Respecting and Looking Back on Our History Provides Us with an Insight into Future Challenges to be Addressed
Looking back on the history of Suminoe Textile, I feel that our Company has always undertaken our business activities with a forward-looking attitude. Suminoe Textile has striven to analyze the changes occurring in the world and identify the direction for growth, thereby consistently placing business emphasis in accordance with the trend of the times. Suminoe Textile was founded in the Meiji Period (1868~1912), when many infrastructure projects were carried out. Our business started in the form of responding to the needs resulting from social modernization, which was exemplified by the construction of the Imperial Diet Building and railways. Since then, Suminoe Textile has stayed attuned to changing social needs while predicting the tide of the times, so as to reap the fruits of its efforts for growth. Our Company has been characterized by a very strong enterprising spirit that inspires us to take action ahead of others. We have also established a corporate culture that lets employees do what they want to do, enabling them to positively take on various challenges. I believe that these are the reasons why Suminoe Textile has been able to continue operations so long.
In the 100-year history of our Company, what I consider to be the greatest epoch is the popularization of carpets in Japan in the Showa 30s (1955~1964). Until then, the impression that carpets were luxury, high-end goods had been predominant among the Japanese. It would have been much easier to focus only on meeting the needs of government and the wealthy. However, the then management of our Company took a risk and invested funds to embark on the industrialization of carpet manufacturing, placing itself at the vanguard of the industry. In other words, our predecessors launched Suminoe Textiles own brand and dared to implement the B to C (Business to Consumer) business model. It may be true that they did so to follow the trends of the times, but it was the then management who read the trends and made that decision. Almost at the same time, Suminoe Textile began to make inroads into the field of automotive textiles, which has been continuing to the present day.
Like a tree, a company has a trunk, from which branches and leaves grow by receiving nourishment. If the trunk becomes rotten, the company will be eroded. The trunks of companies with a long history are generally sound and healthy. I am sure that our Company has a solid trunk─our philosophy, which applies to all business aspects, including manufacturing and marketing, is to never deceive customers, meet the demands of the times, and contribute to the development of the entire industry. When looking back on Suminoe Textiles centennial history, we can see that the Company has followed the right business path as stated above.
In reviewing the history of our Company, I also recognize anew its strong enterprising sprit that has driven the development of products and technologies unique to Suminoe Textile. Around the time of the transition from the Showa to Heisei Period (1989~), the Company dared to undertake a project to produce a fiber from recycled PET bottles on its own. This attempt was successful through the combination of our initiatives to pursue unique manufacturing, and our attitude of doing something good for the environment. However, we were aware that it was difficult for the project to achieve profitability in the short term, since it involved a significant capital investment. Nevertheless, I believe that we should pass on, as the DNA of Suminoe Textile, an entrepreneurship that not only seeks a profit for the Company, but also aims to widely contribute to society.
On the occasion of publishing this booklet that commemorates the centennial celebration of Suminoe Textile, I would like to tell our employees that we should develop the competitiveness of the current organization. There are various problems around us, including energy issues, disaster risks, country risks, a declining birthrate, and the aging of society. We will not be able to grow if we do not face these problems squarely, consider the possible solutions ourselves, and take forward-looking action as our predecessors did. I wish to emphasis that it is only at the actual work site that employees can be trained. Also, it is at the actual work site that employees can identify challenges to be addressed. Here, by work site I mean not only production sites, but also all other places where employees work, in sales and accounting, for instance.
I would like to say to employees that you should make effective use of the Company for your own growth. I believe that Suminoe Textile is a company that attaches importance to the growth of its employees, if it sometimes expects a little too much from them.
People can grow only by meeting and connecting with others. Likewise, a company cannot develop alone. We have been able to weave the history of Suminoe Textile for more than 100 years, thanks to the kind cooperation, patronage and encouragement of customers, shareholders, collaborative companies and all others concerned. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my deepest gratitude to all our stakeholders. I would also like to express my sincere hope that we will advance together with you all toward the next 100 years, to achieve further growth and prosperity.