Remaining Steadfast (cont.)
“When we toured the [Sukagawa] building the day after the disaster, it was very miserable,” says Hiroyuki Watanabe, Senior Manager, JJMC Quality Assurance.
Kobayashi, a 30-year employee, says the first couple of days were focused on cleaning. "Everything became a challenge as supplies stopped," he says. "Working in the Sukagawa plant was very difficult, with no water, toilet or food available."
But emergency supplies, including food and water, arrived from Tokyo. That helped during the recovery work at the plant.
Labeling at Sukagawa was restarted at about 80 percent capacity nearly a week after the disaster. Additional space in Tokyo was promptly audited and approved by regulatory agencies, then secured for labeling.
Manufacturing was suspended. The affected product, CIDEX® OPA, is also produced at a Gargrave, United Kingdom, facility. The JJMC team fast-tracked regulatory approval to make the U.K. product available in Japan during recovery. An external manufacturer was contracted to ramp up production to cover demand.
“The turnaround time for this regulatory review and approval were unprecedented, thanks to the strong support from the JJMC team, including regulatory affairs,” explains Watanabe.
By March 25, five labeling rooms were operating at almost 100 percent capacity, while repairs to the manufacturing line continued. All repairs to the automated distribution warehouse were completed.
“We were all thinking, ‘How much faster can we get back to distributing products to our customers?’ ” says Kobayashi. “All employees shared this focus and worked together—it was amazing.”
AID TO JAPAN
To assist the people of Japan during this difficult time, the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies made a significant financial commitment, as well as product donations. In addition, employees and retirees of the Johnson & Johnson Companies donated generously to disaster relief partners including the Japanese Red Cross Society, Direct Relief International, International Rescue Committee, Project HOPE, Save the Children and World Vision.
In Japan, Janssen Pharmaceutical K.K.'s support for rescue efforts included donating medical equipment, supplies and funding for a group of 600 doctors working in affected areas. The Vision Care Division provided free lenses to patients and relief workers in seven affected prefectures, identifying clinics to serve as emergency lens distribution points. The Japan President's Council approved a recommendation to use funds pledged by the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies in Japan for mid- and longer-term projects.
BACK TO THE BUSINESS OF CARING
In spite of indescribable hardships and shortages of fuel, electricity, food and other necessary items, employees in Japan worked tirelessly around the clock to
re-establish support and supplies to the patients, doctors and families who need our products, repaired damaged facilities and provided much needed assistance to the Tohoku region.
“Culturally, Japanese people have a strong team spirit that was important to helping us make a successful recovery," says Kobayashi. "Still, I could not have expected such surprisingly good teamwork.”
He emphasizes that caring for people is also part of Japanese culture and says, “The biggest lesson I'd like others to learn from this disaster is the importance of caring for and helping each other.”