In early September, I went on my first business trip to India in four years.
I met with the presidents of several car manufacturers, who are our customers, and told them that our group would like to continue to contribute to the Indian market and work together with them.
We also exchanged opinions on the progress of EVs and other issues.
Learning from a Customer's Factory Improvement Case Study
One of the most memorable stories I heard from one of our customers was how he revived his Indian plant, which had become a "defective plant" (according to him), in the harsh environment of the Corona pandemic.
The factory was thoroughly cleaned to the point that there was not a speck of dust, and a presentation area was set up next to the production line for visitors.
By making the manufacturing process visible to visitors, the workers were able to feel a sense of tension and responsibility, while feeling happy that they were being watched properly.
In the past, the plant's employees avoided eye contact with visitors, but this time they greeted them with a twinkle in their eyes.
The company canteen has also been remodeled so that outside guests can be invited, and the taste was also improved by hiring a professional cook.
The prices of the meals are more expensive than other company cafeterias, but they are so popular that even employees have to make reservations to get in, and the cafeteria is full every day.
This also led to an increase in loyalty to the company and a change in awareness.
They said that although it cost them a certain amount of money, the result was an improvement that exceeded their expectations.
As a manager, I learned a lot from his boldness and decisiveness, such as being aggressive and implementing Kaizen even under big changes due to the Corona pandemic, progress of CASA, etc.
Our Bases in India
Our company has three bases in India (TIR, TIH, and TRIN).
At one of these companies, a shareholders' general meeting was held for the change of president, and I attended the meeting.
The president of this company worked hard in India for a long period of time, for almost 10 years after the company was established.
The company had been in the red for a number of difficult years, but recently it has returned to the black.
At the shareholders' general meeting, the local employees listened to the president's last speech with serious eyes.
After the general meeting, a farewell party was held at his home, which I attended with the local partners.
He is very trusted by the local partners, and there was a scene where I was asked by them, as follows;
"The transfer is inevitable, but when is he coming back to India next time?”
Our group has over 80 group companies in more than 20 countries globally.
Unfortunately, I have never been stationed overseas, so I may not be able to truly understand the feelings of our expatriates.
I find it frustrating that I can only see them face to face on business trips and labor with them.
It is very difficult for the local base chief and all expatriates to integrate into the local community by learning about the actual situation and culture of the country.
I believe that by continuing this extraordinary effort, they have been able to gain the trust of the local people.
In addition to this, extra energy must have been necessary for them to live in an unfamiliar overseas environment and to focus on their regular duties.
Thanks to your great efforts, we could expand our business to many such foreign countries and establish the foundation to enable us to make great strides in the future. I was so much reminded of these facts.