By: Chris Travell
We are now more than a year removed from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan. Much has been written about the far reaching effects of that disaster and the effects continue.
In the April 2nd edition of Automotive News in the article “Electric shortages worry Japan” Hans Greimel warns of electricity shortages the country will face again this summer as the last of Japan’s nuclear reactors go off line and manufacturers attempt to gear up production to meet growing demand. The same thing happened last summer as the country took extreme measures to save power and keep the factories going.
I had occasion to experience that situation first hand. Last August I was in Japan for a series of meetings. It was an eye opener. The first night in the hotel, the ground shook – a common occurrence. The lights in the lobby of the automotive manufacturer where the meetings took place were off. It was very hot during the presentations with the temperature hovering around the mid 80s.
I should explain that I went to school there for awhile and it was an amazing life experience. A bunch of us would regularly go to Tokyo for the weekend to see the sites and sounds and on one trip, we went to Ginza. For those who have not been there, it’s rather like Japan’s version of Times Squares - lights, crowds, excitement – a great place to be on a Saturday night.
The cab trip to Ginza that night was full of anticipation. The car stopped and I got out and stood literally on the same spot where I had been 25 years before. However, unlike the excitement I previously experienced, Ginza was silent. The lights were out. There were very few people on the streets. It had the feeling of a wake. Bit of a shock, to say the least.
In reflecting on the experience later that night it struck me that the response to the earthquake as demonstrated by my Ginza experience was stereotypically Japanese. The country experienced this devastating natural disaster, as they have many times before, and so drastic measures needed to be taken to get through it. That’s just what is done. If the same situation occurred in North America, I’m not convinced the result would be the same. Can you envision the lights being turned off in Times Square?
In the best tradition of kaizen, lessons have been learned from what happened on March 11, 2011, and there is no doubt this process of improvement will continue and Japanese society, manufacturing, and its automotive industry will be better for it.
- April 20, 2012
- 0 Comments
- Tweet This
- Industry News, 2012 automotive industry, 2012 Canadian car market, 2012 US car market, automotive analysis, automotive industry, automotive marketing, Automotive News, car buying, car industry, chris travell, customer experience, customer satisfaction, ginza, hans greimel, japanese earthquake, japanese tsunami, maritz research