President’s New Year’s Address for 2022
Jan. 4, 2022
Happy New Year, everyone.
Did you enjoy your year-end and New Year holiday? I hope you are all ready to begin the year with renewed energy after taking an important break to physically and mentally rest over the holidays.
First, let us begin the new year by taking a moment to review our performance over the past year. In our financial results for the first half of FY2021, Sojitz’s profit for the period totaled JPY 39.4 billion, which is the highest profit recorded to date for the first half of a fiscal year. Additionally, we revised our full year forecast upward to JPY 70.0 billion, and we expect to see results at record highs. In terms of kicking off the first year of Medium-term Management Plan 2023, we are off to a great start. While this strong performance can be attributed to the favorable tailwind provided by the surge in coal prices and other resource market prices, the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to be felt today. The fact Sojitz has achieved these results is an indication that your hard work has paid off. I would therefore like to commend these efforts and express my appreciation to all.
This year, we will embark on the second year of Medium-term Management Plan 2023, which will bridge the first and final years of the Plan. Let us redouble our efforts without becoming complacent in order to achieve the targets we announced at the start of Medium-term Management Plan 2023.
Last year, I met with our division COOs to discuss the formulation of Medium-term Management Plan 2023 and how each division’s strategy will align with Sojitz’s vision for 2030. I am sure you are all working with these division strategies in mind, and I want to reiterate that we are heading in the right direction. However, applying these larger strategies to individual business projects requires that you take these strategies one step further by determining how you will differentiate these businesses or services from those offered by other companies. It’s safe to assume that other companies are currently entertaining similar ideas. Therefore, you must consider what factors will differentiate our business and how these factors will serve as strengths moving forward. Each of you should strategize how Sojitz can gain a clear competitive advantage.
I have one request for everyone: Please determine which work should be discontinued to better allocate our time and energy.
I imagine many of you have resolved to take on specific projects in honor of the new year. While this additive approach is certainly important, we also need to remember that we have limited time and capabilities. To effectively begin new projects, it is equally necessary to determine which work to discard. Take an inventory of current business projects and consider the following questions: Have you objectively assessed the merits of businesses inherited from the past? Does the business add value for the customer or for society? Is this a business field in which we can leverage our strengths and pursue differentiation? Through this inventory process, please determine which businesses and processes we should build up and which should be discontinued.
I ask that managers support their team’s decisions regarding work to discard. At the same time, managers should bring a critical eye to new business proposals. Each individual’s strengths contribute to our collective strength and means of differentiation as a company, which in turn will help us to achieve an overwhelming competitive advantage.
Sojitz values “diversity as a competitive advantage,” and the company is working to establish an environment in which each individual can exercise their unique strengths to realize their full potential. Even with a focus on diversity, our mission remains the same. We aim to provide the necessary goods and services directly to places where there is a need. In society, there is still a divide that separates our ideals from reality. What prevents us from reaching these ideals, and how can we identify the bottlenecks? In order to provide solutions to social issues, we must rethink the existing frameworks that we have taken for granted in the past. Innovation is born through the synthesis of new and existing knowledge. We are uniquely equipped to offer innovative solutions as a company with a diverse workforce engaged in a wide range of business fields around the world. By leveraging each individual’s strengths and applying co-creation and sharing methodologies, we can provide new value to society. This process encapsulates our goal to “become a general trading company that continues to create business and develop capable people.”
To all division COOs, general managers, and section managers that lead our organizations, I ask that you communicate your strategies with your teams and then conduct exhaustive discussions. Business strategies without the internal support or consensus of employees will never be able to gain the support of those outside the company. By widely communicating our vision and strategies, we can inspire others to get behind our efforts. I hope that our external stakeholders will be able to enjoy our journey together as we realize new investments and see the trajectory of our businesses play out. Strong support from both internal and external parties will contribute to raising our corporate value.
Today we will begin to write the first page of the 2022 year, and I look forward to seeing the history that we create together. Let’s make Sojitz an exciting company in which we can all take pride.
Finally, I wish all our Sojitz Group members around the world and the families who support them good health in the new year.