Message from the President and CEO
Commemorating Our Centennial
This year we proudly commemorate the centennial of our founding in 1919, when our Company was formed with the merger of eight major celluloid manufacturers. At the time, this merger was notable for being outside the conventional framework of Japan’s corporate conglomerates known as zaibatsu. The Company succeeded in developing a flame-retardant celluloid by adopting a new raw material, which was a long-sought breakthrough in the foundation period. The Company also participated in the downstream development of the business through domestic production of celluloid-based motion picture and photographic films. Throughout the historical periods of the Showa-era Depression, World War II, and post-war turmoil and reconstruction, we have continued to reform our business operations and improve our technologies. These efforts have resulted in strengthened competitiveness and the development of product lines offering greater added value even as we faced the challenges of a tumultuous century characterized by oil shocks, the bursting of economic bubbles, the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and several devastating earthquakes. Today, Daicel Corporation stands as the beneficiary of the efforts of our predecessors and the cooperation of our customers, suppliers, investors, the communities in which we have a presence, and many other stakeholders. Once again, I would like to thank you all for your contributions to our success.
Looking back on our 100-year history, it is necessary to point out some issues we should all keep top of mind.
At various times in our past, our Company has had to address several urgent personnel issues.
Therefore, it is important that we keep in mind that one of our basic policies, human-centered management, was adopted in the belief that we should never allow our bonds with our colleagues to fray.
Moreover, at several points in our history we have experienced devastating accidents, such as the explosion and fire at the Sakai Plant in 1982. These events resulted in the tragic loss of several employees as well as a great deal of inconvenience to local residents and our business partners. With a vow never to allow such serious accidents to recur, our employees and management have focused their collective efforts on implementing the Responsible Care initiative and have adopted the Monozukuri (manufacturing) policy of “Safety and Quality First.”
In addition, allegations of antitrust violations in the U.S.A. also had a significant social and economic impact. As a result, we came to reaffirm that our Company must always follow firm ethical guidelines in our dealings with society, and we have renewed our commitment to never violate laws or social norms in our quest for achievement.
On the occasion of our 100th anniversary, we are strengthening our dedication to upholding the spirit of our founders and returning to the essential underpinnings of our rules and mechanisms. While recognizing again that the assurance of safety, quality, and compliance stand as the essential foundations of corporate management, we will continue to contribute to the greater affluence of society by giving substance to the functions that support our society.
We remain committed to maintaining the trust of our stakeholders by always operating our business in an honest and stable manner.
Responding to Change
In recent years, we have been working on various “innovations”, structural reforms, and informatization, not to be swayed by changes, but to anticipate and transform them into opportunities. We have achieved a certain measure of results through “process innovations” such as the “Daicel Way” production innovation and the development and introduction of new process technologies, and “product innovations” that address new product development and commercialization, and “management innovations” that improve the efficiency of existing businesses and organizations.
At the same time however, we are facing a difficult situation in which our business performance has suffered a decline over four consecutive years. We believe that an urgent need has arisen that requires us to restructure our existing businesses, create new ones, and develop them so that we continue to contribute to society through our business operations.
In order to achieve this, we are implementing a fundamental organizational reform of our corporate divisions. We have reformed our Production Technology Headquarters into our Production Management Headquarters, which will focus on sweeping cost reductions in our existing businesses while strengthening the competitiveness of our core businesses. Our Innovation and Business Development Headquarters, meanwhile, will integrate and reinstitute some functions of our R&D Headquarters, New Business Development, and Production Technology Headquarters. It is intended to accelerate the creation and development of new businesses by consolidating the functions required to develop new business themes and pursue mass production and commercialization. Moreover, our new Research Center will explore the challenges facing our customers’ industries from their perspective and will focus on developing new materials by integrating our own products and technologies with those of our customers.
By providing strong support to our own business Companies and Group companies at a faster pace through our corporate divisions, not only will we recover our business performance, but we will also work to solve social issues by offering both energy-efficient solutions and innovative new materials.
Corporate Management and the SDGs
In addition to strengthening existing businesses and fostering new ones as described above, we will focus on reforming management across the Daicel Group.
The reorganized Digital Strategy Division will seek to reform the way our employees perform their tasks by proactively incorporating constantly evolving digital technologies such as IoT and AI in all work areas including production, sales, and research. This approach is intended to further improve work efficiency and reduce workloads.
Moreover, we will promote sustainable management throughout the Daicel Group by incorporating the Group’s corporate management functions within the newly established Corporate Sustainability. The corporate objectives that the Group has outlined in its long-term vision (Grand Vision 2020) and in the Daicel Spirit that supports them are closely linked to the issues raised by the SDGs. In our next long-term vision, which we are currently formulating, we aim to contribute to existing businesses and the realization of new business units while clarifying our progress in achieving the SDGs.
At the same time, in order to embody the philosophy of human-centered management, we are reviewing our personnel systems. Our focus is on respecting the basic human rights as well as diversity of the more than 12,000 Daicel Group employees around the globe. Our common objective is to become a corporate group in which each and every one of us is able to grow and play a productive role.
We have excelled at innovation for 100 years, and we intend to continue doing so. We welcome the ongoing guidance and support of our stakeholders as we turn the page and write the next 100 years of our story together.