2019 Managing Director New Year Message

Let me begin by wishing everyone a happy, healthy and fruitful new year. A year ago, when I wrote the new year message, we had seen the shift in the market dynamics as a result of the climate change. Governments around the world are advocating for cleaner form of energy and some financial institutions have directed their funding towards sustainable alternatives and more efficient fossil fuel-based technologies. Along with the falling demand for fossil fueled energy projects, regulatory changes have led to delays in contract award and termination of potential projects. Changing perception and turning a slow market to our advantage will require a lot of hard work. While the pressure is on us to successfully navigate and change perception as the market evolves, we need to imbue a new mindset to secure jobs in changing markets. These would include innovating the ways to increase value for our existing customers and partners, exploring new businesses by embedding ourselves in new market trends to capture opportunities outside our traditional business.

Our success is also predicated by our ability to deliver projects without compromise on safety, quality and customer satisfaction. These should always be the outcome which drives us in the long run. Adopting such strategies will ensure JEL continues to be the best engineering and construction service provider of choice for our customers.

We will soon be turning 50 in 2021 and I am particularly proud with what our team has achieved. Many of you have been on this long journey together with the company. We have weathered business cycles, overcome insurmountable challenges and created the JEL story. Today, we have expanded out of Asia, into the Middle East and Africa. To project the transformation of the company, we embarked on a rebranding exercise last year to enhance our brand and image. Ideas have sprung up from the ground in the few brainstorming sessions, and through these efforts, we seek to build the group’s image and recognition.

Getting our foot into new markets has been no easy feat. We have made significant strides in venturing into the Middle East and Africa and have managed to increase our presence in Asia. We will also continue to actively forge strong partnerships to grow our customer base and expand our portfolio by pursuing viable renewable and industrial projects.

This year, we seek to continue the Management Policies for 2014 to 2018, which have produced visible results. In the subsequent Management Policies for 2019 to 2021, we will introduce various initiatives and focus on five key areas: 1) Re-grouping and Consolidation 2) Diversification of Engineering Skillsets 3) Streamlining of our Human Capital 4) Effective Marketing and 5) Environmental, Health and Safety Culture.

I urge everyone of you to observe our core values, work towards building a more cohesive and effective organization and achieve the various financial targets by 2021. As we continue to grow, there will be many opportunities for our people to grow together with the company. Make full use of these opportunities.

On the Management Policies for 2019 to 2021, we will focus on “Regrouping and Consolidation”, by transferring and sharing of resources, expertise and assets within our group of companies. This will enable us to keep to a lean, flexible and effective organization.

For “Diversification of Engineering Skillsets”, we will invest to build our capabilities as we strive to extend our scope of services, stay relevant amidst the political and market trends and transition into low carbon economies.

The third focus area is “Streamlining our Human Capital”. We want to encourage employees to learn new skills, take up more responsibilities and be unfazed in the face of challenges. As part of the digital transformation and resource development efforts, our employees now have greater access to upgrade themselves through online training platforms as well as training conducted by in-house and external trainers.

Our fourth focus area is “Effective Marketing”. In addition to strengthening our relationship with clients and partners, and rebranding efforts, we are also conscious about improving the environmental footprint in our operational activities. We will continue to support corporate social causes in the communities in which we operate.

Lastly, we are constantly reviewing our safety processes and practices to ensure that there are no lapses, and that the highest safety standards are upheld in every project that we execute. Recently, JEL’s 12 mandatory safety rules on work safety, which all our workers are required to comply was introduced.

In conclusion, it is important to recalibrate ourselves for the changing times and to move forward together as a team. When our core values and actions are in alignment, a thriving culture emerges. Challenges beset us, just as in life, and many times it is beyond our control. There are some days which are smoother than others and I believe we can continue to find motivation from the tenacity of the JEL team. Together, everyone achieves more!

Masao Akamatsu
Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer
January 2019

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