Leader Interview: Tatsuo Enami

Director Senior Executive Officer
Tatsuo Enami

Since being appointed as the director in June 2017, Dr. Enami has been the head of the corporate planning department with the responsibility of production, sales, customer support and the Singapore business. He also manages the Gigaphoton business and has been exploring the future of Gigaphoton continuously. We extensively interviewed Dr. Enami on the semiconductor industry, how an organization should be, and his dreams.

―Dr. Enami, you have a long experience as the head of the sales department. Did your perspective change after becoming the director and head of the corporate planning department?

Yes, I think it changed. Earlier, my biggest concern was the expansion of the current business. I had focused on how to sell lasers and how to expand the maintenance business associated with it. I used to think that we have to make all possible efforts to bring sales and profit for the company, and this has not changed even now, but after becoming the director, I have started thinking 'How to make this sustainable?'. Now, while focusing on the development of conventional lithography light sources and "expansion" of the sales business, we are also thinking about "growth" based on the development and sales of new products that are different from current products. I once again realized that safety and compliance should be our top priority to achieve this goal. The expansion and growth of an organization can only be achieved with a solid foundation, and even if a great product was developed, it may be short-lived with one mistake. I realized that this is the most important factor if Gigaphoton has to progress further.

―What do you think is the future of the semiconductor industry? Also, what are your suggestions to realize that future?

Since 2000, electronic devices such as PCs and mobile phones have been the driving force behind semiconductors, and it had been considered that the semiconductor business would reach its peak once the market for such devices is saturated. However, with the advent of concepts like IoT, the semiconductor business has recently started to grow. In IoT, semiconductors are used as sensors rather than as large electronic devices such as smartphones and PCs. The concept is to use sensors in all objects that exist in this world. In other words, applications that are entirely different from the large electronic devices, have emerged. ICT (Information and Communication Technology) has further accelerated and the application scope has expanded infinitely.
― What do you think about EUV* that is under development?

As there are no light sources with a shorter wavelength than EUV, it is a matter of time before EUV will become the standard light source. However, Gigaphoton has not decided on the timing to start EUV as a business. In any case, since we must contribute to the semiconductor industry through EUV, we will continue to focus on the development without giving up.

―How do you think Gigaphoton will progress in the future?

There are two things that Gigaphoton can do. First is to strengthen the existing business of lithography light sources. We have formulated a specific roadmap that includes innovation through hybridization of the gas laser and solid-state laser, enhancing user support through data products and realization of EUV.
The second is to utilize our excimer laser technology, which is Gigaphoton’s core competence in other fields. Starting with the development of light sources for annealing and small diameter processing, we have a long-term plan to develop an in-house system.

―What do you think is essential for the company to make further progress in the future?

I would like to seek diversification. I want our company to become a group with people from various countries, whose thinking processes are different. So far, we had only Japanese people and were 'happy with the status quo', but now, nearly 90% of our customers are from overseas. In that sense, I would like to strengthen our product development and business by incorporating the opinions of people from other countries. Since the product has been globalized and can be used anywhere in the world, what Japanese people think holds good to a certain extent. However, in the case of support, it is a little different. This is because what customers expect differs depending on the country, such as whether the importance is given to "operation ratio" or "performance". In that sense, ONE GIGAPHOTON system that started several years back, where field service engineers (FSE) of each country visits other countries, is excellent, as the FSE can experience in person what customers look for depending on the country. I think that in the future, the key will be support and development in anticipation of not only the differences in the workplace but also legal differences, etc.

― Please tell us your thoughts on legal compliance and internal control, etc., as a director in charge of compliance.

In the last couple of years, compliance cases, which include internal reporting have increased throughout the Gigaphoton Group. Although this is partly due to the increase in the number of employees, I take a positive view that this is because of the increased awareness about compliance among the employees. However, if a person who has been nurtured through years of training and experience, resigns due to problems with compliance, then the company will lose a significant asset, which is very unfortunate. Therefore, the essential point is to ensure that compliance problems do not occur, for which it is necessary to have methods and mechanisms in place. I think that education is the important key to be able to keep up. We are conducting compliance workshops and plan to promote them in the future as well.

― Finally, please tell us about your future dreams.

Regarding work, as I have mentioned so far, my dream is to achieve stable growth of the company. This is because I want Gigaphoton to grow up to be a company that will be around for 50 to 100 years.
I want to continue my studies in business administration, which I have been studying for many years, and publish a few papers. In our business field of lithography equipment, we have manufactured the most precise device ever made in the world, and it is said that there is no other better device. As a person involved with the device, I want to leave the legacy of this device and matters that decide the outcome of business in proper order. In my personal life, my hobbies include appreciation of paintings, and I hope to restart revisiting overseas art galleries. Earlier I used to visit them often, but now I do not have much time. I would especially like to visit the Hermitage Museum in Russia as I have never been there.

*EUV)A lithography technology that uses the extremely short wavelength of 13.5 nm referred to as Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV), and in using such an EUV light source, finer-scale processing becomes possible.