I would like to start by looking back at our performance and achievements in fiscal 2019, which ended in March 2020 and was the final year of our three-year SHINKA 2019 medium-term business plan.
The plan centered on strategies to keep our existing businesses competitive while securing revenue and profit, enabling higher profits by lowering manufacturing costs, service costs , and SG&A , and continuing to invest in new businesses to advance our business and portfolio transformation. At the same time, the plan was geared to attaining our performance targets of ¥75 billion in operating profit and ¥50 billion in profit attributable to owners of the company.
The performance targets appeared eminently attainable at the close of the plan’s second year. In fiscal 2018, the core Office Business was posting better-than-expected revenue and profits even in a market that was not growing with A3 MFP unit sales were at a record high, and the Professional Print Business was generating growing revenue and profits driven by our unique ability to provide value by applying our technology to measuring instruments. Our measuring instruments business unit succinctly captured smartphone demand, and our performance materials business unit attracted demand with new films, and the Industrial Business reached the medium-term business target thanks to its efforts in the previous year.
The strong performances of our existing businesses supported continuing investment in new businesses, which posted growing revenue. A prime example was the newly acquired Bio-Healthcare Business, where we completely reformatted business model and were generating growing business. Our robust performance enabled us to raise ROE to our target of 9.5% even while continuing to heavily invest in new businesses.
Despite this strong momentum, the business conditions and our performance changed drastically in the plan’s final year of fiscal 2019. The year started with our Board of Directors looking at the business outlooks for economic slowing in Europe and the United States and becoming resigned to the year’s performance leaving us short of the targets that had been set in 2017 . The business momentum we had built up crumbled in the first and second quarters due mainly to our own internal issues.
The Office Business was relying mainly on switching to new product lines to meet its targets for the year but had difficulties at the start of mass production. The difficulties created a negative spiral with the delay ramping up production and undermining our efforts to reduce costs while preventing the new products from contributing to revenue in the first two quarters. As the chairman of the Board, with the approval of the president, I spoke individually with directors about the challenges being faced by the Office Business and other businesses that were heading for target shortfalls. I then incorporated the issues they raised into the recommendations I presented to the president to consider in his plans to get the Company back on track.
In the third quarter, we regained our quarterly momentum for earnings and were confident that we would be back at full speed in the fourth quarter. But the COVID-19 outbreak started affecting business in China and then around the world. As a company with a large ratio of overseas revenue and that generally accumulates a large part of its earnings at the end of the fiscal year, the pandemic was a devastating blow that left us far short of our forecasts for the fiscal year.
Resolving the internal issues that caused the underperformance is a top priority area of the next medium-term management plan. The Board of Directors has responded by setting specific corrective measures in the areas of business strategy and personnel as well for the organizational structure and management.
Our outside directors had advised us to level out the overweighted earnings at the end of the fiscal year. The year’s results made it abundantly clear that the strong focus on year-end earnings creates huge risk of earnings shortfall, and our executive managers, under the close watch of the Board of Directors, are now fully engaged in rectifying the imbalance.
The SHINKA 2019 plan set a goal for the five years to fiscal 2021 to make ourselves “a company creating new value for the evolution of business society and human society.” All of our activities and initiatives in the past three years have been focusing on fulfilling that objective. Two key initiatives in that direction are our efforts to identify issues at client companies and create solutions with them, and to mobilize the entire group as One Konica Minolta to support transformation at our customer companies catered to their specific industry and business. Anticipating potential issues at our clients has become a major theme in all of our business divisions and our new businesses as well. However, I still feel we need to do more to embody One Konica Minolta because I do not think we have done enough in the past three years with that specific goal in mind. We therefore had the executive team formulating the next medium-term plan outline specific actions for each business. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it very clear what type of digital transformation our client companies want in each industry and business. I believe our concrete plan and our clear understanding of what our clients want will enable us to achieve a business performance that is very near our targets.
ESG practices are essential to realizing our management vision to be a global company that is vital to society. In addition to being a fundamental part of our management activities, SHINKA 2019 calls for strengthening ESG to bolster our corporate value in the medium and long terms. Our executive team identified six items of materiality that we consider priority issues for the Company from the perspectives of social and economic value. The effort we have taken to incorporate addressing these issues into our management activities continues to receive international recognition in ESG management assessments. The Board of Directors is deeply invested in the ESG initiatives and actively monitors the status and provides guidance.
The Board of Directors discussed the long-term management vision extensively before adopting it as a basic management policy in April of this year. In framing our vision, we understood that we had to start by redefining our purpose—our reason for existing—and describing a clear picture of what we want the Company to be in 10 years. The Board of Directors also felt the best course for creating a vision that all employees could get behind would be to incorporate input from the younger employees that will embody our future. The board’s discussions about the vision reinforced our sense that it fulfills our belief that a company evolve together with society. My advice during the discussions was to remember our DNA, which has always served us well when we had to overcome major changes and turn them into opportunities for great leaps forward.
Although we have been making progress with the medium-term management plan set to launch in the fiscal year ending in March 2021, due to the dramatic change in the business landscape with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have pivoted to focusing on executing strategies that will strengthen our medium-term management in the changed landscape. We originally were planning to prepare for full-fledged paperless operations by condensing development of digital transformation (DX) solutions centered on our Workplace Hub product into three years, but because of the pandemic, we believe we need to establish the business model even quicker.
The Workplace Hub business unit did not contribute as much as the Board of Directors were expecting under SHINKA 2019. The primary reason was the delayed development of the fundamental software, but the software is now ready for full-fledged sales. Showing investors tangible progress in the business contribution from digital solutions is a primary focus for the Board of Directors this year because it is essential to reestablishing our stature as an investment target.