UT Story [History of Challenges]

UT Story [History of Challenges]

「Create vigorous workplaces empowering workers」
UT Group’s 20 years of reform


「Supporting 」Japan’s monozukuri
(manufacturing with passion and pride)

In 1995, a company named Aim C.I.C. Company was founded. Its corporate name in Japanese included the English word "aim" to demonstrate its high aspirations and determination.
The founder, 24-year-old Yoichi Wakayama, while working in a major temporary staffing agency, was convinced that he could contribute to both people looking for a job and companies wanting people, and he felt an urge to start up his own company in this field. With a strong conviction that resource-limited Japan’s strength lies in its monozukuri, he started up a personnel dispatching and subcontracting company focused on the manufacturing industry.


Doubt about the industry’s norms

Back in 1995 when Wakayama’s start-up was created, corporate demand for "just in time" workers and subcontracting was rising. This enabled Nihon Aim (after a name in 1996) to increase the number of its clients. However, Wakayama found that the industry in general was outdated and lacked the perspective of thinking from the viewpoint of workers. In 1997, the third year, when Wakayama paid a sales call to a major electric machinery maker he was asked for advice. The maker had a problem: a low retention rate of dispatched workers and the resultant lower efficiency in production. Wakayama then proposed to train his own employees prior to sending them to the customer’s factory, and raise their pay based on their skill levels. Nihon Aim then became the first in its industry to adopt a skill-based wage system, and raised retention rate and production efficiency with the now highly motivated employees.
Nihon Aim was also the first in the industry to establish terms of employment such as "regular employment" with no limit to the period of employment and "social insurance for all employees. It had defied the industry norms.


「Introducing a unique business model of a」start-to-finish outsourced production service

Next, Nihon Aim addressed the matter of how to reform work.
A conventional individual dispatched worker would tend to not be motivated by a sense of fulfillment from working together with colleagues.
Thinking about workers’ growth gave the company the inspiration for a unique business model: satisfy outsource demand by supplying all the workers needed for an entire production process. With this model, Nihon Aim subcontracts for performance of an entire process and its leader (manager) and employees work as a single team. This model led to enhanced management efficiency of customers, resulting in a rise in the number of plants where entire processes are performed by workers from Nihon Aim.

Group of Aims

Group of Aims born out of threat to survival

In 2001, six years after the start-up, the IT recession hit the industry. Clients’ production cuts made it unavoidable for Nihon Aim to record a decrease in sales and profit for the first time. Wakayama faced difficulty in ensuring the survival of the company, and decided to inquire into what it was that lay behind the creation of the company. "What is Nihon Aim’s reason for existing?" Wakayama sent this question in e-mails to all employees. This prompted some like-minded employees to get together and establish the "Group of Aims" in April 2002. They discussed the question for more than a year and concluded that the innate function of Nihon Aim is to raise skills of employees and support clients’ monozukuri in a team. During the discussion, employees used words such as "vigorously" and "lively" many times. This concept has led to The UT Group’s basic philosophy of “Creates vigorous workplaces empowering workers."

No.1 in semiconductor manufacturing outsourcing

Entered the semiconductor industry and becameNo. 1 in semiconductor manufacturing subcontracting

After the company’s basic reason to exist was clearly identified, Wakayama’s new strategy surprised everyone around him. He decided to focus on and concentrate management resources in the semiconductor area, which requires high-level expertise, and is appropriate for subcontracting work in units of an entire process. Nihon Aim hired experienced personnel, established a human resources system and a training system, and strengthened the organization. Such bold shift in strategy worked well and Nihon Aim successfully obtained orders one after another from semiconductor manufacturers who were on a recovery phase, coming out of the recession. Thereafter, Nihon Aim was highly evaluated by many companies, on the basis of its enhanced system for employee training and compliance, and achieved the position of No. 1 in results* in the semiconductor manufacturing subcontracting industry.

* No. 1 in the manufacturing outsourcing industry in terms of a number of manufacturing outsourced and dispatched employees in the semiconductor-related industries (internal estimates based on various companies’ disclosures)

First listing in the industry

First listing in the industry and introduction of anemployee shareholding association

In 2003, Nihon Aim became the first company in the outsourcing industry to be listed in the JASDAQ market. Back then, the outsourcing industry was not highly regarded in society. Nevertheless, Nihon Aim was able to clear high hurdles for listing, thanks to its thorough compliance management such as strict management system for the outsourced workplaces, in addition to its "regular employment," "being specialized in the semiconductor area," and other characteristics.
At the time of listing, we launched the industry’s first employee shareholding plan. All of our employees who work at dispatched or outsourced workplaces are eligible to participate.

UT was born

UT Group was created and faced a turning point

After listing, Nihon Aim continued to generate strong operating results and expanded business, increasing the number of companies in its group at the same time. In April 2007, for promoting group-wide strategic management, United Technology Holdings Co., Ltd. (name was changed to UT Holdings Co. Ltd. in 2009) was founded as a holding company. The UT Group thereby made a fresh start.
However, in 2008 the UT Group faced another challenge, a global recession triggered by the Lehman Shock. The manufacturing sector, including the semiconductor industry in Japan, fell in a difficult situation with production dropping as much as by half. By taking various measures, the UT Group was able to emerge from this crisis but the global recession brought about a big turning point for the UT Group.

Japan’s No. 1 outsourcing provider

Aiming to become『Japan's No. 1 outsourcing provider』in quality and volume

Overcoming a crisis during the global recession, the UT Group started on another growth path and launched a new Medium-Term Business Plan in 2011. Its new vision was “From ‘No. 1 semiconductor outsourcing service provider’ to ‘Japan’s No. 1 outsourcing provider’ in quality and volume." Having achieved being No. 1 semiconductor outsourcing service provider, the UT Group next planned to utilize its accumulated achievement to enter new growth areas such as the environment protection and energy sectors and to contribute to creation of quality employment opportunities and career advancement opportunities.
UT Group will continue to make a story of growth and challenges with its workforce and friends.