I would like to begin by wishing everybody a Happy New Year.
Let me also express my appreciation for your daily efforts and for what we achieved together in 2019. I am looking forward to welcoming in 2020 with you all.
Reflecting on 2019
Looking back over the past year the outlook for the global economy remained uncertain due to US-China trade friction, prolonged negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the unstable situation in the Middle East, a slowdown of the Chinese economy, and other factors.
Against the backdrop of these economic conditions, the volume handled by our ocean and air freight forwarding businesses declined. We did make significant strides, especially in the logistics business, as we worked on improving profitability companywide.
In April of last year, we launched our Global Headquarters, which formulates group-wide corporate strategies and direction. The purpose is to achieve Global Unity, that is, “A company with the solid foundations to deliver consistently and competitively in every corner of the world,” which is one of the core components of our Long-term Vision, TRANSFORM 2025. Through these measures, we have implemented a new management structure and stepped up initiatives under the new organization. We have also added a fourth pillar to our business by establishing the Supply Chain Solutions Group. This team will be delivering a cross-business solutions approach, reinforcing each of our current business units, and developing new customer-focused solutions. We also incorporated our company culture, which is based on our Values, into our personnel development review on a global scale. I believe this provided us with an opportunity to constantly reflect on what is important to us.
Becoming the world's preferred supply chain company and the new 3-year plan
The year 2020 is the beginning of the intermediate phase for achieving TRANSFORM 2025, and we are set to start a new 3-year plan. The current business environment surrounding international logistics is by no means bright. There are new developments, however, such as new market entry by digital freight forwarders and the utilization of AI and IoT. I believe that we are in a time of both risk and opportunity. This situation is the very reason why we must work comprehensively on solidifying our foundations and delivering our brand promise: to "create better connections" with each other, our customers, and society. The establishment of the Global Headquarters was also an initiative to realize Global Unity, a core component of that promise. Under the new 3-year plan, we will further strengthen our business foundations and ensure that they lead to a stable, profitable, structure. By incorporating digital technology into our work, we will seek business efficiency improvements and better utilization of our resources.
To achieve our Mission of becoming the world’s preferred supply chain logistics company, we must do what can only be done by us. This means asking each and every one of you, who are the asset and strength of our company, to stay close to our customers and help us generate new value. Let us pay particular attention to quality and take on the challenge of providing high added value services and support. With solid business foundations, we will stay close with customers by applying insight, working hard to improve the quality of services, generating new value and thereby growing together with our customers. Our company will carry out measures to realize these four core components for achieving our Mission.
Acting on our core values
By implementing the new 3-year plan, the company will work on creating workplace environments and systems that facilitate communication and provide a sense of unity - so that you will all be able to work comfortably and proactively.
In Japan, for example, our company will adopt open offices with unassigned seating and promote telecommuting and the use of remote offices as part of our efforts to accelerate workstyle reform while streamlining our head office. With regard to systems, in this fiscal year we introduced a new globally-unified process for personnel development review, starting an initiative that sets forth evaluation criteria based on our company culture. We will seek widespread familiarization of this system across our company. It is a key initiative for implementing TRANSFORM 2025. By linking our company culture to evaluations, our values will mesh further with the organization, help to hone the uniqueness of Yusen Logistics, and bring originality to our initiatives. There is also something I would like to ask all of you. Look back on your own behaviors and recognize that each one of you is the leader of your own actions. I am sure that your further commitment and support will make us a strong team that expands worldwide. The beginning of 2020 marks the start of TRANSFORM 2025's intermediate phase. I would like to take this opportunity to make steady progress toward achieving our Mission, together with all of you around the world, holding our Values in mind.
Needless to say, along with our ongoing challenges we will continue to work hard and prioritize compliance with national and international laws and regulations. I would like to mention once again that each and every employee maintaining openness and proactive communication will also lead to enhancing our governance. The actions performed by all of you will support and develop the company and become our brand, which makes its solid presence felt even in global competition. The actions of all employees, including management and myself, are important. I strongly hope that every one of you will view things with a sense of ownership and continue to take on challenges this year while cooperating with each other and respecting colleagues’ opinions and ideas.
It is my earnest wish that you and your families will have a healthy and fulfilling year ahead. Thank you, and a Happy New Year to you all.