The Big Announcement: My Take on DENSO’s Second Founding
We’ve been hearing a lot of buzzwords, lately: paradigm shift, mobility, change. What does it all mean, and how does it apply to our jobs here at DENSO? Are they mere words, or are we really going to see their effect?
I had the honor of attending the New Year Ceremony event on January 9 to hear President Arima’s special message live. With all of the excitement of President Arima’s speech winding down, and we’ve all hopefully had time to digest it, I figured it was time to share my thoughts. (For those who have not heard Arima’s New Year message, check it out here! Or read DENSO’s long term plans here!)
It’s important that we get a discussion going about this, so please share your thoughts in the comments, below.
Here is my takeaway:
- It was awesome that our President came to visit us here in North America! Before this year, I wasn’t even aware that this type of event took place at DENSO. Rotating the New Year’s message to a different location every year is a much more inclusive, global approach. (This is a major proof point of DENSO starting to change!)
- The automotive industry is changing at an accelerating pace. (It’s not just changing, but the rate of change is picking up speed!) It’s a very good sign for DENSO’s future that our President recognizes this. We cannot assume that change will happen at the same ol’ pace, or we will get left behind. Companies like Blockbuster, Polaroid, and Borders were not able to adapt quickly – as a result, they failed to stay relevant. This is a potential reality that could happen to any company. (We cannot assume DENSO is immune to this.) I plan on discussing technological changes/progress in more detail in a future blog post, so stay tuned for that.
- One key take-away is that we must be ready to move faster. This is critical, because I’ve seen –firsthand– that our primary customer complaint is that we are too slow. (Usually while complementing our excellent quality, in the very next breath.) We, as a company – as one big 170,000+ person team – are now tasked with learning to move faster, while maintaining our quality. This is no easy task, but I know we’re up to it!
- The buzzwords I mentioned up top are not mere words. One example that President Arima gave was about a fully automated and electric vehicle (around 10 minutes and 20 seconds into the video of his speech). Is it developed by Amazon? Google? Some new high-tech start up? No; DENSO helped to make that dream come true! This proves that we’re not all talk. We are taking action! (That was my favorite part of President Arima’s talk!)
- Given that this is considered our “Second Founding”, I was expecting a very specific announcement. Like “We will be paring with Google and changing our company name to Den-Google!” (Not exactly that, of course!) I’m a bit relieved it was nothing that extreme, but I’ll admit: Part of me wanted some singular huge thing to stand out. I was left thinking: “OK, it’s great that we’re ready to move quickly as the industry changes…but what are the next steps?”
- As a GM resident engineer, I’m seeing and hearing first-hand GM strongly pushing the direction of autonomous vehicles, and electrification, as part of their Zero, Zero, Zero policy. This meshes well with DENSO’s future plans. It’s an encouraging sign to see that more big companies (like GM and us!) are aligning about the future. Internal Combustion Engines are not going to be completely gone for some time now…but the future truly is going to be autonomous and electric vehicles, which changes everything.
- I’m starting to see more and more indications that the “automotive industry” has become the “mobility industry”. This makes sense. It’s not just about personal vehicle ownership, anymore. Even in one of my links above, regarding DENSO’s long term plans: The word “automotive” is mentioned 3 times. The word “mobility” is used 5 times.
- It was a very lovely time meeting people from different regions at DENSO! Everyone seemed to have a great time, overall. Even an introvert like me had a good time, and I’m glad that I went. If you ever find yourself invited to a global event like this in future years, I recommend that you jump at the chance! You’ll find that you have a lot in common with people from other regions; we share a lot of the same challenges in our day to day life.
Agree or disagree with me? Or want to share your thoughts on the message? Please leave your comments, below!
Meet Dustin Mitchell, DENSO engineer and blogger. DENSO is committed to a culture where every associate’s diverse talents and strong passion enable us to contribute to a better world. What’s at your core? What are you passionate about? What drives and motivates you? We want to hear from you.