Despite tsunami, Yokohama ready for next phase of ‘GD 100’ in 2012
Yasushi Tanaka, who took over as president and CEO of Yokohama Tire Corporation in July 2011, reports that parent company Yokohama Rubber is ready to commence the third phase of its ‘Grand Design 100’ plan this year, a plan he is credit as being co-architect and co-founder of. This penultimate phase is scheduled to be acted upon until 2015, when the fourth and final phase will come into effect and be carried out over a two-year period before concluding in time for the company’s centenary in 2017.
The company hasn’t spoken much about what the soon to begin third phase entails, however when commenting upon phase two Tanaka says Yokohama’s plans were slowed down by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, yet its focus remains fixed on the target. “Immediately after the earthquake, we couldn’t get some raw materials, which impacted our plant operation,” he explains. “Currently, the raw material supply problems are resolved, but there is still an electric supply shortage in Japan because the nuclear power plants have been shut down. Most Japanese companies, including Yokohama, are trying to reduce electricity consumption by reworking operation shifts. This is what I mean when I said earlier that our focus remains on quality growth. We are doing our best, despite challenges, to stay true to progress.”
Phase two of the Grand Design 100 plan centred on achieving what Yokohama calls “quality growth”. Tanaka comments that this involved two distinct components: “One part is dedicated to increasing sales, number of employees, plant expansion and worldwide company growth. The second part is quality growth, which focuses on efficiency and profitability.”
Tanaka opines that his new ward, Yokohama Tire, can achieve growth through increased efficiency. For this US-based operation, this means increasing supply and having better fill rates. Yet he notes that Yokohama needs to grow around the world to meet increasing demand; growth is already planned through production capacity expansion in Thailand, Russia, China and the Philippines. When asked if a new tyre plant is a possibility for Yokohama Tire’s territory, however, Tanaka answers tactfully that “we will consider every aspect, but at this point, building an additional factory in the US is only under study.”