We talk to Akitoshi Ichii, President & CEO of NSK Ltd., about how he would like to see NSK grow.
President & CEO, NSK Ltd.
(Appointed on April 1, 2021)
Born in Tokyo. Joined NSK in 1986.
Akitoshi Ichii’s career at NSK has spanned sales and marketing of automotive bearings, business division strategy, corporate planning, and overseeing all administrative divisions. Has also spent a number of years at NSK subsidiaries in Europe and India.
◆First Months as President & CEO
There have been many functions and events since I became president, but most of them have been conducted online because of COVID-19. This includes the traditional induction ceremony for new employees held annually on April 1. Although it was through a computer screen, I was able to listen to the new employees’ encouraging aspirations, which reminded me once again that I, too, would like to aim to build up NSK to be an even better company and be able to hold my head high when it comes time to pass the reigns to the next generation.
The NSK Corporate Philosophy contains our mission statement: “NSK contributes to a safer, smoother society and helps protect the global environment through its innovative technology integrating Motion & Control™. As a truly international enterprise, we are working across national boundaries to improve relationships between people throughout the world.” In order to realize the corporate philosophy, in 2016, on our 100th anniversary, we established “NSK Vision 2026.” Vision 2026 lays out how we will evolve from 2016-2026, with “setting the future in motion,” as a catchphrase to guide that process of growth and change.
◆My Take on Vision 2026
As President & CEO, I have set out three goals geared toward realizing our Vision 2026 and our corporate philosophy. The first goal is to “Change & Go Beyond.” It goes without saying that if we only passively pursue the changes and advances required to do business today, we will fall behind the times, and our competitiveness in the market will deteriorate. Instead, we need to look beyond the present and focus on achieving net-zero carbon emissions, using renewable energy, aligning business policy with changes in local demographics such as aging populations, shifting to electric vehicles, implementing digital transformation, and effectively utilizing remote work and AI.
COVID-19 has changed the way we live and work, and I believe that everyone feels the necessity and importance of change more than ever before. By changing and going beyond the status quo, NSK will be able to propose solutions that offer new value to society and hone a competitive edge that will enable us to survive in this era of significant change.
The second goal is to be “No.1 in Quality and Trust.” In order to realize a company that will continue to keep society in motion 100 years or even 1,000 years from now, we must continue to be needed, trusted, and relied upon by society. For this reason, I believe that pursuing quality and trust is essential. I would like to maintain and enhance the brand power that our predecessors have built up over the past 100 years, and pass on that pride and confidence to the next generation.
The third goal is to be a “Fulfilling Company to Be a Part Of,” such that people can feel glad to have interacted with NSK in any capacity. Since I joined the company, I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet and work with so many amazing people, and this has contributed a lot to how much I enjoy my work. I want to make NSK a company where the experience of working here becomes an ongoing learning experience and is valuable to each employee.
◆Change & Go Beyond to Realize a Carbon Neutral Society
NSK will continue to contribute and provide new value in the area of creating a green, carbon neutral society by changing and going beyond to evolve our strengths in tribology technology.
NSK products, such as bearings, are vital for the safe, secure, and smooth operation of home appliances and vehicles that enrich our lives and keep society in motion. But it doesn’t stop there. NSK products are also vital for the production facilities and equipment that manufacture the products we use every day as well as the machines that manufacture those production facilities. To put it simply, as our catchphrase says, “NSK is All Around You.”
From an environmental perspective, across our modern industrial society as a whole, NSK solutions make a significant contribution to energy conservation with low-friction, lightweight, and long-life technologies. Of course, moving forward, based on our corporate philosophy of “protecting the global environment through innovative technology integrating Motion & Control” we will continue our efforts to achieve net-zero or beyond net-zero environmental impact through product development, production innovation, and sales-driven initiatives.
NSK has long leveraged tribology technology in developing products that contribute to reducing energy loss and CO2 emissions. Today we are working to marry tribology technology and know-how cultivated over many years with digital technology, with the aim of being able to provide customers with a solution that can scientifically analyze and predict various phenomena occurring in the movement of machines. This will enable us to make proposals that will help our customers achieve higher productivity, higher precision, higher accuracy, and smoother motion, while also reducing CO2 emissions.
◆Aiming to be a Vibrant, Energetic, and Engaging Company
To draw on our strengths and maximize the contribution that everyone at NSK can make to society, I believe it is important to be open and accepting of diversity, and to respect and care for each other. I want to maximize our capacity to be a company where people can think freely, discuss ideas openly without fear of reproach, and take on the challenge of going beyond the status quo. More than ever, I want us to be a vibrant, energetic, and engaging company where employees themselves can freely propose and discuss what they want to achieve in the company and in the world. Ideally, I’d like us to have fun and enjoy ourselves in the pursuit of setting the future in motion. As for myself, I will strive to maintain a sincere and unpretentious posture as I work closely with everyone in the continuous pursuit of “Change & Go Beyond.”