On January 20, 2019, FUJIFILM Holdings celebrated its 85th anniversary.
Then in May, Japan ushered in a new imperial era, switching to Reiwa following the roughly 30-year-long Heisei period. The Fujifilm Group has also renewed its strong enthusiasm for growth at the beginning of this new era.
For the Fujifilm Group, the first half of the Heisei era (1989-2003) was a time during which we made significant progress in developing our technologies and expanding overseas. Then in the second half (2004-2019), we largely transformed the nature of our business operations. Even though the demand for our then-mainstay product of photographic film declined sharply due to the rise of digitalization, we overhauled our business structure to survive that crisis and posted record-high profit in FY2008/3. But in 2008, just as we were gearing up for the next phase of growth, we were hit hard by the impact of the global financial crisis, while the business environment enveloping the Group again changed dramatically. Nevertheless, we grew stronger every time we overcame a crisis by exhaustively reinforcing our business platform and driving growth in key businesses. As a result, we posted record-high profit again in FY2019/3. In this final year of our medium-term management plan, VISION2019, we will strive to achieve our stated targets and realize new growth.
Realizing sustained growth by addressing both long-term and near-term challenges
I believe that companies must constantly provide society with new value. The key challenge for corporate management is to maximize profits in operations so that better products and services can be developed by reinvesting profits from business activities. At the same time, companies are expected to fulfill an important role in helping the international community address climate change, poverty, hunger, and other issues highlighted in the SDGs*, for example. In playing an important part in an ecosystem that enables society as a whole to further thrive, companies themselves must lay the groundwork for the future based on a long-term perspective.
A company’s management must always concurrently address near-term issues and draw up long-term business plans to prepare themselves for the future. The former might mean responding appropriately to changes in the economic environment and competition with rivals to properly execute sales and profit plans on an annual basis, or incorporating rapid developments in technology into its business activities. The latter would include such issues as investing in human resources and the creation of new technologies and businesses. The very essence of corporate management is to constantly create value by striking the right balance between solutions for both nearterm and long-term issues at a high level.
Aiming to be a company that drives change
In my opinion, there are three stages in a company’s evolution. Firstly, a corporation that can swiftly and appropriately respond to changes in its operating environment would generally be thought of as a good company. However, a better company would be one that does more than just respond̶it anticipates changes and takes action accordingly. But the ideal company is the one that drives change itself.
When the Fujifilm Group came face to face with a crisis at the start of the 21st century, we took appropriate action to boldly transform our business structure by beefing up growth businesses and creating new ones. And we have achieved further growth with a robust portfolio of multiple businesses by anticipating future changes in respective markets and making strategic moves.
We currently aim to be a company that has a positive impact on industry and society with the new value we create. To some extent I think we have achieved this in the fields of medical IT system and regenerative medicine in which we are leveraging the use of AI, but going forward we are committed to creating positive changes for society in various business fields by further developing the broad-ranging proprietary technologies we have accumulated thus far and actively incorporating new technology and knowledge, such as AI and IoT.
We hope to fulfill our corporate social responsibilities and continue to achieve prosperous growth together with society. We will make every effort to remain indispensable to people’s livelihoods and I look forward to the continued support from all our shareholders.
* The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015. Based on the motto “leave no one behind,” the agenda comprises 17 global goals and 169 targets that the international community needs to address by the year 2030.
Chief Executive Officer