The Tohoku Pacific Coast earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on Friday, March 11. In the wake of the disaster, Toshiaki Kobayashi—responsible for operations of a manufacturing, distribution and labeling facility in Sukagawa—was just one of 5,000 Johnson & Johnson colleagues in Japan whose immediate concern was for others.
“After the earthquake and tsunami, my first priority was to ensure all our employees were safe, that our facility was safe and that our community was safe. After that, I was anxious to get to work for our customers,” says Kobayashi, Sukagawa Plant Manager, Johnson & Johnson Medical Company (JJMC), Division of Johnson & Johnson K.K.
In spite of incredible hardship, our employees in Japan worked tirelessly to re-establish support and supplies to the patients, doctors and families who need our products.
The Sukagawa plant is primarily a manufacturing and distribution center for medical devices, including STERRAD® Sterilization Products and CARTO® 3 System, advanced 3-D imaging technology. It handles labeling for almost all the Medical Devices and Diagnostics products sold in Japan. Damages at the facility were significant.
ASSESSING THE DAMAGE
Immediately after the disaster, and in the face of the subsequent risk of radiation exposure from a damaged nuclear power plant, leaders of Johnson & Johnson Supply Chain initiated extensive and ongoing assessments of the Company's operations and distribution and supplier networks throughout Japan. The priority: ensure the safety of products and raw materials in the Company's supply chain.
Within the first few days, a cross-functional team quickly located all employees and found them to be safe. Then assessments were made at each operating company. Consumer company sites had no damage and within 24 hours of the disaster had products ready to be donated to shelter camps, towns and anywhere else they were needed. Vision Care operations in Tokyo suffered water damage due to sprinklers but no major damage and re-established 100 percent function by March 15.
The Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics (OCD) office in Sendai was severely damaged, and employees were relocated to a JJMC office until repairs could be made. The OCD office reopened later that month. A Janssen facility escaped initial damage but suffered minor damage four days later from an earthquake in the Mount Fuji area. Operations resumed there by March 16. But a Sendai branch office of JJMC was not operational, and heavily damaged Sukagawa was closed to undergo repairs. Concurrently, supply chain leaders identified and contacted hundreds of suppliers to assess and validate safety measures for raw materials and finished products.