Cargill Japan delivers customer focus with dedication and quiet determination 

March 14, 2012

On the one year anniversary of the Mar. 11, 2011 devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami, we reflect on the unwavering spirit of the Japanese and the dedication of Cargill’s team in Japan to support customers throughout the year.

While Cargill’s employees were all safe in the aftermath of the calamity, many were impacted in one way or another. However, they upheld the Japanese virtue of self discipline, and remained dedicated to their work and customers.

“There are dramatic stories on rescue and relief around the natural disaster, but the strength and perseverance of our team in Japan also deserves mentioning” said Hideyo Suzuki, president of Cargill Japan Limited.  “They have worked hard, yet quietly to help our customers through the challenges they faced.”

Relentless support to customers

The March disaster left in its wake extensive infrastructure damage, transportation delays and disruption to food and water supplies, with many homes and families affected. Many Cargill employees had to stay at shelters or overnight in the office, while others worked from home.

Despite this, more than 10 different businesses in Japan worked smoothly together for the common goal of supporting our customers as best as possible in these difficult circumstances.

For example:

  • Cargill’s Kashima juice terminal suffered damage but employees were not deterred. They rallied together to get the terminal up and running to ensure that Cargill fulfilled its commitments. As an exclusive supplier of orange juice to a major customer in Japan, this support was invaluable.
  • With fears of aftershocks, vessel owners refused to dock at the original destination port near East Japan. However, customers were in need of corn and soybeans to restore the livestock feed supply. Cargill’s Grain and Oilseeds team persisted and convinced vessel owners to enter the port. As the news spread, other vessels followed suit. This effort contributed significantly not just to Cargill’s customers, but to the entire industry.

Supporting customers evolving needs

Following the earthquake and tsunami, customers depending on domestic suppliers experienced supply chain disruption, making them realize the importance of diversifying their supply base and looking for alternative product suppliers outside of Japan.  Cargill Toshoku  stepped up to meet these evolving customer needs.

One of Cargill Toshoku’s customers, a major Japanese retailer and distributor, thought that canned food with a special pull top was only available through a supplier in North Japan. They enjoyed the convenience of a local supplier and they were not confident that the same level of quality was achievable outside Japan. 

After the earthquake, the canned food supply was unfortunately interrupted and mindsets changed. Cargill Toshoku has since helped to source alternative products from overseas, meeting the high quality requirements and leading to another satisfied customer.  

A team to take pride in

Reconstruction is underway in Japan and Cargill has contributed financially to the relief efforts through a $250,000 donation to Second Harvest Japan, a Tokyo based food bank that delivers truckloads of food and other needed items to the Tohoku region. Cargill Japan employees continued to volunteer in Second Harvest’s relief efforts by packing food parcels for affected families in Tohoku.

We are very proud of our team in Japan. They have remained consistently focused on the customer despite being personally affected. They have played a significant role in ensuring business continuity for our customers both in the short term and the longer-term.  

“We are incredibly proud of the team in Japan. Our heartfelt thanks and appreciation goes out to our employees for taking on the past year’s challenge with such untiring determination and dedication,” said Hideyo Suzuki, president of Cargill Japan Limited.