The whole nation is saddened and put in deep grief by the sinking of the Sewol ferry. I send my most sincere condolences to victims and their families. I truly wish that we all learn a lesson from this tragedy to enhance safety awareness and bring changes to be able to take a quick and effective response in case of national crisis.
Many are being blamed for this tragedy, but above all, the biggest problem was that none of the crew were prepared to deal with an emergency situation because they had never been trained for such a scenario.
Frustration grew when compared with the crash-landed aircraft at San Francisco Airport in July 2013. In such a tense situation, flight attendants did not panic, but kept their head right and evacuated passengers. Although three people died in this unfortunate accident, professionalism and emergency response skills of flight attendants prevented further loss of lives.
It is said that prospective flight attendants must attend a rigorous safety training program. They are allowed to board an airplane only when they are trained to deal with potential emergency situations in an adequate manner and pass the program. Though all crewmen are required to do the same, the Sewol ferry did not properly train their crew. In my opinion, it is their attitude towards dealing with emergency situations that caused two such opposite outcomes.
There are many risk factors in business environment. Without thorough preparation based on crisis consciousness, we will not be able to deal with a crisis when it is brought upon us. Looking into the present global economic climate, recovery is underway in the world’s advanced economies, but further reduction of quantitative easing in the United States, slowdown of economic growth and poor financial market conditions in China are predicted to bring risks.
Above all, it should be noted that the competition is growing more intense. Japan’s policy of keeping Yen weak is now driving a drop in selling prices in overseas markets, whereas fast-growing latecomers like China are right behind us in terms of product quality. We are literally sandwiched between two.
Likewise, we are facing difficulties outside. Even inside, our on-going businesses are slowing down due to poor performance in finding new markets and customers and new businesses sometimes do not get on the track as planned because we could not gain technological competence required. If these continue to happen, we will lose competition in the market.
I’m worried how well our employees aware of the crisis, and make adequate preparations. We need to put our heads together, face up to the reality and thus, wisely overcome the crisis.
Not long ago, executives made a resolution to take the initiative, starting work earlier and enhance management-by-walking-around. Moreover, they agreed to reduce costs and waste elements by at least 10%. These changes are small, but desirable in a sense those show the strong will to overcome the crisis. While staying aware of the crisis likewise, we will perform our duty with thoroughness and put more effort to solve problems through management-by-walking-around.
I’d like to ask each and every Hyosung members to model after them and share the view that we all are faced with challenging situation. So that, each member carry out the given duty to the fullest in order to overcome the crisis and help achieve sustained growth into a bigger, better company.
There is an idiom ‘Buwijeonggyeong(扶危定傾)’, which means ‘redress wrongs and straighten up the mess in the face of crisis’. With adequate, well-prepared response, we can turn crisis into opportunity. We may worry about crisis, but must not run away from or circumvent it. I expect you all, as a proud member of Hyosung, to develop your abilities with a sense of responsibility and stand against crisis.