Last year saw new plants and distribution centers completed and going into operation in the U.S., China, and Thailand. In Europe, the Regional Headquarters for our farm and industrial machinery business was established to get cross-border operations going at full capacity. In Japan, new services and demonstration experiments incorporating ICT and AI via cross-industrial partnerships were initiated in the agricultural and water/environment fields. I also took advantage of every opportunity last year to visit our sites both in Japan and overseas, and I was able to clearly observe changes in the awareness of those working on the front lines of production, research and development, and sales toward realization of “Global Major Brand Kubota.” On the shop floor, in particular, the key concepts of the Kubota Production System (KPS), such as reduction of inventory, shortening of lead times, and just-in-time operations, have been disseminated, which in turn has brought the concept of manufacturing to the next level. For the new year ahead, I am hoping that we can consolidate the platform that we have expanded in each country and region in order to make it even greater.
Soon, we will launch the new five-year Medium-term Business Plan. While we aim to achieve net sales of 2.5 trillion yen by 2022, our true aspiration is to “realize GMB Kubota.” Rather than simply setting our sights on commanding the dominant position in the global marketplace in terms of sales and/or profits, we aim to be a “company (brand) that can make the greatest social contribution as a result of being trusted by the largest number of customers.”
There are various obstacles facing the Kubota Group in the global market. One of them is the Group’s many competitors. These competitors sometimes loom large before us and even threaten our business. However, delivering products and services that impress customers, whatever the circumstances, is the “Customer First” principle that guides us in everything we do. I ask all of you to work even more closely together across countries, regions, and sectors and to apply new approaches and technologies so as to advance the “Customer First” principle one step further.
Everything we do to promote our business will eventually lead us to “contribute to the global community in the areas of food, water, and the environment.” Let‘s forge ahead with pride, confidence, and expedition!