Sunday, April 17, 2011
Masahiko Horio owns a company in Japan that makes zinc and aluminum widgets that are used in building cars. His parts are used by the huge automakers like Toyota, Honda and General Motors. In the days after Japan's earthquake and tsunami, Masahiko Horio knew he had to get his factory back online quickly. One missing link can stop production lines around the world. He also worried that if his production slowed, then the auto manufactures would look to competitors outside of Japan as alternate sources for these parts. His company managed to avoid tsunami damage because of its location up on a hill, but the earthquake and power shortages stopped the factory’s machines for two weeks. Then Horio faced another problem. The firm that finished and tested his parts was wiped out by the tsunami. He couldn’t ship his supplies out without them going through this quality control. When Horio went to visit this firm, nothing but the frame of the building remained. So Horio offered his equipment and space at his own factory to this firm. This was a good solution to a terrible problem. It is one way that two businessmen may survive the economic disaster that much of Japan has suffered.