Dec. 26, 2019
Three Key Aspects Essential to Taking the Next Step into the Future
Executive Vice President, Member of the Board of Directors*
- *Title as of December 2019
My role as CFO and advisor to the president is to keep watch over Toyota's overall management, maintain daily communication with the president, come up with ways to realize the president's aspirations, priorities, and strategies, and give directions as appropriate.
Sustainably increasing corporate value is the duty of all companies. As a mobility company, Toyota is facing a once-in-a-century period of profound transformation and therefore must advance aggressive forward-looking investment and business model innovation. Given this, I would like to share some of my thoughts on the factors that will be important to maintain and increase corporate value going forward.
Raising the Value of Our Human Resources
A company's true value lies not in its factories, machinery, or other physical assets, but in the people who use them. One of my favorite sayings is from Shingen Takeda, a prominent 16th century lord and general, and literally translates as "people are the stone walls." In other words, just as rocks of various shapes and sizes can together form a strong stone wall, developing and effectively deploying human resources with diverse values and expertise is essential to building a strong company.
Management determines the Company's strategy and explains the hurdles that must be overcome to bring out the best efforts of employees so that everyone at Toyota will work hard and support one another as a team. Employees hone their respective expertise and carry out their responsibilities as professionals. Such daily efforts are the essential elements of increasing corporate value and the foundation that supports Toyota.
Cost Reduction, the TPS, and Next-generation Investment
- Dialogue with employees
Cost reduction and the Toyota Production System (TPS) are Toyota's core strengths and traditions, handed down from our predecessors. However, I think that we still have further to go to fully embrace the true essence of these.
Examining costs means examining actions. We carefully scrutinize every action, from each use of a pencil by each individual all the way up to major projects, drawing on the full extent of our knowledge and abilities to determine which parts of our actions are wasteful so that we can improve them. When I visit Toyota's worksites and talk with employees, I do my utmost to encourage them each to develop an awareness of costs and a concrete view of the value of specific things and actions. By implementing such activities globally, we are securing the funds to sustainably invest in electrification, automation, connectivity, and other next-generation technologies and to accelerate investment in partner companies and start-ups.
Maximizing Group Competitiveness
The Toyota Group has grown by building on the foundation laid by Kiichiro Toyoda and constantly pushing to do better. The strength of the Toyota Group is in its shared set of basic values. As we prepare to take on new rivals in as-yet unknown arenas, it is more important than ever to return to the roots of the Group and gather our full strength. By having each Group company focus on its particular areas of expertise, we will further enhance our competitiveness. To do this, we are rebuilding our existing frameworks. I think that the common values shared by the companies of the Group are what will enable the success of the "home and away" strategy espoused by President Toyoda. To achieve this strategy, we will reduce consolidated fixed costs, streamline development and investment, reinforce cost competitiveness, and advance human resource development to achieve greater results from the efforts of the Group's employees and thereby increase the corporate value of the Group as a whole.
Going forward, I will be sure to report the yearly progress and results of such initiatives to our investors and shareholders.
Executive Vice President, Member of the Board of Directors