Posted : 2013-08-11 11:50
Updated : 2013-08-11 11:50

'Public enterprises must shed conservative culture'

Turkish government officials check various identification cards displayed at the headquarters of Korea Minting, Security Printing & ID Card Operating Corp. (KOMSCO) in Daejeon, on March 27, 2013. / Courtesy of KOMSCO

By Lee Hyo-sik

State-run enterprises tend to maintain the status quo and resist change because of its bureaucratic governance structure and lack of accountability. Many do not have to fiercely compete with other state enterprises or with private players because their operation is largely financed by taxpayers' money.

However, such enterprises have to shed this outdated mindset in order to survive in the rapidly-changing 21st century business environment, said Yoon Young-dae, CEO of Korea Minting, Security Printing & ID Card Operating Corp. (KOMSCO), the state-run corporation that prints and mints banknotes, coins and other government documents.

"Public companies here do not like change. However, they have reached the point where the old ways of doing business don't work anymore amid the rapid globalization," Yoon said. "Since I was appointed to head KOMSCO in 2011, I have been challenging its 1,400 employees in a company-wide campaign to become a global leader in what we do."

KOMSCO's domestic business of printing banknotes and coins has shrunken over the past several years amid the declining use of bills.

Most Koreans these days settle payments with credit or debit cards. They make large-sum payments through online banking using PCs or smartphones, making it unnecessary for people to carry paper money.

Yoon Young-dae, center in front row, CEO of Korea Minting, Security Printing & ID Card Operating Corp., and other employees are on their way to donate instant noodles, rice and other daily necessities to the underprivileged in Daejeon, on April 24, 2012.

"In light of our shrinking domestic business, we have turned to overseas markets to find new growth engines. I think we have done a pretty good job so far. However, we have to make more efforts to become a global leader if we want to generate 1 trillion won ($833 million) in revenue by 2021," the CEO said.

To achieve such an ambitious goal, Yoon outlined "3Cs," representing KOMSCO's management philosophy: challenge, change and creative innovation.

"We cannot remain as a public firm focusing only on the domestic market. We have to challenge ourselves to acheive greater goals," he said. "I think our future lies in foreign markets. So, we have to push ourselves to become an organization with an extensive global operation."

KOMSCO has to change its structure to boost productivity and efficiency, Yoon said, adding that these changes are only possible through creative innovation.

He then outlined four management action plans dubbed "4Ns," to turn KOMSCO into a future-oriented and innovative organization. The 4 Ns are new engine, new markets, new technologies and new system.

"We have to find a new engine and advance into new markets to become a global enterprise," Yoon said. "To get ahead of our competitors, we have to develop new technologies. We have to introduce a new system to more efficiently produce and market our products, as well as manage human resources (HR)."

He said he has introduced a performance-based HR management system. "Public enterprises are used to a seniority-based compensation system. Such outdated practice has to end. Workers should be compensated and promoted based on their performance, not on seniority."

Active CSR activities

KOMSCO operates a company-wide volunteer group that enables all employees take part in a variety of community service activities all-year-round.

In February, KOMSCO distributed instant food and other daily necessities to ethnic Koreans residing in Yangiyul City, Uzbekistan, where it has been operating a pulp factory since 2010. Early this month, the company also provided schools there with soccer balls and class supplies.

At home, the state-run mint has provided technical advice and other support to small companies in the minting industry.

KOMSCO employees carry out community services every second Saturday of each month to help senior citizens living alone and other underprivileged people in Daejeon, Buyeo and Gyeongsan.

The company also organizes a tour for students at its headquarters and two plants to educate them about how bills and coins are manufactured, and how to distinguish counterfeits.

To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean armistice agreement, which fell on July 27, KOMSCO issued commemorative medals for five nations that dispatched large military forces to help South Korea fend off invasion from the North. These countries are the United States, Britain, Canada, Turkey and Australia.

The U.S. medal features the statue of the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, pigeons as a sign of peace and the Korean Peninsula. In the tail, the medal also features an engraving of the 60th anniversary of the Korean armistice agreement and passages from the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

Meanwhile, the British medal features English royal guards, pigeons and the Korean Peninsula. In the tail, it shows an engraving of the 60th anniversary of the Korean armistice agreement and the phrase — "For Peace & Liberty" — with the Union Jack.

The medals are made of nickel and manufactured in a circular form that is 40 millimeters in diameter and weighs 30 grams. They are priced at 30,000 won each.

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