LSIS earning stripes as innovative company
By Kim Yoo-chul
LS Industrial Systems (LSIS), a leading provider of electric power and automation solutions, appears to be successfully exploiting the growing global market for green, low-power technology.
Much of the credit goes to chief executive Koo Ja-kyun, who has added pace and purpose to the company’s efforts to rebuild itself for the future.
Cities and companies across the world are beginning to benefit from the transition toward smart power grids, the modernized Web-enabled electricity networks that provide a high-tech way of monitoring supply and demand and coping with changing patterns of power activity, such as charging electric cars.
And LSIS has been among the enablers of these technologies, offering comprehensive products and services designed to improve energy efficiency for homes, buildings, villages and transportation.
General Motors has been a key customer, using the company’s recharger for electric vehicles. LSIS is also seeing increasing demand from governments and firms in the Middle East for its power distribution systems and stations.
This has helped elevate the firm’s global profile, evidenced by Thomson Reuters naming it among the world’s 100-most innovative companies last year.
Other Korean companies on the list included Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and Cheil Industries, which were ranked along with global industrial heavyweights like Apple, Boeing, IBM, Ericsson, Volvo and L’Oreal.
``This shows that our technology competitiveness is regarded as top-notch,’’ Koo said.
In recent years, LSIS has been stacking up patents in the area of smart grids, electric vehicles and other technologies aimed at improving energy efficiency.
Under Koo’s leadership, it has been using a larger proportion of its income on research and development (R&D) than other Korean technology companies and it is now beginning to reap the returns on ambitious investment.
It spent 80.3 billion won (about $70.7 million) on R&D in 2010, which accounted for 6 percent of its annual revenue and represented a significant increase from the 62.8 billion won it spent in 2009 and 39 billion won in 2006. It currently hires more than 840 research staff, about 100 more than the team Koo inherited when he was named CEO in 2008.
Last year, LSIS saw the number of its new patents registered in Korea increase by an annual 56 percent. Patents registered in foreign countries jumped by a whopping 183 percent.
``We believe growth will continue to come from our high-end solutions in electricity and green business,’’ said LSIS spokesman Kim Bong-kyu.
``In pushing a corporate motto of 3Ps (product, process and people), we plan to embrace 2012 as a springboard to further establish ourselves as a globalized company.’’
LSIS is aiming for 4.5 trillion won in sales and 700 billion won in operating profit by 2015 and the target reflects increases of 300 percent and 630 percent from last year, respectively.