Message from Top Management

Tetsuji Ohashi President and CEO

Tetsuji Ohashi
President and CEO

Overcoming Challenges with Innovation

In the 2011 report, We stated that Komatsu is, “Committed to Contribute to Society through Core Businesses.” Today, when I look around at the many trends in society, I notice that many companies, not just Komatsu, are asking themselves, “How can we provide value to society?” and acting accordingly.

In Japan, societal issues such as a dwindling birth rate and an aging population, challenges of women in the workplace, and the need to stimulate rural economies are being discussed daily. Meanwhile, when we turn our eyes to global issues, we have problems like climate change, the world food supply problem, and natural disaster recovery challenges, as well as many other issues that are specific to different regions, and in such times, it is expected of corporations to face these issues as well. Our goal is to consider these issues and ask ourselves, “What are the things only Komatsu can do?” and to actively pursue ways in which we can contribute to society.

In Komatsu's current mid-term management plan, “Together We Innovate GEMBA Worldwide,” we explain how our CSR activities and core businesses are closely aligned. The first item on our Basic Strategies is, “Growth Strategy through Innovation,” which includes the introduction of new construction methods that use ICT (Information and Communication Technology), and the expansion of AHS (Automatic Haulage System) usage. Our aim is not only to provide products with excellent performance, but also to make sure that these products are used in a way that is the most effective and beneficial to our customers at their job sites. We wish to come up with innovative systems that minimize environmental impact while improving safety. To this end, we want to make the best use of Komatsu's internal resources, and work in cooperation with exceptional external partners, to contribute to solving societal issues through innovation.

Safety as Top Priority

Within our company, I constantly tell our employees, “The priority list goes, S (Safety), L (Law), Q (Quality), D (Delivery), C (Cost), in that order." My point in this is that safety is top priority; it is the most important thing.

Despite this philosophy, on April 25th 2014, a melting furnace exploded at a plant at Komatsu Castex Ltd. in Toyama. This accident resulted in the injury of 5 people, one of whom passed away. For this I am truly saddened and deeply regretful. As soon as the accident happened, Komatsu reacted by immediately establishing an emergency headquarters, contacting the family and relatives of the injured employees, and worked in full cooperation with the investigations of the relevant authorities. In addition, we called on external academic experts and specialists to set up an Accident Investigation Committee to put our full effort in to investigating the cause of the accident. We are once again going back to the drawing board to work on our health and safety measures more aggressively than ever, so that a tragic accident like this will never happen again.

The issue of safety is not limited to Komatsu's plants. It is a concern in any place with people around, whether it is a partner company's plant, a customer's operation site, an office, or anywhere we operate in. In every place we work, we will respond to changing conditions and continue our work by taking to heart the idea that, “A company with problems in safety, health, or compliance has no reason to exist.”

Dantotsu Environment Efficiency at Plants

In May 2014, we built a new assembly factory at the Awazu plant, which is a key hub. Since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the consequent nuclear plant disaster, Komatsu has been putting a lot of our efforts into reducing energy consumption, and using this opportunity to have a fundamental reassessment of our production process. The first thing we started with is the construction of this new assembly factory. We took the assembly factories that were in two dilapidated old buildings and consolidated them into one assembly factory, reducing the amount of floor space, and set up newest, state-of-the-art energy-saving machinery. We also started making use of natural energy generation, such as biomass power generation and solar power. Due to these changes, results showed that compared to 2010, we had reduced the use of purchased energy by over 90%. In addition, both environmental performance and area productivity doubled, compared to 2011. In this fiscal year, we are moving ahead in instituting these changes in the Oyama plant, Tochigi plant, and then Osaka plant, to continue to promote our plants becoming more "Dantotsu"(Unique and Unrivaled) as we keep our eyes to the future.

Our overseas plants are also achieving great results. At the Komatsu Shantui Construction Machinery Co., Ltd., the company that had been awarded with the Deming Prize in 2013, they have a proven track record of engaging in company-wide environmental activities. Utilizing the heat exchange function of the air conditioning equipment to use the geothermal heat with stable temperature rather than the outside air, the company has been able to reduce energy use by 55%. In addition, the newly built waste water treatment facility is being used to recirculate waste water to be utilized in toilets and greening, as part of working towards eliminating waste water.

These activities are being expanded to all our plants world-wide, to continue in creating products of exceptional quality and reliability at work sites that are environmentally conscious, productive, and safe.

Human Resource Development of Employees and Local Communities

As evident from our company history, Komatsu has emphasized the importance of "developing people" for a long time. Our founder, Meitaro Takeuchi, is the person who, grieved that Japan was behind in its development of human resources as compared to Europe and the United States in the early part of the 20th century, was instrumental in establishing the Science and Engineering Department at Waseda University at personal expense. We believe that DNA is still a part of Komatsu today.

In April 2014, we established a new “Department for Promotion of Distributor HR Development” at our headquarters. In the business of construction and mining equipment, the service personnel at our distributors are the ones who support our customers at their job sites. Going forward, we hope that this new organization will be at the center of strengthening the organization and its human resource development of our service personnel.

Going beyond our core business to social contribution efforts, we are using the know-how gained from training our service personnel to support vocational training schools and universities. Details regarding these efforts can be found in our CSR report, so we hope you will take a moment to read all about it.

Our corporate value is the total sum of trust given to us by society and all stakeholders. We aim to share these values and practices with all our employees world-wide through instilling in them the “KOMATSU Way.” We are also actively participating in initiatives such as the United Nations Global Compact and the WBCSD, to take responsibility and do our part in the world as a global corporation.

July 2014 Tetsuji Ohashi President and CEO

July 2014
Tetsuji Ohashi
President and CEO

Komatsu participates in the UN Global Compact (UNGC). Regarding for relationship between UNGC’s Ten Principles and Komatsu’s activities, see this link. UN Global Compact (UNGC)
Komatsu participates in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Please see this link. Komatsu participates in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.