3.How to survive the biggest paradigm shift in the history
Please tell me if you experienced huge changes in the world.
- That is now with smartphone appeared.
I was impressed by photos saw in a seminar. There were photos of Saint Peter’s Square in Vatican at the same time slot and the same season in 2003 and 2015. In a photo of 2003, everybody see the ceremony by themselves, but it was changed in 2015 and they takes photos by their smartphones.
- You don’t need to buy a Nintendo to play Pokémon any more. It can be done in your smartphones.
- It is right. All you need is a smartphone. We, precision machine makers, feel the world changed dramatically from hardware to software. Smartphone is a kind of an epoch marking in manufacturing, and it also make us feel a fear of crisis.
Our approach also changed from a company only some know, to a company needed to globally known.
- You are right. I watched a presentation by Mr. Steve Jobs many times, and impressed a lot. As a manufacturer, we consider parts composed at first. Interfaces, Buttons, Texture, lighting effects, and so on. However, the iphone is composed all by software. That is, our feelings have been changed from hardware to software completely.
How about Mr. Yokoi?
- I believe the changes come from the moments between now and near future.
Our jobs are required to catch global trends, but it is getting difficult to create new thing nowadays.
For example, something old such as old cartoon or movie characters and Pokémon are popular in Japan right now. Most are revivals, and it is tough to suggest something new. I believe creators cannot change to make something new. It is because successful experiences in old days make something avoiding new trials.
Thus, young people like us need to help young generation to create new values.
Well. What do you think about near future?
- I am astonished by evolutions of AI and VR. Processing speed of computers really overcome human’s. Now, I believe a feeling is only thing we can overcome to the computer. Experiences help our growth. However, we may lack the experiences if VR develop more in the future. I wonder what will happen to human being in the future.
- I agree with you two. Now is the time experiencing the biggest changes.
In the past, it was easier to distinguish between manufacturing makers and consumers, Japanese and foreigner, and those who sending out messages and who receiving messages. Now, the boarders is getting unclear. At the same time, the world is getting smaller, and our relations changes. I feel it is getting dramatic.
Therefore, we need to work actively to make relations with others.
When we care of what we did in the past, we cannot create new relationships.
- I think so, too. It is getting difficult to think in just one axis.
Finally, what do you think to do to surf the wave of the changes? Please tell us your forecasts and visions.
- I would like to try breakthroughs. I had worked to stabilize our business, but I need more challenges to get along with the times.
So, I am not aim at 10% or 20% more sales or employments, but it should be twice, three times, and four times more. To make it come true, it is not enough to improve the efficiency a little by our current technologies.
Do you have anything specific?
- For example, you need to try unit-base assembly instead of single products, or use resin instead of iron. We should try breakthrough ideas.
In mid to long term, we would like to develop medical and robotics. However, we need to grow with N times to widen our ranges to achieve such goals.
- Even the times changes, our nature of human being will not change so drastically. So, we need to know our core technologies, which overcome other competitors, and we aim high to go beyond.
We need to look at relationship between time changes and society, and find something differ from others. We should be able to continue our businesses by doing so.
- I try to see a half step forward. It will change our consumer behaviors if aging society and falling birth rate last for a while. I believe it is not right to see one or two steps forwards, but it is important to see a half step forward to manage our business. Specifically, I try to construct academic-industry relations. I try to obtain views of consumer behaviors and phycology of customer minds by collaborations with academic institutions.
I plan growth strategy such as increasing our staff and business networks although it is tough to expect domestic growth in Japan. By doing so with my colleagues, we make our standpoints in our industry and Japanese market.
- I don’t have confidents to maintain my company in healthy conditions twenty years later. How about you?
- Not at all. (Laughing) I am not sure I am healthy at first.
- Nobody know 5 years later.
- However, we can expect synergetic effects if we have a concrete business bases, enough cash flow to invest for good plans, and good partners, who we really want to work with. Such organic movements will lead to good performances twenty years later.
- Missions for second generations like us are to hand over our business to next generations without selling out our business to others. It is because of funders’ expectations.
- We shouldn’t do so, because we manage our company with long-term view. Consequently, people think it is family company’s issue. We discuss it often in drinking parties, and keep saying we do not think so. (Laughing)
- I would like to hand over the business with healthy condition to next generation. So, I think a lot and feel responsibility for that goal.
We should have a big party if our companies are healthy when we retire. So that, do our best to toast with good wine when we become 70 years old.
Mr. Kazuto Yamaki
CEO of Sigma Corporation
Joined Sigma Corporation in 1993. In 2012, he became a CEO after experienced a board member, Manager of corporate planning. He frequently come and go between business partners in oversea and his own factory in Aizu, Fukushima Pref., Japan. He is familiar with cultures such as music, philosophy, and art.
Mr. Taichi Mizuki
President of Mizuki Co., LTD
Joined Mizuki Co., LTD in 1998 after working for a manufacture. In 2008, he became a president. He promotes to construct Mizuki brand with a concept, Global parts manufacture, by entering global business fields.
Mr. Tsukasa Yokoi
President of an ad agency
Joined his company in 1993 after working for other companies, and become a president in 2011. He always foresee a half step forward of the era as a manager of total agency between marketing and promotion with passions and knowledges to wide ranges of fields. He inspires other two of them with good talking skills.