in the Panasonic Group.

I hope you enjoyed a peaceful and happy New Year holiday with your family and friends and are starting the year reenergized and ready to go. Please look after the health and safety of yourself and your loved ones, and continue to put safety first in the workplace so that we can complete the year with zero accidents. 

2022 in Review

Last year brought a lot of good news.

In sports, the Panasonic Wild Knights won the first-ever Japan Rugby League One championship, the Panasonic Angels were back among the seeds for the Queen’s Ekiden, the 9-person volleyball team Panasonic Bluebells won their eighth consecutive V9 Champ League title, and the Panasonic Impulse qualified for the Rice Bowl. Panasonic teams did a fantastic job!

On the business side, last year I visited 25 sites within the group, both in Japan and overseas. Almost all of the sites had begun Obeya (large-room) activities for improving operations. This is a big step toward strengthening our competitiveness.

Among the sites I visited, one factory has greatly improved its productivity and direct first-run rate in the six months since last March as the result of every employee committing themselves to improvement efforts. I later heard that the factory staff had said, “With the mindset of ‘improvement after improvement,’ we will aim for the higher goal of doubling productivity.” I was very pleased to hear this.

I’ve received similar examples of improvements at many other sites. At one plant, we heard there’s a great deal of enthusiasm in the Obeya meetings. Members frequently raise issues—and are rewarded with thanks and applause for their contributions. That’s why the spirit there is so vibrant. Even the younger employees speak up, and the whole team is involved in tackling issues. Naturally, these efforts lead to positive outcomes, and I was really pleased when someone told me, “Now, we have stronger confidence in our achievements.”

If workplace activities like these continue to spread, I have no doubt that the Panasonic Group will become even stronger. I look forward to your continued and enthusiastic improvement activities.

Enhance competitiveness at top speed under ambitious targets

Now that we have entered 2023, many of you may have already set goals for the year in the form of New Year resolutions. These may include “earn a new qualification,” “take up a new hobby,” “save money.” Of course, each of us has a variety of goals. The key point is that these goals must help us achieve our ideal lives. Goals that are easily achieved don’t get us very close to where we should be, and they don’t lead to a fulfilling life.

I think the same holds true for our business.

Our goal is to be unrivalled in our competitiveness, and I want each of you to firmly resolve to achieve it. You may think that your individual goals are impossible—it may seem as if you will need to increase your abilities tenfold to succeed—but I believe this approach is the right one.

We cannot reach maximum speed to enhance our competitiveness unless we aim so high that our goals seem unattainable. To reach our destination as quickly as possible, improvements need to be made one on top of another. I encourage everyone to celebrate daily improvements with your colleagues, and day by day we will draw a little closer to our goal. With properly set goals, you will be able to look back and see that you have made solid progress, and this progress will eventually generate steady outcomes.

If you are reluctant to set ambitious goals, it could be because you fear that failure to achieve them will result in criticism from your boss or a poor evaluation. If our workplace culture fosters that kind of thinking, then the first thing we need to do is change our culture. Challenge yourself and your supervisor should praise your willingness to do so and help guide you toward a better way of doing things. My request to every member of every team is this: “Don’t hesitate to challenge yourself.”

Reflecting on the past is important, but if we are always looking back, then we won’t be able to move forward. Ultimately, the only thing we can change is the future. To get even one step closer to our ambitious vision for Panasonic, we should focus on the road ahead and approach the improvements that need to be made with a sense of urgency. The start of 2023 is as good a time as any to change our approach—so let us resolve to do so.

We have only three months to complete our two-year initiative to enhance our competitiveness. As I mentioned above, we can see some good progress. If you are only halfway through the process of strengthening the competitiveness of your business, then please work at unparalleled speed to get the necessary improvements in place. I want our individual businesses to make this happen in the remaining three months

I have high expectations for each and every one of you over the coming year, and I look forward to seeing your aggressive and bold challenges to achieve your ambitious goals.

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