Kosei Shindo, president of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation (NSSMC) has highlighted to employees what he regards as priorities for the company in 2015.

In a New Year message to NSSMC employees, he said that 2014 was blighted by five accidents, which have dented trust in the company. “It is absolutely essential that we regain [the] trust of our customers, community and the society,” he said, adding that he plans to strengthen the overall business with greater emphasis on technology, cost and ‘being global’.

He said that the company must prevail against fierce global competition and identified three specific challenges for 2015, the first being to review the competitiveness of the business and rebuild its manufacturing capability.

Where production facilities are concerned, Shindo plans to reconsider and renew the way maintenance is carried out in relation to the age of the equipment, the latest in technological innovation and changes in the business environment. He said that a long-term perspective was needed in terms of planning major repairs and large-scale modernisation programmes. “This is essential for our domestic manufacturing sites to keep playing the role of mother plants in our global strategy,” he said.

In recognition that the global marketplace will become increasingly competitive going forward, especially in high-grade steels, Shindo said the climate will provide NSSMC with an opportunity to exploit its technological strengths and increase global business in the process.

Shindo wants to plan and implement strategies by market and geographic segments and develop specific product strategies based on an optimal production system and cost structure for the NSSMC group. He believes that such action will improve the company’s ‘corporate-wide operational infrastructure encompassing personnel management, financials and facilities and equipment.

Technological superiority, said Shindo, is key to future success. “With renewed confidence that technological superiority is the basis of all global businesses, we are committed to refine our technological prowess,” he said.

Lastly, Shindo highlighted the importance of business integration, claiming that since Nippon Steel Corporation and Sumitomo Metal Industries merged in October 2012, the transition has been smooth and the company was now on track to meet the benchmarks set in the Medium-term Business Plan.

To achieve a true sense of integration, however, Shindo believes it is essential that ‘we promote thorough discussion’ throughout all levels of the business.

“I firmly believe that for a manufacturing company such as ours, the key… is teamwork and day-to-day efforts,” he said.