NEW YORK –Most of us following Japan’s Renesas Electronics from afar, after the company’s fab got severely hit by the devastating earthquake in March, have done so largely by sifting through the careful and cryptic announcements issued by the company. At times, it felt as though the task came down to our ability to read tea leaves.
Finally, for the first time since the Great Earthquake, Renesas this week released photos of the actual damage at its Naka fab. The company is now also sharing a video clip on YouTube. The video features the faces and voices of the real people working at Renesas, who describe with simple eloquence their trials – in their own words. No teleprompter, no cue cards.
I could have easily posed as a jaded reporter, dismissing the video clip as a Renesas publicity stunt. But this felt different. As soon as I watched the video, I knew I’d just seen something exceptional.
In all the months of coverage on the March earthquake, this video offers outsiders the rare chance to actually meet “real employees” in the disaster zone and to hear them talk about their struggle to get the company – and their livelihood – back on its feet.
As every reporter knows all too well, such access to real employees in any corporate environment is usually tightly controlled by corporations.
Indeed, even in this case, access is still pretty well controlled by Renesas, as it comes in the form of a corporate video. But call me a softy. I sensed snippets of genuine effort – on the part of the people of Renesas – to candidly share their story with the rest of the world, because rebuilding Renesas, after the quake, literally took a village, or more accurately, the whole industry.
After seeing the video, I grabbed the phone, asked for an interview with Dan Mahoney, president and CEO, Renesas Electronics America.
I needed to know more.
Mahoney who joined Hitachi in 1992 has been with the Japanese company for a long time. A true veteran in this industry, he described the extraordinary recovery efforts at Renesas “the finest hour” of his entire corporate life.
And I don’t think he was exaggerating.
“The biggest surprise and the most gratifying thing for me was the groundswell of support Renesas received from its own employees, customers, suppliers, contractors and even competitors.” He added, “It was clear to me that those people at Renesas were determined not to let this earthquake stop us from succeeding.”
Two main points i felt after reading this is
1. Strong minded to rebuild the whole place with the understanding that again this disaster wont happen there
2.People's Team work and attachment to their work place
Junko it is gratifying to see bright lights in the aftermath of the earthquake. The world in general seems to have moved on from paying attention to Japan post quake and I was wondering just how are the businesses doing overall in terms of people (loss of talent and difficulties getting back to work due to family issues), plants, and infrastructure?
Thanks Junko for wonderful article and informative video. Its indeed nice to see re-naissance of Renesas factory in such short time and high collaborative efforts (even competitors). Also whats interesting to note is, how sensitive the billions-$ semiconductor Fabs/their equipment are/can be to earthquakes.
Hi, MP. I think that's the plan. Globalsources and TSMC are also definitely in the play. But we should dig deeper how this "redundancy" in their manufacturing plans is affecting their business. By the way, I think this is not just about Renesas, but about every chip vendor in Japan.
Thank you Yoshida-san!
Great article and thank you for the link to the video as well. I was looking to find the original Japanese version of the video (without the dubbing), but haven't been able to. If you know where I can find the link, I would be extremely grateful.
Tom Salmon, SEMI
@Junko: thank you for the report. It is great to know that ecosystem partners and even competitors helped in the recovery. I am pleasantly surprised by their fast recovery in half the time forecast.
It would be nice to know if Renesas intends to mitigate its risk by diversifying its manufacturing base to different global locations.