Rad­i­cal model to es­cape neg­a­tive woes

Fu­ji­film has sur­vived and trans­formed into a global tech­nol­ogy brand un­der its vet­eran chief

China Daily (USA) - - Q & A WITH CEO - By ZHONGNANin Tokyo zhong­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

When the Tokyo-head­quar­tered Fu­ji­film Corp el­e­vated Shige­taka Ko­mori, 77, its CEO since June 2003 and group pres­i­dent since 2000, to chair­man in 2012, pho­to­graphic prod­ucts, the com­pany’s main­stay, were reel­ing from the dig­i­tal on­slaught.

There was a time when pho­to­graphic prod­ucts ac­counted for 60 per­cent of the com­pany’s sales and up to 70 per­cent of its profit. But, within a decade, dig­i­tal cam­eras evolved and thrived — and nearly de­stroyed Fu­ji­film.

The fate that be­fell Fu­ji­film’s US ri­val East­man Ko­dak Co, the 131-year-old maker of pho­to­graphic film that filed for bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion in 2012, al­most came knock­ing on the com­pany’s door.

But, led by Ko­mori, Fu­ji­film not only sur­vived but with­stood the test­ing times. To­day, it has trans­formed it­self into a global tech­nol­ogy brand known for in­no­va­tion in six fields, with more than $20 bil­lion in an­nual rev­enues.

In ac­cor­dance with its global strat­egy of di­ver­si­fied de­vel­op­ment, Fu­ji­film has been fo­cus­ing on health­care, graphic arts sys­tems, highly func­tional ma­te­ri­als, doc­u­ment so­lu­tions, op­ti­cal de­vices and dig­i­tal imag­ing.

Fu­ji­film op­er­ates 16 plants and branch of­fices in China. The com­pany has in­vested more than $213 mil­lion in China and is op­ti­mistic about its fu­ture.

Re­cently, Ko­mori spoke with China Daily about the com­pany’s strat­egy and his man­age­ment style. The fol­low­ing are edited ex­cerpts from the in­ter­view:

What’s the se­cret of Fu­ji­film’s suc­cess in China?

The key el­e­ments of our suc­cess are thatweare hon­e­s­tand fair to so­ci­ety and to our stake­hold­ers, no mat­ter what kind of mar­kets we are in. We have con­trib­uted to the Chi­nese so­ci­ety by pro­vid­ing prod­ucts and val­ues of high qual­ity, good cost per­for­mance, ex­cel­lent tech­nol­ogy, and high cred­i­bil­ity, which also ful­fill the spe­cific needs of the China mar­ket.

In the mean­time, we cul­ti­vate sales tal­en­twhoare able to un­der­stand cus­tomers’ needs, de­liver the ad­van­tages of our com­pany and prod­ucts, and thus win more mar­ket share.

How do you pro­mote busi­ness in China? your

Al­though China has slowed down its eco­nomic growth, its econ­omy is still grow­ing. China’s de­vel­op­ments have great im­pact on­the global eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment and its neigh­bor­ing coun­tries. In this case, China’s econ­omy is al­ways one of our com­pany’s con­cerns.

China is an im­por­tant tar­get mar­ket of all com­pa­nies.

Cur­rently, the ex­pan­sion of med­i­cal ser­vices, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and en­ergy sav­ing

Shige­taka Ko­mori,

are two ma­jor con­cerns of Chi­nese so­ci­ety, and Fu­ji­film has ex­per­tise in these fields. There­fore, we do hope that we can make a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to China.

What is your strat­egy in China?

Fu­ji­film’s dream in China should be re­al­ized by top-qual­ity prod­uct­sand­ser­vices us­ing its cut­ting-edge, pro­pri­etary tech­nolo­gies.

First, we would like to en­hance Chi­nese con­sumers’ life qual­ity. Sec­ond, we would like to con­trib­ute to Chi­nese so­ci­ety with so­lu­tions for the de­vel­op­ment or ad­vance­ment of cul­ture, science, tech­nol­ogy and in­dus­try, as well as im­prove health and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion.

By pro­mot­ing the busi­ness of the above-men­tioned fields, Ed­u­ca­tion: we in­crease our sales, and then use part of the prof­its to fur­ther de­velop in­no­va­tive prod­ucts and ser­vices.

What are your long-term plans for the China mar­ket?

Fu­ji­film will fur­ther en­hance its re­search and de­vel­op­ment abil­i­ties in medicines and health­care-re­lated prod­ucts to make break­throughs as con­sumers have a great de­mand for prod­ucts and ser­vices that can im­prove their health.

We are build­ing a net­work be­tween our data­bases and hos­pi­tals, as well as clin­ics, to share med­i­cal in­for­ma­tion to im­prove the ef­fi­ciency of med­i­cal treat­ment.

We cer­tainly can help doc­tors with in­valu­able ref­er­ence ma­te­rial, to en­able them to make quick and cor­rect de­ci­sions in crit­i­cal cases.

What is an ef­fec­tive lead­er­ship for a com­pany in China?

The ba­sic el­e­ments of a leader should be keen judg­ment, flex­i­ble re­sponse ca­pac­ity to mo­bi­lize, high ef­fi­ciency in ex­e­cu­tion and far­sight­ed­ness, to lay the foun­da­tions for a long-term de­vel­op­ment

Agoodleader is able to grasp the essence of the in­for­ma­tion with quick and ac­cu­rate analysis of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion.

How im­por­tant is R&D in­vest­ment for Fu­ji­film?

No mat­ter how un­pre­dictable the­com­pany’s fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion was, we im­ple­mented re­forms in the past. I re­fused to cut back on R&D in­vest­ment, in­clud­ing build­ing the Fu­ji­film Ad­vanced Re­search Lab­o­ra­to­ries. Even in the tough­est of times, we man­aged some­how to put to­gether 200 bil­lion Ja­panese yen a year for R&D.

How do you mo­ti­vate in­ter­na­tional team? your

We en­deavor to make our over­seas staff un­der­stand Fu­ji­film’s cor­po­rate val­ues and think­ing modes. Apart from our high-qual­ity prod­uct line, wealso pro­vide nec­es­sary sales tools, and push ahead with the busi­ness by train­ing local staff and send­ing Ja­panese tal­ent to local com­pa­nies.

Our cor­po­rate phi­los­o­phy is this: We will use leadingedge, pro­pri­etary tech­nolo­gies to pro­vide top-qual­ity prod­ucts and ser­vices that con­trib­ute to the ad­vance­ment of cul­ture, science, tech­nol­ogy and in­dus­try, as well as im­prove health and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion in so­ci­ety.

How do you han­dle hard­ships and set­backs?

Col­lect in­for­ma­tion, an­a­lyze the sit­u­a­tion, find most ap­pro­pri­ate mea­sures, and then im­ple­ment de­ci­sively. In such cases, judg­ment is cru­cial.

As CEO of Fu­ji­film, I make judg­ments ev­ery day with the be­lief that even if I must make 100 de­ci­sions, I won’t make any wrong de­ci­sion.

How do you en­sure that all the man­age­ment de­ci­sions are im­ple­mented smoothly?

pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Fu­ji­film Corp.

• 2003 on­wards: Pres­i­dent, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Fu­ji­film Corp

• 2000: Pres­i­dent, rep­re­sen­ta­tive direc­tor of Fuji Photo Film Co Ltd

• 1999: Manag­ing direc­tor of Fuji Photo Film (Europe) GmbH

• 1963: Joined Fuji Photo Film Co Ltd

With­out com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the top, the or­ga­ni­za­tion won’t budge.

From for­mu­lat­ing plans on what is to be done to mak­ing the fi­nal de­ci­sion to go ahead, the leader must com­mu­ni­cate it all by way of a clear-cut mes­sage to em­ploy­ees.

In ad­di­tion to send­ing a mes­sage to all em­ploy­ees four times a year via the in-house news­let­ter, I ex­plain the com­pany’s vi­sion and goals at the fis­cal year meet­ing at the main of­fice and at prin­ci­pal fac­to­ries and re­search cen­ters, as well as dur­ingmyNewYear’s speech.

In these talks, I re­peat­edly ex­plain the present cir­cum­stances of the com­pany, the di­rec­tion we are headed in, and what we need to do, or more cor­rectly, what must ab­so­lutely be done to­ward achiev­ing those goals.

Univer­sity of Tokyo, BA in Eco­nomics

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