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Efforts I continued towards my dream opened the door to working overseas

General Manager, Furukawa Thailand

Sachiko Horiuchi

I entered a company I had admired since I was a child.

From the outset, I wanted to work at a company about materials, rather than a finished goods manufacturer. When I was working for a French materials manufacturer, I found out that Furukawa Electric, which I had admired since I was a child, was recruiting people mid-career. That was a position that might fit me, I thought. I figured I was not going to lose anything even if I was not hired and if I let this chance pass, I would never get to work at Furukawa Electric so I applied, as fate got an offer, and entered the company in 2019.

After joining the company, I was involved in the implementation of a new management process as the IT Project Manager in the establishment of a new company. There was a back up request of the project to the department I had joined and it was good luck that this was a job where the experience and knowledge I had accumulated to that point could be put to use.

I learned various things working at foreign companies.

In my previous career, I worked at two contrasting foreign companies. The first was an American oil major and my strong pursuit of an academic approach, result-oriented and an output-efficiency work style was influenced by these days. My most memorable assignment there was managing the company’s Asia-Pacific Tax Division on an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP, a system linking accounting, purchasing, inventory management, sales arrangements, etc.), as the project lead. Everybody transfers eventually, of course, but I worked on that job thinking that if that was to be the case, I wanted to transfer after orient some results. I am also using the experience of that time in a regional headquarter project in Thailand, which is my assignment at the moment.

The second company was a French materials manufacturer where I worked as an IT Project Manager introducing an ERP to two business divisions, and after that supervised the back office (note 1) of two business divisions as the business controller. With a corporate culture that accepted some risk and emphasized being agile and innovative, we move the business forward boldly, and taking on challenges was enhanced. I became strongly aware of the scope of responsibilities and authorities around this time, while the sense of agile and being decisive, which would have been impossible at the perfectionist American oil major, were enjoyable so it was a truly eye-opening experience.

(Note 1) A division responsible for things like administrative and management work such as Human Resources, Accounting, General Affairs or Internal Control Division, and which supports the front office that handles customers directly.

I am particular about expertise and philosophy in doing my job.

Expertise covers a wide range of things, from the building of rational theories to actual operations. Once you have this, you become able to come up with the techniques to resolve problems and select the best option among them. Also, when you have to say “No”, expertise supports you with certainty. Accumulated knowledge is also important but keeping studying is critical because academic knowledge also evolves with the times. You can probably only understand the trend by studying continuously. Another thing I value is so-called philosophy, questions like what the business should be like or how do I want to move forward to the business. For example, an emphasis on corporate governance, simple ethics or efficiency, and so on. When I am about to lose the way, I make my final decision following the philosophy.

At Furukawa Electric, specialists are respected as well, not only generalists, and it is realistically possible to develop a career as a specialist. Japanese companies often prefer generalists so much, so I checked persistently before entering the company whether it was possible to build a career as a specialist and it was actually like that.

It was decided I would work on a long sought after overseas posting, which I had not even expected.

Coming up to one year after joining the company, it was decided that I would be relocated to Bangkok, Thailand as an expat. I had always wanted to work overseas until then, but I never thought that my dream would come true so quickly and I did not expect to be working overseas as an expat (as an employee in foreign companies, you cannot be an expat without being hired in their home country based, so in my case, I thought even if I did work overseas, it would be along the lines of a division transfer or a project manager). When I have sounded out the assignment, I did not answer immediately that I would accept the offer, but I said clearly that “I had hoped for this strongly always” and that “I definitely wish to work overseas during my career so I think I would regret it for the rest of my life if I say no.” This position is similar to the business controller position I had assigned in the previous company, but my supervisor is Japanese, the company is Japanese and I work at an overseas branch so the environment is totally opposite, with the foreign and domestic reversed. As an expat, I conduct bridging activity between Head Quarter and the overseas branch. Implementing new things that are supposed to be here as the regional headquarter in Thailand is very exciting.

How far you go, there is no end, but I want to pursue perfection and precision.

Making new things that are supposed to be here is one of the missions of my regional headquarter current position, and I am often wondering by the gap between the pursuit of perfection and precision, and the emphasis on speed. In reality, I often pursue precision, thinking that I want to make things that are simple and can be used easily into the distant future, and things that I put my whole heart and soul into. It consumes a significant time to finish things up simply, and whether it is product selection or how to think, the power of each individual material is very important. How far you go, there is no end and I’m often absorbed so much and forgetting all about the time. However, there are responsibilities and authorities in my hand because of that, and I feel very grateful to be able to move the business forward just as I thought. Besides work, I go skin-diving (free diving without a tank) and swim in the pool at home. I am continuing to make efforts and try new things, such as taking on the challenge of a marathon, and I feel a great sense of fulfillment in my life.

Profile

2000
  • Joined an American oil major. Used knowledge of statistics cultivated during university and supervised Asia-Pacific Tax Division on a core system upgrade project.
2019
  • After working at a French materials manufacturer, joined Furukawa Electric as a mid-career hiring.
  • After joining the company, was involved in the introduction of a new accounting process as the IT Project Manager in the establishment of a new company.
2020
  • Posted to Bangkok, Thailand as expat. Currently promoting the implementation of new business processes as the Thailand regional headquarter.

General Manager, Furukawa Thailand
Sachiko Horiuchi