The typhoon aftermath
How would you start fixing things if one day a typhoon swiped down on your workplace? This is a difficult question and an overwhelming situation, indeed. Unfortunately, this happened to Wärtsilian Kazunari Nishiyama, the Team Leader in the Field Service Workshop in Japan, when his team had to deal with the typhoon aftermath in 2018.
“After the typhoon hit, we felt lost to see the workshop and warehouse, which looked quite different from what they had been the day before. We just stood there in stunned silence for a while; someone started to take pictures of the damages and another brought out damaged components from the buildings,” Kazunari recalls.
“As the facilities were immersed in sea water, the electricity was down, and all the equipment and the engine components under maintenance were damaged. To fix things, managers established a recovery team and we started to focus on what we were able to do one day at a time,” Kazunari continues. “While our workshop and warehouse were closed, other Wärtsilä locations and vendors supported us in customer deliveries. We received so much support both locally and externally, that I had never been as convinced of the importance of team work.”
During Kazunari’s career, he finds the workshop recovery as the biggest challenge he has overcome. “The close communication enhanced our teamwork and led to quick recovery in the workshop activities,” Kazunari describes.
Especially since the incident, Kazunari has been highlighting the importance of communications to people around him. He sees communications as not only important but as the most enjoyable part at work – through which he gets the opportunity to interact with global networks.
“Before Wärtsilä, I didn’t pay attention to cultural differences between countries. So, I faced some incidents where I misunderstood the values of my colleagues. One case was for example about customer courtesy – something that we Wärtsilians in Japan take perhaps even more seriously than our colleagues elsewhere. Then, I started to understand the diversity more and more, and it changed me.” Even if Kazunari enjoys exchanging ideas with his colleagues globally, it is the local colleagues who make the atmosphere amusing with their daily stories – both business-related and personal stories.
Since February 2019, Kazunari has been managing the local workshop and logistic activities in Japan. However, his story with Wärtsilä got started in Wärtsilä Seals and Bearings from where he continued to deal with engine spare parts in the Wärtsilä Global Logistics Services team. Kazunari’s tour in the company has prepared him to face multiple situations – also challenging ones, as we learned from the typhoon case.
In addition, another tough situation remains in Kazunari’s memories. When Wärtsilä Japan was going through an organisational change in 2012, Kazunari’s department was relocated to another place. However, one logistic expert needed to stay behind. “I was selected to be that logistic coordinator, meaning I got to work alone for a while at the warehouse. I worked with high expectations for my work, but I managed to pull it through and improved the daily operation in the warehouse.”
In the last few years, Kazunari has seen Wärtsilä innovating cutting-edge solutions in various business areas. He trusts that this will keep the company vital for the years to come. “Over the next few years, I see Wärtsilä taking part in innovating new energy sources and I see my own role increasing in that business,” he concludes.