Overcoming the Crisis and Implementing Business Restructuring Aimed at Growth
The difficult business environment continued as fiscal 2009 arrived, and Hitachi High-Technologies, aware that uncertainty about the outlook for the world economy would continue for some time, launched a business restructuring program aimed at turning around the company’s performance quickly.
The most urgent measures were considered to be a thorough review of personnel and costs. Steps taken included reducing executive remuneration; reducing equipment idle time; adjusting personnel levels by introducing early retirement; implementing business holidays; introducing delays in the system of regular raises; wage cuts; strict selectivity in capital investment and R&D expenditures; inventory reductions; and comprehensive review of sales, general, and administrative expenses.
In addition to such measures intended to reduce costs overall, emphasis was placed on rebuilding to create an optimized management system as preparation for future progress and on accelerating the growth strategy.
As part of reorganization efforts aimed at an optimized management system, in April 2009 the New Business Development Department was eliminated from the Corporate Strategy Division and its functions transferred to sections dealing with trading operations. Also, the chip mounter-related operations of the Industrial Production Systems Div. were consolidated within the Packaging & Assembly Systems Dept. of the Advanced Equipment & Systems Sales Div., and a new SMT & Assembly Systems Division was established. These were placed within the Semiconductor Equipment Business Group in order to integrate the semiconductor back-end business.
The Life Science Business Group was renamed the Analytical Sciences Business Group, and analysis equipment-related businesses such as electron microscopes were transferred to its purview in order to integrate the analysis equipment business.
A Global Trading Group was put in place to optimize trading operations overall and create new business opportunities, and a Strategic Planning Division and Ecology & Energy Business Division were newly established within it. Under this new system, strategic initiatives and efforts to create new business opportunities in growth fields were encouraged. In particular, in the energy and environmental solutions field there was a policy of aggressive promotion of businesses related to lithium-ion batteries, solar cells, and fuel cells. On the other hand, the Industrial Production Systems Division and Electronic Devices Division were disbanded.
In the manufacturing area, operations commenced at a new state-of-the-art manufacturing building at the Naka Division in May 2009, boosting production efficiency for semiconductor manufacturing equipment and medical analysis equipment.
To promote global expansion, Hitachi High-Technologies endeavored to establish firm foundations for future business in emerging markets such as China, the ASEAN nations, India, and Brazil. Emphasis was placed on training personnel who would be instrumental in opening up new markets and cultivating new business opportunities.
The difficult business climate continued into the second half of the fiscal year, and it was necessary to revise the performance forecast downward. President Obayashi focused the company’s efforts on building a business system responsive to market fluctuations, creating new business opportunities, speeding up development, deepening consolidated management, implementing cash fl ow management, strengthening the company’s global position, personnel training, and adhering to “the basics and the ethics.”
Worldwide trends of the semiconductor market, capital investment,and manufacturing equipment market (source: 2011 Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment Data Book)
New manufacturing building at Naka Division (operation started May 2009)
Article in June 5, 2009, edition of Nihon Keizai Shimbun reporting stricter cash fl ow management policies