"Breaking out of our old norms"
For an organization, its norms include the knowledge, opinions and judgment that its members should share. These norms reflect commonly shared ideas of a society at a given point in time and are not unchanging universal truths. Today, the huge potential of markets in the emerging economies and the new companies being born there are bringing major changes to the way products are engineered, manufactured and marketed what we call Monozukuri. Meanwhile, the competition between companies to win and keep customers in the developed markets is intensifying. So, we have to ask ourselves if the norms we base our work on still fit this current business environment, and challenge ourselves to break out of the ones that do not.
The first of these norms involves cost. Before, adding new value to a product and raising its price was viable, but that is no longer the case in most of today's markets. In the markets of both the emerging nations and the developed nations, value is now a relative trait (defined by market standards) and efforts must be made in Monozukuri to lower the price of products even when adding value. Taking new model development as an example, until now the accepted norm has been: "the cost of a new model = the cost of the current model + the cost of the newly added features that raise its value," thus justifying the increase in price. Today, that increase will undermine the competitiveness of the new model. The necessary approach is to add value but "produce the new model at a cost lower than the current one." So, we will be working to reduce the cost of the base model, carefully decide what value should be added or substituted in the new model and reduce the cost of that new value. As for manufacturing, the norm until now was to add new work processes to increase manufacturing capabilities and quality. Now we must find new solutions to achieve the same results without increasing the number of work processes, through measures such as integration or substitution of processes as well as reducing overall cycle time.
The second norm involves lead-time. In new product development, for example, we used to take significant time to develop new products with strict adherence to the standard processes garnered from past experience to be safe and reliable. With the competition in today's rapidly changing markets, this process is not fast enough, nor is it competitive. From now on, we will be finding more ways to shorten the Monozukuri process like reducing time, eliminating wasted work, substituting processes and conducting parallel development while still continuing to increase precision to ensure high levels of quality.
The third norm we must rethink is our organization and daily work. Organizational structure and work processes are sometimes just based on past habits and inward-directed ways of thinking. Complications resulting from various managerial issues and societal demands caused segmentation, division of responsibilities and redundancy. This is creating waste. We will continue our improvements to eliminate, integrate or combine whatever possible to yield more efficiency, while also connecting these efforts to structural improvement reform. We will continue working to create an organization that is clear, understandable and encourages vitality in the individual and the company.
We will tackle all of these tasks diligently to levels above and beyond everyone's expectations, so all at Yamaha Motor can speak about our achievements with pride. I am confident that this will connect to the larger aims of "pursuing true Yamaha-ness and breaking out of these old norms" and that every employee will continue to use all of their intelligence to take on the tasks at hand with persistence.