「華人戴明學院」是戴明哲學的學習共同體 ,致力於淵博型智識系統的研究、推廣和運用。 The purpose of this blog is to advance the ideas and ideals of W. Edwards Deming.

2011年9月15日 星期四

Japan’s tsunami supply chain comeback

這篇沒提到的 更長遠的對於災區的投資 包括設新廠等努力.....


日本供應鏈的活力
Japan’s tsunami supply chain comeback
作者:東京大學教授喬治•奧爾科特, 愛丁堡大學商學院負責人尼克•奧利弗為英國《金融時報》撰稿



After the paralysis of the global supply chain caused by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan in M​​arch, there have been the inevitable calls for a rethink of global, just-in-time supply systems. Some predicted that the disruption would last until the end of the year, if not longer. But just four months on, Japan's recovery is taking place with remarkable speed, in large part because of the unusual brand of co-operative capitalism that underpins the tight-knit and remarkably resilient Japanese business system.


在3月份日本那場毀滅性地震和海嘯導致全球供應鏈陷入癱瘓後,人們不由得發出呼籲:重新思考全球準時制(JIT)供應鏈系統。一些人曾預測,供應鏈中斷的局面將持續到今年年底,甚至更晚。然而,災難發生後僅4個月,日本就以令人矚目的速度開始了復甦。這很大程度上是因為日本獨特的合作資本主義為該國環環相扣、復原能力超強的商業體系提供了支撐。

July's figures revealed that Japan's industrial production had risen for the third month in a row, with auto manufacturers reviving especially strongly. Mitsubishi Electric also announced better than expected first-quarter profits, and has revised upwards its earnings estimates for this year. Other companies have responded strongly too: Hitachi, much of whose domestic production capacity is located in the area most affected, was almost fully operational by the end of March, while Hitachi Port, crippled by the disasters, reopened on April 3.


7月份數據顯示,日本工業產值連續第三個月實現增長,其中汽車製造業的複蘇尤為強勁。三菱電機(Mitsubishi Electric)公佈的第一季度營利數據好於預期,該企業還調高了今年的收益預估。其他企業的表現同樣強勁:日立(Hitachi)在本土的生產線大部分都位於受災最嚴重的地區,但到3月底,就已幾乎全面恢復運營,一度因受災而陷入癱瘓的日立港口也於4月3日重新開放。

Held in awe by many in the west in the 1980s, Japan's system has until recently fallen out of favour for being slow to adjust to changing macroeconomic conditions, resulting in the country's two lost decades. Yet the tsunami has actually revealed the system's capacity for rapid recovery – just as it did following the 1995 Kobe earthquake, and the 2007 Chuetsu earthquake.


上世紀80年代,日本的商業體系令西方國家許多人嘆為觀止,直到近些年,這一體系才漸漸失去了人們的青睞,因為它對不斷變化的宏觀經濟環境反應遲緩,導致日本出現了兩個“失去的十年”。然而,海嘯發生後,這一體系顯示出支持經濟迅速復甦的強大能力,正如1995年神戶地震和2007年新潟(Chuetsu)地震之後的情況一樣。

Many of the current supply problems are due to damage at a plant belonging to electronics group Renesas, in Hitachinaka. The plant, jointly owned by NEC, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric, produces a significant share of the world's automotive microcontroller chips. The parent firms have sent hundreds of staff to help with the recovery, but, more interestingly, Renesas's customers are helping out too, with Toyota, Honda and others dispatching staff to help with recovery efforts. At one point, there were nearly 3,000 non-Renesas employees at the plant, mostly engineers. As a result production restarted on June 1, much earlier than first anticipated. By late September production should be back to pre-quake levels.


目前供應方面依然存在的問題中,許多都是因為電子集團瑞薩(Renesas)旗下一家位於常陸那珂(Hitachinaka)的工廠嚴重受損。該工廠的股東還有日本電氣(NEC)、日立和三菱電機,全球相當一部分自動微控芯片都產自這裡。這些母公司派出了數百名員工協助恢復工作的進行,但更有趣的是,瑞薩的客戶們也伸出了援手——豐田(Toyota)、本田(Honda)和其他企業也派出人手來協助。該工廠一度有近3000名非瑞薩員工在幫忙,其中大部分是工程師。因此,工廠6月1日就恢復了生產,比最初的預計提前了許多。到9月底,其生產應該可以恢復地震前水平。

This pattern, in which usually fierce competitors have come quickly to each others' aid, has been repeated elsewhere. Take Hitachi Chemical, which has two factories at Namie, a short distance from the Fukushima nuclear station. One plant produces carbon brushes for heavy- duty electric motors, which are used in vital public infrastructure. Kazuyuki Tanaka, Hitachi Chemical's chief executive, has noted that restarting production was more important than revealing “some important parts of our knowhow to our competitors”. Here, as at Renesas, help has been offered, and accepted, without contracts and without discussion of financial arrangements.


平日里競爭激烈的對手迅速相互施以援手,這種情形在日本其它地方也很普遍。就拿日立化成工業(Hitachi Chemical)來說,它在距離福島第一核電站(Fukushima)不遠處的浪江町(Namie)有兩家工廠,其中一家生產用於重型電動機(用於必不可少的公共基礎設施建設)的碳刷。日立化成工業首席執行官田中一之(Kazuyuki Tanaka)就曾表示,恢復生產比“保護我們的重要技術不被洩露給競爭對手”更重要。這里和瑞薩工廠的情形一樣,在接到其他企業的援助並決定接受的整個過程中,沒有簽訂任何合同,也沒有人討論費用該如何分配。

There has of course been major disruption, despite the speedy recovery. Even a few weeks of lost production is too much for the global clients of major Japanese companies to bear. A range of strategies are therefore being developed to improve resilience, including greater diversification of production and new arrangements to transfer design and production information across manufacturing sites. These will apply to facilities within companies, but also now may include formal agreements with competitors to provide substitute facilities in the event of a future disaster.


儘管恢復速度很快,但生產必然受到了嚴重的阻斷。對於日本各大企業的全球客戶來說,這些企業哪怕停產幾週,造成的損失也讓它們難以承受。因此,人們正構想一系列戰略,以增強復原能力,其中包括提高生產分散程度,並為各個廠址間設計和生產信息的轉移做出一些新的安排。這些新策略將應用於企業內部的各個工廠,但如今也有可能推及至與競爭對手的正式協議——以便在未來發生災難時提供後備工廠。

In spite of this, and especially given the speed at which supply chains have bounced back, there is little sign that Japanese companies are planning to turn their backs on their traditional “just in time” manufacturing strategies, let alone leave Japan entirely. Professor ​​Takahiro Fujimoto of the University of Tokyo, an expert on supply chains and the automotive industry, admits that improving supply chain resilience must be a priority, but believes this can be done without “sacrificing competitiveness”.


儘管如此,尤其是考慮到供應鏈恢復的速度,沒有多少跡象表明日本企業打算拋棄它們傳統的準時制生產戰略,更不用說徹底搬離日本了。供應鍊及汽車製造業專家、東京大學(University of Tokyo)教授藤本隆宏(Takahiro Fujimoto)坦承,改善供應鏈的複原能力應放在重中之重,但他認為,這不需要“犧牲競爭力”就能實現。

The tsunami has graphically demonstrated how co-operative capitalism allows rapid mobilisation of resources and offers a hidden source of resilience to efficient but vulnerable supply chains. It now seems clear that the latest crisis has strengthened, not weakened, Japan's distinctive form of capitalism.


日本海嘯生動地說明了合作資本主義是如何快速調動資源、並為高效但脆弱的供應鏈提供復原力的秘密之源的。現在,有一點看起來很清楚:這場危機是增強而非削弱了日本獨特的資本主義模式。

George Olcott is a professor ​​at the research centre for advanced science and technology at the University of Tokyo. Nick Oliver is head of the University of Edinburgh Business School


喬治•奧爾科特(George Olcott)是東京大學尖端科學技術研究中心教授。尼克•奧利弗(Nick Oliver)是愛丁堡大學商學院(University of Edinburgh Business School)負責人。



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