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Entries in Japan (6)


Learning From the Post Earthquake Resiliency of Japanese Companies 

Some of the larger businesses that were impacted by the recent Japanese earthquake were able to overcome the disaster and recover remarkably quickly.

How did some companies recover so fast? By being both prepared and working with resources outside of their companies, such as vendors and building the redundancy into the manufacturing and supply chain processes.

In a recent article written by Michael Koploy titled The Post-Tsunami Supply Chain All-Stars | Who Recovered the Fastest and How? he details how some of these companies overcame the worst earthquake in Japanese history.

Check out his article to glean more insight in what these companies did differently and learn what you should be doing at your business.




Toyota Announces They Will Shut Down North American Factories

Facing a parts shortage due to last month’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Toyota announced earlier today that they will likely shut North American factories.

The shutdown is said to be temporary, but also unknown is for how long the shutdown will last, and will affect about 25,000 workers here in the United States. All of which depends on how quickly the Japanese auto parts makers can get back to business.

Honda Motor Co. and Subaru of America also stated they would slow U.S. production to conserve parts as well.

Production of certain parts are not expected to resume for at least 30 days in a company memo to dealers and added, "Both the number of affected parts and length of production stoppage may increase."

The disaster in Japan, although exceptional in scope and size is an example how vulnerable our supply chains are. In our globalized world, everything is tied together and companies MUST do a better job at redistributing the risk of their supply chains, and it needs to happen quickly.

Large scale regional natural disasters are also tied to the globalized economy and this one will likely impact the overall recovery of the American economy which will further impacting the global economy yet again.  

Ironically, in the January copy of Reinsurance Magazine the article – World Cannot Take Another Crisis Global Leaders Warned and it points to the need to “solve future global risks before they become crises” and that “Twentieth century systems are failing to manage 21st century risks.” More can and should be done to manage our risks.


Calls for More Business Continuity Planning After Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 

Whenever a major disaster occurs, calls for better planning usually follow as we are now seeing after the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. And, what so often happens, one disaster gives way to or creates another as with the nuclear plant issues following the natural disaster. 

There is a lot we can learn from Japan as one of the best prepared nations in the world when it comes to preparedness and planning for natural catastrophe. The first of which should be no matter how well you plan or prepare ahead of time, something unexpected or catastrophic can still occur, and the need to be flexible in your planning and using your contingency plan as a tool box as opposed to a rigid set of ordered procedures that should be followed is extremely important.

One of the unfortunate things that happen over time especially in the business world is that this type of planning quickly becomes un-important. Even more so during tough economic times as the recent global financial troubles, contingency planning was one of the first things to go.

While I appreciate the calls for better preparedness and I do agree with those calls, proper planning must consist of a continually ongoing process. Planning itself is a process and not a product or something you can do once and put it on a shelf.

Here are just some of the links to recent stories calling for better planning, preparedness and disaster recovery.

Do You Have a Disaster Recovery or Emergency Plan?

Need for Business Continuity Plans

Emergency Planning Crucial in Disaster Recovery


One last thing, while planning is great, it is still not enough. Make sure you incorporate tabletop or other exercises to test and run through your plan and look for gaps and opportunities for improvement.  


Statement from California’s Department of Public Health and Emergency Management Agency on Risk of Radiation Exposure

*The following news release was issued by Cal EMA on Tuesday, March 15, 2011.*

SACRAMENTO – Today the interim director of the California Department of Public Health, Dr. Howard Backer, and acting secretary of the California Emergency Management Agency, Mike Dayton, issued the following statement emphasizing Californians’ safety from radiation exposure and the risks of taking potassium iodide as a precautionary measure.

“The safety of all Californians is our highest priority, and we are in constant contact with the federal agencies responsible for monitoring radiation levels across the West Coast.

We want to emphasize that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have all stated that there is no risk expected to California or its residents as a result of the situation in Japan.

We are actively monitoring the situation in Japan and are ready to take all steps necessary to protect Californians should risks develop.

We urge Californians to not take potassium iodide as a precautionary measure. It is not necessary given the current circumstances in Japan, it can present a danger to people with allergies to iodine, shellfish or who have thyroid problems, and taken inappropriately it can have serious side effects including abnormal heart rhythms, nausea, vomiting, electrolyte abnormalities and bleeding.

Our thoughts are with the people of Japan at this tragic time.”

Californians with questions about radiation exposure can contact the California Department of Public Health’s Emergency Operations information line at 916 341-3947.

For updated information on monitoring, response and relief efforts in California and Japan, please visit the California Emergency Management Agency website at



For more you can go to our recent Disaster Preparedness Blog post on:

What You Need To Know About Potassium Iodide or KI


Earthquake and Tsunami In Japan

The earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan makes us all realize just how fragile life can be, and how powerful the forces of nature are. Events like these can be both unpredictable and unforgiving to our ways of life.

Japan was, and remains to be, one of the best prepared countries in the world when it comes to earthquakes and tsunami preparedness. The building codes are one of, if not the best in the world and yet no amount of preparedness can keep such events from happening to us anywhere in the world.

As I sit and write this I shudder to think about how such an event might impact other cities and countries around the world if the same event occured in another place. It reminds me of a conversation I once had with someone about being prepared to go at a moments notice with my go-bag ready at all times.

I would like to think that I am ready, but the truth is you never really know until that time is upon you. I only hope I never will be tested or have to put my last resort SHTF plan to work.

With this said, my thoughts and prayers are with the Japanese people in there time of need. I ask that if you can to please make a donation to a charity that is actively helping the Japanese to recover.

A good one is always the Red Cross the only thing that you should be aware of when making donations to other charities is to be sure they are legitimate since fraud becomes an unfortunate event during these tragedies.

Just so you are aware March 27, 2011 kicks off Tsunami Awareness week, and I will be doing some posts on that starting that week.

So far estimated costs of the disaster are estimated to be around $180 Billion (U.S.) and the death toll estimated to be around 10,000 and expected to climb as whole towns and infrastructures have been wiped out.