We need the intelligence to understand the whole picture of the big global events that are happening. I think that editorial comment, analysis and deep insight provided by the FT is quite helpful for our decision making process.Chief Executive Officer, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines
A Japanese company with a global presence
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) is one of the largest shipping companies in the world. From its origins in helping Japanese customers to import and export goods, the company has expanded its business globally and today supports the diverse needs of an international customer base across a wide range of fields.
Its shipping and transportation, as well as logistics and expanding social infrastructure operations now span Europe and North America as well as Asia, meaning that the firm’s management teams need to be much more in tune with developments, trends and key events globally than they needed to be when the company was formed over 130 year ago.
Through an FT Group Subscription, decision makers across MOL have instant access to commentary and analysis from over 700 FT journalists around the world. This provides the big picture view they need in order to understand the industry and regional dynamics that can impact key business lines, and refocus their strategy accordingly.
Understanding macro events
Takeshi Hashimoto is the chief executive officer of MOL and has long used the FT as an important source of business insight. “I used to read the paper in the morning, and would have the ‘pink pages’ on my commuting train”, explains Mr. Hashimoto. “However, nowadays news and information is all digitalised.”
The global reach and interconnected nature of MOL’s business means that it’s important for Mr. Hashimoto and his team to stay informed not just on news from the shipping industry, but also any macro developments more broadly that could impact the sector.
“On my smartphone I can now very quickly catch up with what is going on all over the world almost immediately,” he says. “We constantly need to think about our resource allocation, and which parts of the business we should concentrate on or expand. At the same time, if some parts are not quite productive enough, then we have to think about consolidation.”
Balancing the business portfolio requires a clear understanding of global events and the “total picture”. The FT’s vast network of journalists reporting from around the world frequently work cross-beat and across borders in order to make connections between events, sectors and regions for subscribers.
The FT almost always provides me with the quality of the information to be able to judge the situation.
For Mr. Hashimoto however, it's not enough just to know what is happening, but vital to also understand the potential implications and ultimate consequences. “In the case of the war in Ukraine, we want to understand what is the real target of Western countries, and the target of the Russians. What are the most likely outcomes?,” he asks. “The FT almost always provides me with the quality of the information to be able to judge the situation.”
Supporting company-wide decision making
While Mr. Hashimoto makes strategic decisions for the business on a daily basis, for MOL and any organisation with operations that span multiple jurisdictions, impactful decisions need to be made everywhere.
“In the past, we didn’t have to worry as much about global politics or the global economy,” Mr. Hashimoto explains. “Today the global supply chain is very complicated and it’s no longer enough to just read through the shipping and Japanese papers. We need to think about the whole picture of the global supply chain, where the potential disruptions are and what are the possible solutions.”
Thinking about the implications of global trends on the business isn’t something that should be reserved just for the chief executive and other board members. For Mr. Hashimoto, it’s important that managers and decision makers across the group are equipped with the right intelligence to inform their judgement.
“I encourage people to read not only shipping papers and Japanese newspapers, but the FT too,” he says. “To reach some conclusions about climate change, the war, the energy crisis, and what kind of solutions will be achieved is an important thing for us to think about for our business planning.”
“It’s not only the chief executive officer but there are many managers, general managers and section managers too,” he adds. “They also need to understand the prevailing global trends, and that is why I think that the FT is one of the best media sources for us.”
It’s not only the chief executive officer but there are many managers, general managers and section managers too. They also need to understand the prevailing global trends, and that is why I think that the FT is one of the best media sources for us.
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