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Professionalism, kizuna restored Renesas after quake

Posted: 04 Oct 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Japan Earthquake? Naka fab? manufacturing?

All companies have contingency plans, but no one could have anticipated a disaster on the scale of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan in March. As the world watched through the lens of the media, we at Renesas accounted for our loved ones, ensured the safety of friends and coworkers, and began to rebuild. Standing out among the heroes who emerged to restore Renesas were engineers.

Stripped of their computers and e-mail by widespread power outages, the engineers of Renesas' Naka facilities!and some of their counterparts from across the industry!took an open and collaborative approach to planning and problem-solving.

The teams gathered in big rooms and plastered the walls with giant sheets of paper that they used to track results for every project. They shared updates twice a day with the whole group. If a project was falling behind, the engineers identified the issues quickly and worked together to find solutions.

What's more, the teams celebrated each success, from the very small to the astounding, such as getting the factory restarted three months faster than anyone had thought possible.

Following the earthquake, we witnessed legions of engineers!some of whom had been driven out of their homes and out of the safety and routine of daily work!put the company, the industry and our collective future first. We had up to 2,500 people per day working at the Naka facilities alone, putting in shifts around the clock.

And their ranks included not just Renesas employees, but an extended family of engineers, temporarily released by customers, suppliers and even competitors to aid in the rebuilding effort at our company.

We all can learn from the example of these professionals, "mild-mannered engineers" by day, who worked across company boundaries to achieve something truly spectacular. And we can be inspired to follow in their footsteps.

With each success at the recovering Naka facilities, the positive momentum built, and our heroes' superpowers grew stronger. Every win was amplified and fed into the next success. That spirit helped Renesas regain its footing very quickly, and the pride and sense of accomplishment among the "engineering marvels" who wrought the transformation has been palpable.

There is a lesson to be learned from Renesas' recovery that could make the entire industry stronger and more resilient. All too often, our careers can seem routine, and we forget about the important difference our work makes in the world. It took a 9.0 magnitude earthquake to literally shake us out of our complacency. We were reminded of the power of engineering and the critical impact that the work of engineers has on our world every day.

For Renesas, the journey to recovery has been marked by community, professionalism and kizuna, or teamwork. But our story is just one of the many examples of the great sacrifices being made and mutual support being mustered across Japan as the recovery effort progresses.

Thanks to the brave team of engineers whose creativity, commitment and superhuman effort allowed Renesas to recover faster than expected!and to emerge in a stronger position than before.

- Ali Sebt
??Chief operating officer
??Renesas Electronics America

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