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Japan's customer service at its best

M. Soundariya Preetha

COIMBATORE: For companies that focus on customer service, the Japanese efforts are worth emulating, if the Pricol experience is an instance.

For the automobile component manufacturing major here, Pricol, as many as 16 of its 32 suppliers in Japan are unaffected by the recent natural disaster and its after-effects. The others, whose operations are hit, have assured the buyer here of supply and efforts to ramp up production in different locations to meet the needs, says Vanitha Mohan, Executive Director of Pricol.

“Even when many of the employees in the units (Japanese suppliers) have a close relative missing, dead, or injured they give priority to supplying products to customers. That's the beauty of the Japanese customer service,” she says.

In the case of Fujikura, which is supplying a critical rubber component to Pricol for more than a decade now, operations at two plants in Japan are affected because of the radiation problem. Yet, the company continues to provide updates to the buyer here every day about efforts that are on in Japan to resume production and is evaluating options to continue supply.

It is looking at increasing production in its units in Japan that are not affected or to increase production at its overseas plants.

The company is also willing to provide technical support if Pricol wants to source the component from other suppliers.

Another company that supplies connectors is affected by shortage of power and gasoline. It has said that the company was prepared to engage its global supply infrastructure to meet the buyers' needs, if there are any supply problems.

“Despite the infrastructure and other problems they face, the suppliers are communicating and re-assuring to us every day. This is a lesson to us on how to handle such difficult situations,” says V. Shankar, Head-operations of Pricol's Plant III here.

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