Satoshi Konagai: Transformation to Sustainability

By vira

Satoshi Konagai joined LIXIL in 2016 and became the Leader, LIXIL Water Technology APAC in February 2020. At the American Standard Trade Event held in Bangkok earlier this year, he shared some insightful information to Indonesia Design about the company’s transformation to a better and more sustainable future.

Satoshi Konagai

What are your accomplishments and what have you done differently in LIXIL?
Business transformation. When I came here, we were facing a very challenging situation, even before
the COVID-19 pandemic. Then I was appointed as CEO of LIXIL Water Technology Asia Pacific to transform the business to become more sustainable. First, we improved the integration of INAX, American Standard and Grohe. Second, the organisation structure wasn’t properly set. So, I spent a lot of time to strengthen
the foundation and fix the operation process from end to end. Third, the people. And now we are a very strong company in the market region.

It’s interesting how the job titles were changed from ‘manager’ or ‘director’ to just ‘leader’
Yes, it was a global decision. The benefit is we’ve become a more agile organisation because there is less hierarchy. Sometimes it confuses our clients in a meeting because everybody is the leader. When a team member looks more senior than me, they can’t tell who the CEO is. I need to tell them that I am the CEO.

Internally we have a grade system but it’s not publicly announced. This grade system leads to performance and compensation. So, I am not an engineer or an expert in engineering, but I am an expert in business transformation.

Satoshi with colleagues and invitees at the Gala Dinner of American Standard Trade Event in Bangkok

I think you’re doing very well. So is Antoine Besseyre des Horts, who is a part of your team
Yes, he leads our design team in Asia. One of the uniqueness of our company is that design is an important part of the strategy. That’s why Antoine and I always discuss, not only about product design but also about strategy.

The head of global design, Paul Flowers, is British and he is a core member of the LIXIL leadership team, which reinforces how the company values design.

Yes, because the future starts from design
Exactly. And maybe another point that I can highlight is sustainability. Our company puts sustainability as the centre of the strategy because we are a leading company of water technology solution. And water is a natural resource. So, we have a responsibility for water saving and energy saving solutions, which is linked to our social activities.

We are going to launch a new shower, which recycles water. Technically it’s possible, but we still have some concern about the emotional reaction from customers. For example, you may not want to take a shower after me [with the recycled water]. So, we need to make sure we communicate it right so the customers understand how it actually works.

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