Challenge of exploring a new career Considering what to do and implementing it thoroughly
After graduating from university, I joined a car manufacturer in Tianjin and engaged in automobile design. My first turning point came in 1994, when Tianjin Jin-Zhu Wiring Systems Co., Ltd. (TJWS) was jointly established by the car manufacturer, Sumitomo Electric, and Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems. TJWS manufactures automotive wiring harnesses and supplies them mainly with Japanese-affiliated car manufacturers. I obtained the challenging opportunity of participating in a project toward the establishment of the new company.
Although having pursued a career as an engineer until that time, I was strongly attracted to working as a manager, as someone who leads problems to solutions by communicating with many people, and who enhances corporate value and staff satisfaction. At the same time, I was convinced that my logical thinking as an engineer, creating new things by identifying the essence of problems through accumulated expertise and deep insight, would be useful in working as a manager. However, every day was a succession of difficulties until the company was established. Learning the necessary procedure from scratch by myself, I accumulated various knowledge and know-how.
Five years after the new company’s establishment, when I was in charge of financial affairs, a big problem occurred. One of our customers launched mass-production of a new car model, followed by the start of our shipment to the company. Nevertheless, our price negotiation did not reach an agreement, preventing us from recovering our invested capital. We were forced into an extremely difficult financial situation. Being in charge of financial affairs, I thoroughly managed a financial plan and the needed financing on a daily basis, while applying for bank loans, negotiating with the customer on recovering the invested capital, and coordinating with the parent company. I was literally running around everywhere every day. Eventually, our company was able to overcome the big crisis. Facing the difficulty, I considered what I needed to do for the company at that time and implemented it thoroughly, making me strongly realize that every problem can be led to a solution.
Creating an energetic environment where staff members can enjoy working That’s my mission as a manager
Over the years, new positions were given to me, accompanied by expansion in my career field as a manager. When I was promoted to Vice Manager of the Financial Management Division, I ran into a large wall. As a manager, I was working with the belief that appropriate directions and decisions were inevitable for subordinates. However, this attitude was insufficient to generate the results I expected. “What can I give to my subordinates?” “What’s wrong with me?” “What’s the meaning of my existence?” I continued asking myself every day. The answer that I discovered was that my role was to create an environment where staff members could enjoy working comfortably and energetically. I began to change myself, staring with my facial expression and response style. I also ensured closer communication, thus striving to know more about the reality of the work of various sections and the thoughts and feelings of staffers working there. If I found any problem, I try to solve it. It’s necessary to create an environment where staff can support and help one another and that makes staff members feel like going to work every day. Such an environment will enhance the staffers’ motivation, which will lead to increased productivity and quality. These findings were the starting point of my career as a manager.
Teamwork with heart-to-heart connection Driving force to revitalize the company
In 2015, I was appointed as General Manager of Huizhou Jin Hui Wiring Systems Co., Ltd. (JHWS), established in 2000 jointly by TJWS and an automotive component manufacturer in Guangzhou. JHWS was suffering from ongoing sluggish performance. In that environment, I was entrusted with turning around the company.
I first set numerical targets, and advanced the necessary reforms to accomplish the targets. Outside the company, I actively engaged in negotiations with customers to receive their orders, while implementing a wide variety of efforts inside the company such as spreading new principles among staffers with long-term careers and gaining their understanding, reviewing various evaluation systems and regulations, and upgrading facilities and equipment. The most critical element was ensuring unity among the staff. When they became aware that they were the key players in revitalizing their company, teamwork toward achieving the targets began being generated.
This awareness was fostered based on the Sumitomo Spirit, consisting of Banji-nissei*1, Shinyo-kakujitsu*2, and Fusu-furi*3. Believing that these tenets had affinity for Chinese culture, I provided opportunities for all the staff members to understand and recognize them, for example, by reflecting the Sumitomo Spirit into their own work at introductory training programs for new employees, daily morning sessions, and regular training programs. Their common awareness of the tenets generated a sense of unity among the staff, changing their attitude toward work. Consequently, the company was placed on a track to recovery. After a breeding ground for success was prepared, I focused on listening to each staff person, and made all-out efforts to establish a relationship of trust and to ensure that the evaluation was performed fairly and equitably. As a result, the company moved into the black two years after my appointment. This was not achieved by me alone, but by every staff member making concerted efforts. All of us at JHWS shared the joy of revitalizing the company.
In the future, I would like to make the utmost contributions to Sumitomo Electric Group’s business development, by increasing our sales of wiring harnesses not only for Japanese-affiliated manufacturers, but also for those in China, Europe, and the U.S., and by expanding our production scale. To this end, I strive to create a corporate environment where staff members can feel more joy in working than ever and realize their growth. As a SEI Group Global Executive, I believe in two requirements of leaders: to consider what to do and then implement it fully; and to ensure heart-to-heart communication from staff members’ perspectives. By doing these, management for generating optimal solutions can be realized.
*1 Banji-nissei: Do your sincere best, not only in business but also in every aspect of your life.
*2 Shinyo-kakujitsu: Place importance on integrity and sound management.
*3 Fusu-furi: Do not act rashly or carelessly in pursuit of easy gains.
Joined Tianjin Jin-Zhu Wiring Systems Co., Ltd.
Vice Manager, Financial Management Division
Manager, Corporate Management Department
Vice General Manager
Certified as a SEI Group Global Executive*
General Manager, Huizhou Jin Hui Wiring Systems Co., Ltd. (concurrent)
* At Sumitomo Electric, we annually select Group Global Executives, personnel who are expected to exceed in business operations not only for their companies but also for the entire Sumitomo Electric Group on a global basis, from among the management of our overseas group companies. He has been selected in succession since this system was established in 2014.