Materials handling and the earthquake in Japan
The devastation following the earthquake in Northern Japan has touched every aspect of life and industry in that country. Without minimizing the human toll of this tragedy, the news as it relates to the materials handling industry is that industry leaders like Toyota Material Handling USA (TMHU), Daifuku Webb (Booth 2003) and Murata Machinery USA (Booth 435) were largely spared.
Daifuku Webb reported from the show floor Monday that there have been no reports of fatalities or serious injuries among Daifuku personnel or their immediate families and that its offices sustained no damage. The company’s crisis management system was put into place immediately following the earthquake to restore functionality to customer systems that were damaged. “We have been overwhelmed with words of encouragement and offers of hope,” a spokesperson said.
Similarly, Murata Machinery USA reported yesterday at the show that its factories were located in unaffected areas of southern Japan. All the same, key executives who had planned on attending ProMat chose to stay home. “Our colleagues in Japan are working on relief efforts and to support our suppliers and customers in Northern Japan,” said a company spokesperson.
TMHU, who is not exhibiting at the show, reports that there was no damage to any of the Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO) plants in Japan. The Takahama forklift plant was closed March 11 to 18. Production recommenced March 21. “TICO will continue to monitor the situation, but at this time, business operations have resumed otherwise,” a spokesperson said. TICO is donating $1.2 million to provide relief support for victims and reconstruction assistance through Japan Platform, an international emergency humanitarian aid organization offering emergency aid, focusing on the issues of refugees and natural disaster.
ProMat 2011 will be held March 21 - 24, 2011 at McCormick Place South in Chicago. The tradeshow will showcase the latest manufacturing, distribution and supply chain solutions in the material handling and logistics industry.