Seizing on a turning point in digital technology and energy
Our world today is facing a major turning point. Since the Industrial Revolution, people have enriched their lives through the use of fossil fuels. But as problems such as climate change and the depletion of fossil fuels worsen, the need to establish a new kind of energy society has become unavoidable. Meanwhile, dramatic advancements in IoT and AI have reshaped industry and wrought major changes in how information is communicated.
Over the past four years, approximately six billion smartphones were shipped worldwide, and we are now living in a world where social media—said to represent more than 2.5 billion accounts—can alter the very shape of public discourse.
We interpret these major trends in two ways: as digital transformation (“DX”) and as energy transformation (“EX”). DX and EX cannot be accomplished without electronics, and I believe that for TDK, these transformations represent a treasure trove of opportunities to contribute to society.
In DX, we will work to optimize manufacturing through the use of digital data, as set forth in Industry 4.0. This will enable us to reduce losses of every kind—from energy, to resources, to time—and will also lead to achieving zero-defect product quality. TDK as a whole needs to undertake its own digital transformation, and I believe that this effort will deliver value that can be passed on to society.
In terms of EX, TDK—a company focused on electricity and magnetism—has pursued energy conversion efficiency as a means of maximizing the effect of even small amounts of energy. Even as we continue to seek further reductions in energy consumption through our proprietary technologies, it is important that we approach the issue not by simply replacing fossil fuels with natural energy, but based on efforts to explore ways of using as little energy as possible. TDK Group’s contributions to building a richer, more convenient society will require more than our own efforts as a manufacturer of components—inevitably, collaboration with companies responsible for systems and hardware will also be necessary.
Seeking to “Advancing the development of a sustainable society and promoting well-being for all people”
The global economy is undergoing significant destabilization due to trade friction between the US and China, a slowdown in the Chinese economy, Brexit, and other factors. Still, this is unlikely to alter the DX and EX tide. Rather than getting caught up in short-term changes, we instead maintain a medium- and long-term perspective in responding flexibly to change.
Believing in the need for a roadmap to a sustainable future society, and seizing on global trends centered around DX and EX, in fiscal 2019 TDK established its Sustainability Vision. The goal of this vision is “Through its innovative core technologies and solutions, TDK Group advances the development of a sustainable society and champions well-being for all people.”
Along with our Sustainability Vision, “Value Creation 2020,” the Medium-Term Plan launched in fiscal 2018, addresses not only Commercial Value (Execute Growth Strategy) and Asset Value (Improve Asset Efficiency), but also Social Value (Enhance Enterprise Value). The inclusion of Social Value has enormous significance. More than just one of three parallel supporting concepts, Social Value will, if anything, propel the other two forward. Contributing to society (Social Value) leads to growth (Commercial Value), which allows for the efficient use of profits and assets (Asset Value). Those in turn can be leveraged toward further contributions to society, a cycle that will enable us to balance social development and growth for TDK.
To enhance Social Value, it is essential that we contribute to sustainable development goals (SDGs). Companies are being asked to take an active role in this effort, and at TDK, we see the challenges of addressing the global-scale social issues laid out in the SDGs as a major business opportunity. There are, for example, many parts of the world that still have no access to electricity; instead of installing transmission lines, deployment of solar panels, wind turbines, and storage batteries makes it possible to introduce electrification with a single effort, based entirely on renewable energy.
Building a strong, resilient organization through empowerment and transparency
The fields in which we can utilize our technologies and solutions are expanding worldwide.
With non-Japanese nationals representing more than 90% of our employees, one of TDK’s advantages has always been the global diversity of our personnel. Combining the respective strengths of those individuals helps build an organization capable of responding to change with resiliency and strength. Over time, we have engaged in a variety of M&As; rather than expecting these newly acquired companies to take on TDK’s culture, we hope that the mutually beneficial impact we have on one another will allow the TDK Group as a whole to change anew.
At the same time, governance is an important corporate issue, one that I think comes down to valuing empowerment and transparency. This means trusting and motivating the people with whom you share your goals and philosophies. It means ensuring transparency for stakeholders, with both sides remaining open and honest with one another. In other words, in an age in which a centralized approach no longer works, strength lies in an autonomous, distributed, and resilient organization.
As we take on the challenges of this major turning point, the TDK Group sees its corporate motto and corporate principles as a foundation. I would like all of our employees to constantly consider what they can do to benefit society. This includes thinking about what kind of value each of us can offer our customers, suppliers, the global community, and other stakeholders, and understanding the importance of reexamining our own work from an outside perspective. In this way, the TDK Group as a whole will contribute to realizing a sustainable future society.