Fujifilm is a live example of the business principle of not putting all your eggs in the same basket. The company diversified its business and has managed to stay a major business. So much so that it was a Fortune 500 company in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
We talk to Yasunobu Nishiyama, who is Managing Director, Fujifilm India about the company’s sustainable growth and the talent strategy that enabled it. He has had a longstanding association with Fujifilm which dates back to the year 1989. Prior to taking up the role in India, he worked in the same capacity in Fujifilm Malaysia from 2011 to 2014.
Yasunobu’s area of focus from a talent standpoint in India is the ‘Fujifilm Innovation Idea Proposal Program’, through which employees can make suggestions for fulfillment of organizational goals.
We hear the company’s bullish growth plans from the MD of the company and how has it still sustained despite constant disruption in the imaging solutions space.
The coming of digital cameras and other innovations must have hampered your product line of cameras and films. You had to innovate to keep pace with the market. How did you achieve that?
The digitization wave forced us to review our business portfolio fundamentally. Color films have been the flagship products of Fujifilm and have underpinned the company’s earnings for many years. The global demand for color films entered a rapid downward spiral, a 20% to 30% sharp drop – after having peaked in 2000. As a result, global demand for color film decreased to one-tenth of its market it used to have in just 10 years.
At this juncture, Fujifilm decided to take conclusive action undertaking structural reform of its imaging solutions segment, adopting new growth strategies and a well-diversified business portfolio. Besides photo imaging, we are also in the medical products, graphic arts, digital camera, recording media and industrial products space. In fact, medical products contribute the most to the company’s revenue.
Based on the experience at Fujifilm, what I can suggest for all businesses is to be modular in their business approach. Digital disruption is the biggest risk businesses face today, and they need to diversify their business lines to ensure sustainability. It were the efforts made in the diversification and expansion of Fujifilm’s business that propelled the organization to sustainably grow.
How has the growth curve been like at Fujifilm?
Last year we recorded sales revenue of over Rs. 9 billion, a 6 percent growth from previous year and we are planning to grow more than 20% in the next year.
Our plan in the next three years is to achieve more than 200 percent growth in India
How do you plan to achieve that? What role will your people play and how are you enabling them?
The most important asset for any organization is its people. And as we plan to strengthen our market in India, it becomes even more important for us to encourage people to share their ideas on how we can improve, innovate together and draw value from it.
In this context, we have introduced the ‘Fujifilm Way’ which is a practice followed by all Fujifilm group globally. It defines the ideal state that Fujifilm person should aim for (‘FF-Mind’) and the Fujifilm’s method of work (‘FF-Method’). We aim to identify high potentials and give them more responsibilities and opportunities to learn the Fujifilm Way. This has also helped us outperform our peers like Kodak.
What initiatives are you taking to engage, motivate and retain your talent?
Empowering talent is one way to engage them. At Fujifilm, we have started the ‘Fujifilm Innovation Idea Proposal Program’, through which employees can make suggestions for fulfillment of organizational goals. The program has helped the top management to take actionable decisions at the right time and place, alongside involving the people in the goal-setting and decision-making process and making them feel a part of the overall purpose of the organization.
The workforce can be retained by providing an aggressive work environment which stretches the capability of employees. This increases both their employability and the capability. We indulge in practices such as on the job training and job rotation to expand their horizon and enrich their business exposure.
What do you want from your People Resources function to achieve that growth?
We want our Human Resource to be agile and nimble footed and look at innovative ways to achieve business results. The Innovation Idea Proposal Program provides a repertoire of ideas to the business for implementation. HR function has embarked with the business on supporting the expansion as we intend to double our turnover in India by recruiting competent people who will be part of our journey going forward.