Crisis Management: Fujitsu’s agile response in the wake of the tsunami
Yoshi Takashige, MBA ’93, vice president of Strategy and Partners Alliance at Fujitsu
A computer hardware and IT services company, Fujitsu is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Although seven of its manufacturing facilities in the region were damaged by the earthquake, the company quickly resumed operation in five of its seven semiconductor plants and diverted partial volumes to other facilities in Japan and China to alleviate pressure from the damaged equipment.
“As for a PC and PC server assembly facility, we quickly diverted a part of manufacturing to another facility in the west of Japan,” says Takashige. “We also directly communicated with tiered components suppliers whose facilities were in the region. This way, we focused on sustaining business continuity despite of imperfect conditions.”
After addressing the immediate issues affecting the company’s infrastructure, Fujitsu quickly turned to helping their customers. Unique in its down-to-earth devotion to customer service, the company quickly organized a spontaneous and effective response to the disaster by attending to the immediate needs of affected customers, according to Takashige.
In relief efforts, the company donated over 100 million yen to relief efforts, and Fujitsu employees also gathered individual donations. In addition, Fujitsu provided assistance by donating notebook PCs to 113 emergency shelters across Japan, in collaboration with Toshiba and NEC. Set up by NTT East telephone operating company, the computers were equipped with Internet access and were available for use free of charge. “This Internet connection helped people in the shelters access information about safety and whereabouts of their families and relatives [as well as] information on public transportation and social support programs,” says Takashige.
In the days following that catastrophe, Fujitsu also decided to provide three months of free Cloud computing services to customers in the disaster areas, as well as to local governments, companies, and non-profit organizations that need information and computing technology (ICT) resources to reach out to affected areas. “We thought that we should not only work hard on recovering the damaged ICT systems of our customers, but also provide instant access to various computing resources using the power of Cloud not only for people in Japan, but also outside of Japan,” says Takashige.
While Japan begins its long process of recovery, Takashige believes that there is some good that can come out of this disaster. “Although the situation is absolutely very sad, the crisis could also be an opportunity to unite people, recall who we are and what our core values are,” says Takashige. “It can also force us to think about why we need to change and what kind of society we should build from scratch.”
Takashige also says that ICT companies like Fujitsu will continue to play a significant role in the country’s recovery by helping people reconnect with fellow community members displaced by the events. “I believe ‘connectedness’ is a key for the community, building trust and better social capital, and ICT will also play some role there,” he says.
Takashige has been dealing with the disaster by trying to return to normal operations as much as possible, and recommends others do the same. “I believe that the important thing for recovery is to continue running the business as much as possible,” he says. And also, of course, “continue seeing to the safety of ourselves and [our] families.”
Maria Minsker '13 is an intern in Marketing and Communications at Johnson.