Field Trip Stop 2 -Suzuki Kogyo Co Ltd
As part of the APEC workshop, I had the chance to attend a presentation by Suzuki Shinya, the Senior Managing Director of the Suzuki Kogyo Co Ltd. He presented and provide an overview of the business continuity cycle.
On 3rd August 2011, we were guided to a half-day field trip to areas affected by Great East Japan Earthquake and the first stop after the centre of Sendai City is the Suzuki Kogyo. It is a industrial waste disposal facility.
We were told to have a casual dress code with comfortable walking shoes. Helmets, masks and gloves will be provided during the visit to the industrial waste disposal facility. Suzuki Kogyo’s main business focus on the recycling raw sewage and industrial waste. We were briefed by the Senior Managing Director on the factors affecting the possibility of a quick restoration.
Situation Immediately After Disaster
The immediate challenges faced by Suzuki Kogyo after the Tsunami was mainly the shortages of:
- Fuel such as heavy oil, gasoline, light oil and heating oil especially for emergency power generating, operations of emergency vehicles, operations of vehicles for officials.
- Specialized vehicles and the powering of heaters at refuge areas are hampered due to the lack of fuel.
- Communication Tools. There were insufficient communication tools due to the transmission failure of the fixed telephone lines and mobile telephones. Communication is needed for disaster management radio communications and satellite communications.
Lessons Learnt by Suzuki Kogyo Co.
What I have learnt from the both the presentation and the site visit are:
- It is essential that all company employees be trained during the normal period.
- The recovery of Suzuki Kogyo Co. was able to start immediately after the disaster as the company had contingency agreements with other manufacturers, local electricity companies, and construction companies. It is important to:
- Develop and build a good relationship with business partners.
- Identify and secure the necessary backup equipment that is needed during a disaster.
- Make early arrangement on sourcing and securing of portable generators. It had greatly help to supply electric power to radio, TVs, lightings and satellite telephone. This had help the organization to last till the larger generators are installed.
- Access to telecommunication assisted in communication with business partners and customers in the other areas.
- Access to transportation in an emergency.
The Suzuki Kogyo Spirit of Recovery
Finally, I admired the spirit of Nobonru Suzuki-san, the President of the Suzuki Kogyo in the last slide of the presentation at the APEC meeting: “Never Give Up! Believe in our Future”