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2013年1月 7日 (月)

企業の挑戦―個性に裏打ちされてこそ

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 4
EDITORIAL: Companies must meet challenges with originality
企業の挑戦―個性に裏打ちされてこそ

The first domestically produced passenger jet is set to take off as early as this autumn.
 初の国産ジェット旅客機が、この秋にも大空を舞う。

It is the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), a small plane designed to carry up to 100 passengers that was developed by Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp., a Nagoya-based subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI).
 三菱重工業の子会社、三菱航空機(名古屋市)が開発する乗客100人以下の小型機、三菱リージョナルジェット(MRJ)だ。

Unlike the market for medium to large passenger planes dominated by the U.S. manufacturer Boeing Co. and the European maker Airbus SAS, there is much room in this small-plane market for new entrants. According to industry sources, there is demand for about 5,000 small airplanes.
 この市場は米ボーイングと欧州エアバスが牛耳る中大型機とは違い、参入余地が大きい。需要は5千機ほどに及ぶという。

MHI has long been supplying Boeing and Airbus with parts. However, partly due to the advancement of rival Asian companies that are beginning to catch up, Mitsubishi decided to make inroads into the market of finished aircraft, taking the current opportunity as its last chance to do so.
 両社に長く部品を供給してきた三菱だが、アジアの後続企業の追い上げもあり、完成機メーカーに脱皮する最後の機会と見て勝負に出た。

‘SALES EFFORT’ PAYS OFF
■「売る努力」の結晶

Because Japan excels in manufacturing, no concerns about the plane are heard from the airlines purchasing them.
 日本のモノづくりの粋であり、客先の航空会社からも機体への不安は聞かれない。

But that alone does not explain why these passenger planes are selling well. The orders that Mitsubishi Aircraft has received for 330 of its MRJ planes are the fruit of its "sales effort."
 ただ、旅客機はそれだけでは売れない。すでに330機を受注したMRJは「売る努力」の結晶でもある。

A determining factor for sales is the standard of after-sale service to promptly resolve problems on a global scale. If the standard is high, airlines can use the aircraft efficiently and increase their profits. And because used planes can be sold at reasonable prices, the manufacturer can sell the new planes to airlines at high prices.
 販売の決め手は、世界規模で迅速にトラブルを処理するアフターサービスの水準だ。ここが優れていれば航空会社は機材を効率よく使って収益を上げられる。中古も良い値で売れ、いきおい新品も高く売れる。

If Mitsubishi Aircraft had tried to do business on its own, it would have been left behind. It has tied up with Boeing to learn its know-how and selected companies from around the world that excel in such areas as repairs and training to team up with.
 自前主義では間に合わない。ボーイングと提携してノウハウを学び、補修や訓練など分野ごとに世界から優良企業を選んでチームを組む。

While products are still the main pillar, the manufacturer has become a leading player in the market by building sales and service systems to fully meet the needs of customers. This is a path that any Japanese company seeking global advancement should follow.
 モノが主軸ながら、顧客のニーズに最大限に応える販売・サービス体制を構築し、主導権を確立していく。グローバル化を目指す日本企業の進むべき一つの道がここにある。

Peter Drucker (1909-2005), the Austrian-born American authority on management, observed that the true nature of corporate management lies in technical innovation and the creation of markets.
 経営学の大家ドラッカーは、企業経営の本質は技術革新と市場創造だと看破した。

However, it seems that Japanese companies became overconfident about their manufacturing abilities and lost sight of their directions in the effort to sell what they made. Because their products have not sold at list prices, they have been forced to make discounts, which has led to the deflation plaguing them.
 だが、日本企業はモノづくりへの自信に溺れ、売る努力の方向性を見失った感がある。正価で売れず値引きし、デフレに苦しむ。

Once again at this juncture, they need to find the wisdom to make the world recognize the value of their products and services, in other words, to recover the strength of their brands. Otherwise, they will be swallowed up as newly emerging countries advance and companies compete with each other more on the basis of their "uniqueness."
 いま一度、自らの製品やサービスの価値を世界に認めさせる力、つまりブランド力を取り戻すために知恵を絞らなければならない。新興国が台頭し、ますます「個性」が競い合う世界の中で埋没しないために。

DEPARTURE FROM OVERCONCENTRATION
■一極集中からの脱却

A private event called "Ippen mitaroka, eeyan bunraku" (Bunraku is cool, why not go see it?) was held in Osaka in December.
 「いっぺん観(み)たろか、ええやん文楽」という民間イベントを師走の大阪でのぞいた。

The municipal government's review of its subsidies for bunraku, a form of traditional Japanese puppet theater, led a group to organize the event with an aim to take a new look at bunraku. Before the actual performance, a talk was held between puppeteer Kiritake Kanjuro, writer Arisu Arisugawa and fashion designer Hiroko Koshino.
 市の補助金見直し問題を機に、文楽を考え直そうという催しである。実演に先立ち、人形遣いの桐竹勘十郎さんと作家の有栖川(ありすがわ)有栖さん、ファッションデザイナーのコシノヒロコさんが対談した。

"Cutting off subsidies on the grounds that puppet shows are attracting fewer people is not what needs to be done. Rather, we must secure producers who can bridge the gap between tradition and current trends to increase the number of customers," Arisugawa said.
 有栖川さんいわく、「客足が悪いから補助金を切るのではなく、伝統と時代感覚をマッチさせ、お客を増やすために行動するプロデューサーが必要だ」。

Koshino has been familiar with bunraku since her childhood because her grandfather used to take her to see it.
 コシノさんは子どものころから祖父に連れられ、文楽に親しんできた。

"I gained much from that experience. Individuality that comes out naturally is appreciated globally. It is difficult to obtain that even if you deliberately aim to produce something Japanese," she said.
 「それが肥やしになり、自然ににじみ出る個性が世界で評価される。意識して日本的なものを狙ってもダメ」

In other words, only true individuality can be appreciated. The same thing can be applied to companies. Anyone can cut costs. The job of managers is to develop their company within its society.
 血肉になった個性でなければ評価されないのは、企業も同じだろう。コストを削るだけなら誰でもできる。経営者の仕事は社会のなかで会社を発展させていくことだ。

French, Italian and Swiss companies that have firmly established themselves in Japanese markets have strong brands backed by their unique character.
 日本市場に深く浸透しているフランスやイタリア、スイスの企業には、個性に裏付けられた高いブランド力がある。

In Japan, too, whether a company is located in urban or rural areas has no bearing. Rather, local companies that can steadily do business blessed by tradition and nature may be in a more desirable environment to create value.
 日本でも、会社が都会にあるか地方かは関係ない。むしろ、伝統や自然に恵まれ、腰をすえた経営ができる地方企業は、価値の創造には望ましい環境にあるかもしれない。

Companies should protect work that requires human labor and play a social role to distribute income. Instead of sticking to shrinking domestic markets, they should deal directly with the world. If a place in which companies can stimulate each other is nurtured locally, it will also attract people who work in major urban areas.
 人手をかける仕事を守り、所得を分配する社会的な機能を果たす。縮小する国内市場にこだわらず、直接、世界を相手にしていく。そんな企業が触発し合う「場」が地方に育てば、大都市の人材も引き寄せられよう。

In the 21st century, there must be a model of success different from the postwar one that led to overconcentration in Tokyo.
 21世紀には、東京一極集中の戦後とは異なる成功の形があるはずだ。

A CHAIN OF GOOD IDEAS
■優れた着想の連鎖を

Starting this autumn, Kyushu Railway Co. (JR Kyushu) will operate "Nanatsuboshi" (Seven Stars), a luxury sleeping car excursion train. A three-night, four-day tour (with two nights spent in the train) that travels across five prefectures and visits such tourist destinations as Yufuin (Oita Prefecture), Kirishima (Kagoshima Prefecture) and Aso (Kumamoto Prefecture) costs up to 1.1 million yen (about $13,000) per couple. Inquiries from travel agents in other countries have also been increasing.
 JR九州は、今秋から豪華な周遊列車「ななつ星」を走らせる。由布院(大分)や霧島(鹿児島)、阿蘇(熊本)など5県をめぐる3泊4日コース(2泊は列車泊)は2人で最高110万円。海外の旅行会社からの引き合いも増えている。

By positioning the railway, which is essentially a means of transportation, as "a place to stay," JR Kyushu broke new ground. It took a hint from luxury cruise liners.
 移動手段である鉄道を「滞在場所」と位置づけたことで新境地が開けた。ヒントは豪華客船の旅だ。

However, deluxe train cars and in-car services alone are not enough to complete the picture. Collaboration with various forms of hospitality offered by tourist destinations along the way provides the key.
 もっとも、立派な車両や車内サービスだけでは完結しない。立ち寄り先のさまざまな接遇との相乗効果こそ生命線だ。

There is no way rich people from around the world can be fooled. One must strictly ask oneself, "What is 'real' travel?" More than anything else, the ability to come up with good ideas is needed.
 世界の金持ちを相手にごまかしはきかない。「本物は何か」という厳しい自問と、何より優れた着想力が求められる。

JR Kyushu has accumulated a wealth of experiences by running unique tourist trains in the past. Nanatsuboshi is the result of that accumulation, and at the same time, it has the role of creating new value by linking unique regions that have devoted themselves to attracting tourists.
 これまでユニークな観光列車で経験を積んできたJR九州にとって、ななつ星は集大成だ。同時に、アジアからの観光客誘致に取り組んできた個性ある地域を結んで、新たな価値を創造する使命も帯びる。

When beautiful jewels are strung together, they make an even more beautiful necklace. There are, without a doubt, many more clues to the challenge of creating such a desirable cycle.
 美しい宝石をつなげれば、より一層きれいなネックレスになる――。そんな好循環をつくる挑戦の糸口は、まだまだあるに違いない。

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