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Let’s Make People Our First Priority


Our thoughts and prayers are with the Japanese people - especially our colleagues and clients, their families and their friends during this horrific disaster. 

I will be among the first to admit that I look at products on the shelf and critically examine packaging, stand in a queue and mentally look for the bottlenecks and listen to news stories and consider the supply chain implications.  As I watched the media reports this weekend however, I was uneasy with the myriad of coverage considering the supply chain implications of the disaster.

It seemed premature to be highlighting the impact to global supply chains while we are still wondering how many people were lost in the tragedy and while there is a nation struggling to cope with the scale of the challenges they face. 

On Saturday afternoon, I received a note from the General Manager of our operations in Japan (in Atsugi – west of Tokyo).  I was relieved to hear that all of our employees were safe and accounted for.   His note talked about his pride in his team and in how they responded without panic, and despite numerous challenges how they worked together, looking out for each other to ensure that everyone was safe and could get to their homes.    Some of the team returned to the solution center early on Saturday to restore the facility and resume operations.

In any supply chain we talk of people, processes and technology.  I have no doubt that the most important element in this equation is the people, and our first priority should be – as was the case in the note from my Japanese colleague – to ensure their safety and well being.    It’s the people that will help us take care of restoring the processes and technology.

We are very proud of our Japanese team and thank them for the strength and dignity that they have shown – which inspires all of us - especially in these difficult times. 




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