Weblog - Yokogawa

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Weblog Comments - Yokogawa

The "Japanlog" (shared between Yokogawa and Omron)
has now been changed to "Yokogawalog" - due to high demand.

Weblog comments will include date of submission, most recent first.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Promotions are based on the "in Group" - always has and always will. No other company promotes a Corporate Manager who has failed in every other department he has worked for, and if he didn't have a buddy in higher management to protect him, he would be long gone.

Employees are told to have a good appearance so that if customers come in Yokogawa will look like it has class. What about the way higher management talks to vendors, customers and employees.

We have some former vendors that have been so insulted that we don't dare call them and say who you are with; it's not going to be nice on the other end.

HR - set up appointments one or two at a time and people will talk. But in your meeting, if you noticed the two watch dogs sitting in the back with their arms crossed. That told us one thing: Keep your mouth shut or else. If you'll remember, if you got a paddling in school you knew to watch out when you got home.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

YCA's management and direction are horrible and the company is missing the opportunity to recover from the poor economy. Open your eyes YCA management. Your competitors don't blame external factors they don't control. Compete. YCA has lost anyone that has any inkling of initiative or entrepreneurial spirit. All that they want now are Indian engineers that will comply with every directive issued by Tokyo, even if it doesn't fit the North American market.

As for YCA Service, the ivory tower in Newnan needs to go. Where else do you find a Customer Service and Support group that treats their customers like idiots and expects to be revered for answering phones? The company drove out anyone within the Service organization that was of value to YCA and our customers.

To any current YCA employees that are trying to ride the storm out. It's only to get worse before it gets better.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It has nothing to do with sexism or gender discrimination. Yokogawa is more than capable of making astoundingly frightening blunders in the area of management staffing with total disregard to any and all considerations of gender, race, religion, work experience or aptitude.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A new logistics manager? Is he qualified? Is the person in Logistics that is qualified going to train him after the current Logistics manager is gone? Why didn't the qualified woman (with college credits in logistics and experience) get the job? Seems it is still a man's world at Yokogawa. Did the woman who is replacing the new logistic's manager in customer service get the job as a token to keep females from once again complaining about sex discrimination?

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Those who do not remember the lessons of the past..........." are doomed to repeat it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The ghosts of the past come back to Yokogawa, some good, some very bad. Former staff, dismissed or voluntarily separated in the administration of David Johnson are being rehired, in some cases, provided some valuable insights but others as Service Dept. only to return to do what they did for a long time. We do not learn and keep repeating our mistakes.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The answer to the question in the last line of May 14 blog is in the first line of May 13 blog: Yokogawa will be selling the Measurement business this year.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mouse Consolidated Financial Statements for the Year Ended March 31, 2011

From Consolidated Financial Statements from page 8 point 4

"(4) Challenges for the Company

To create a profitable corporate structure, the Yokogawa Group positioned fiscal years 2009 and 2010 as a period of structural reforms that would improve efficiency and prepare the way for the next growth phase by reducing fixed costs and reviewing the business portfolio. Regarding the reduction of fixed costs, we have surpassed the initial target. As for the review of the business portfolio, we decided to scale down or withdraw from almost all unprofitable businesses. In fiscal year 2011, we will complete the revision of our business portfolio centering on the industrial automation and control business."

Reading between the lines, the 2011 revision plan seems like more fixed cost reductions for the industrial automation and control business. The question will be, which fixed costs will be reduced?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Financial results for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 are out at:

Mouse Yokogawa Financial Results for Fiscal Year 2010 or --- Mouse pdf file

"Losses on the Measuring Instrument business wipe out over one third of the income from Controls (page labeled "11").

On the page labeled "7", "Extraordinary expenses" for both FY2009 and FY2010 are over 11 billion yen -- and the 11.1 billion "Extraordinary expenses" for FY2010 exactly wipe out the 11.1 billion in operating income.

Note that if you go to:

Mouse Financial Results

and click on the correct full year financial statements link, it's broken. The corresponding link for FY2009, works OK.

Mouse Consolidated Financial Statements for the Year Ended March 31, 2010

Friday, April 29, 2011

Everything changes, except Yokogawa! People go out voluntaril, or are dismissed by force, and few new faces arrive. There were promises to fix the Mexican office and the Canadian office. But in the end as usual, things stay the same, stay the same!

Friday, April 29, 2011

The announcements about the delays in informing the stockholders (and most of the employees) about the so called next phase of restructuring, or the postponement of the mid-term business plan, are the important points, not the removal of the incompetent leaders.

Our European friends in Tokyo tell us that ever since the crisis in March nationally, management have been scheming on how to use this situation to delay the news and make for excuses about the 4th year of serious loss making results.

Since for over 12 months, plans and actions have been agreed with Tokyo about the radical restructuring of Europe. Only the European HQ in Amersfoort is too remain with the area offices which are Germany, France, Italy, Austria and South Africa.

This has means that for example in North West area, the offices in Belgium and Great Britain will be no longer with the Houten office being engorged many years ago already. Sales and service staff will report to Amersfoort and F&A staff will be let go.

If you have any doubts about how ruthless Hauptmeijer and his team are, just observe how Apeldoorn was obliterated along with the sales offices in Houten, there is now hardly anyone left.

All the affected country managers won‚t be affected though as they will transfer to Amersfoort or receive a largesse payment for their efforts in keeping quiet and deceiving their staffs. All should look to the Linkedin to see which of the middle managers have been updating their details; they know what is happening.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More red ink is predicted. It is proposed that virtually all of the current directors (except Kaihori) be booted.

MouseDirector Candidates

MouseRevision of Financial Forecast for Fiscal Year 2010

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - Re: Yokogawa is not the only company in the world. If you are not happy, go work somewhere else:

Good advice. I have lost count of how many people who have heed these words. Every week, more people are taking your advice to heart! Any other great advice?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - Re: Yokogawa is not the only company in the world. If you are not happy, go work somewhere else.

Egypt is not the only country in the world. If most of the people in Egypt are not happy, that does not mean that the best solution is for them all to leave Egypt (if they could). Maybe a better solution is for Mubarak and his cronies, who have been in power far too long, to be removed?

Ten years ago Uchida-san announced "Vision-21 & Action-21". The simple way to make huge profits is to set unreasonable targets, apply the "no work for you any more" solitary confinement treatment to bully out anyone over 45 or 50 who is not a "manager" (i.e. politician), and ratchet up the bar every year, right? But when small, wealthy, all-powerful self-appointed "elites" are allowed to rule nations or companies or organizations, the "elites" usually quickly become arrogant, domineering, rigid, and even corrupt. Like in Egypt, it doesn't matter how hard you work or how good you are--the great majority are not empowered to make a difference. All decisions will continue to be made at HQ by a few "elite" Japanese.

If you compare share price and assets-per-share with ten years ago, Yokogawa is *down* about 49%, Yamatake is up about 87%, and Hioki and Horiba are up about 156%. Who is responsible? "Not me", say the directors. "Whack the slaves--they'll work harder/be afraid to complain. And pay the secret police/army a big bonus". Maybe life will go on as usual--without vision or action.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Yokogawa is not the only company in the world. If you are not happy, go work somewhere else.

Friday, April 22, 2011

MouseOpen Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead

Saturday, April 16, 2011

To a previous blogger: If you're so bonus-focussed yourself that you even don't see any merit in a performance review when there is no money attached, then there's something seriously wrong with you, not just the management.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I heard recently from my HR friend that some select group of people got huge pay increases. If you did not get the increase, it means that the company does not need you.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Performance review at YCA - Are you kidding? We have not had a thing like that in last few years I have been here. Wondering if the HR and new management has any ideas now that there is change in the leadership. As for now enjoy the ride: no pay increase, low morale, company cars...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I guess the company cars will be paid for with our annual bonus, don't seem like we are getting one. And what about giving back the other part of the pay cut that we took several years ago, management has a company gas card we don't. Seems like management has the attitude of the **** with the employees as long as I am taken care of.

Why should I do a performance review, if there is no money attached. My manager will give a low score anyway.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Good word has it that the "new" management team has entered into a deal to buy all the executives and sales people shiny new company cars. Me and my co-workers have not had a raise in 3 years. This is the last straw. Where has the conservative and humble Japanese culture gone? Mr. Yokogawa must be rolling over in his grave. The US company is doomed...

Friday, April 8, 2011

The subject of the prosafe RS SIS, what occurred with the fieldbus foundation SIS and Yokogawa's secret influencing to there own ends is a strange but not unexpected affair. I worked at what was GTI when Yokogawa purchased us. It was a well known truth that all we had was an aged but excellent h/w safety system with a fantastic installed base not only here in the Netherlands but globally also, and an arrangement with Siemens for the Moore PLC safety system.

Prosafe was a concept that had been on many drawing boards but to no progress for some time until a strategy was formed that was parallel in effect to what was occurring in the foundation. I know this was because we were heavily influencing the process of technology direction with the safety SIS within FF (as we did with the HIST specification for DCS) and knew intimately how TUV would lean. If one studies the concept of prosafe, it can be determined that it has a twin brother in the ff version. This is why by modifying the Yokogawa DCS FCS, using the doubtful proven in use arguments again and colouring it to orange from grey it was quickly and cheaply brought to market place launch. It was argued by some tech guys from competition on the ff sis panel that they had been used and manipulated by Yokogawa as although the TUV did not approve the ff sis principles until 2006, the discussions with a Yokogawa lead had been on the go for at least 2 years before that time, this is wh y they could launch earlier but despite the stories of all the field proving by Yokogawa before customer launch and sale, this was the ONLY product that this never happened with because of the fear of the Emerson new sis. I know to that after the first sales, many modifications had to be made to both h/w and f/w which were only reported to TUV some 18 months later, the certification is a joke and every in Yokogawa knows this. Competition argue that this is not a safe combination, after 20 years I know this also is true, please check before a disaster is occurring.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Just heard some news that the new management has finally made changes at the top...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - Re: How can TUV therefore say yes to the Fieldbus Foundation and no to Yokogawa?

I'm certain that ProSafe-RS "certification" pre-dated Fieldbus "certification"; the original ProSafe-RS certificate mentioned previously was dated 2004-08-16 (I believe that ProSafe was announced at the end of Feb. 2005, after the documentation was finished, and shipped in March). According to a Pepperl-Fuchs web site, "the first samples of safety-related Fieldbus devices" did not appear until "the Interkama+ fair in April 2006".

Re: Fieldbus is not just Yokogawa's "Hobby Horse".

You can readily confirm (on the web) that Yokogawa announced a Fieldbus MAU communication interface IC in about 1997-8, so Yokogawa had a lot invested in Fieldbus.

* * * * * *

Surely the main problem is that standards like IEC 61508 relate SIL: Safety Integrity Levels to reliability (PFD: Probability of Failure on Demand). It is surely pointless to spend money on extra "SIS" control hardware that obviously does not reduce the risk of dangerous failures -- oil drilling rigs exploding, oil tankers getting shipwrecked, nuclear power stations getting hit by earthquakes/tsunami and losing power, coal mines exploding etc. As mentioned in the SIL article in Wikipedia, "System complexity, particularly in software systems, (makes) SIL estimation difficult to impossible": Obviously you can't measure safety numerically--because you can't measure or predict the probability or size of risks such as earthquakes, tsunami, typhoons or whirlwinds. And you can't accurately measure the reliability of complex systems either--hardware reliability figures will not be available until many identical systems have been in operation for many years, and the reliability of operating systems and application-specific software is difficult or impossible to measure. Paying certification authorities to pull numbers out of thin air is like paying protection money, difficult to stop.

Concrete system-specific guidelines are meaningful--for examples, see "High Integrity Pressure Protection System" and "Exxon Valdez oil spill" in Wikipedia--but not vague and SIL-ly "standards".

Maybe humans -- politicians who overrule safety experts, operators who don't follow instructions, and greedy company directors -- are the problem. But eliminating humans can't be the solution.

Surely a place like this, where issues can be discussed fairly and openly, is a big part of exploring possible solutions. Thanks.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My last blog was on Friday, October 16, 2009 about the corruption and hiring of illegal workers for BP Bruce and other projects. I see that the issues of prosafe certification are now rightly discussed on this wonderful public forum.

My comments now relate to prosafe RS on the BP Bruce platform and I can confirm that the documentation safety file was not complete when we sold the system and the system was not approved by TUV at the time of sale but we had a copy of the TUV certificate. I left before the project was completed some 2 years later, but I know even after commissioning, all the paperwork wasn't in order and there were a host of design/interface issues that should have affected the 'approval'. How do they get away with this, or perhaps we know the answer, BP do not check the quality of work provided by sub vendors, just read the reports on the deepwater horizon.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Foundation Fieldbus is not just Yokogawa's "Hobby Horse". For more information about the Foundation for SIF Technical Specification, please visit the Fieldbus Foundation's Specification Page. Also, you will find two very large "end user" industrial sponsors of this technology.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - Re Yokogawa Safety blogs:

The blogger is for sure correct; Prosafe RS concepts were stolen from the Fieldbus SIS concepts approved by TUV at the same time, how can TUV therefore say yes to the Fieldbus Foundation and no to Yokogawa?

Most of the acceptance is performed by Exida which has been shown so many times to rely on Yokogawa's documentation, proven in use. TUV and Exida are a buddy club, who will doubt the word of the Exida founder and owner and his ex TUV senior colleague, not TUV for sure.

It was the same for the EJX transmitter, we still have all the queries today from knowing customers, 90% of arguments are for proven in use with EJA when it has a different processor and different firmware, how is this correct. Again Exida performed the tests and reports that TUV approved without seeing from afar. The original EJX TUV certificate was for SIL2 until we paid for SIL3 and stating dual system. Corrupt?, never.

Monday, April 4, 2011: Additional info. related to a previous post

MouseApril 2010 - Essay about an original Yokogawa technology

Last paragraph: When it was first released to the global market, ProSafe-RS already had TUV safety certification. It created quite a stir as no company had ever obtained TUV safety certification as planned and in time for the release of a completely new system.

The Emperor doesn't think he has no clothes because he's covered his ... with a safety certification sticker...

Monday, April 4, 2011 - Re: This is not a unique Yokogawa issue.

You can find Functional Safety Management cert-fsm.pdf (certificate dated 2004-08-16) on the Yokogawa web site. I believe that 2004-08-16 was before the ProSafe-RS product was first released -- i.e. before the documentation was finished. I think you'll find that Yokogawa was first to get "certified". Yokogawa claims the "world's first, truly integrated safety instrumented system". Surely Yokogawa "invented" this. Maybe they've even patented it.

Re: Why blame Yokogawa, Honeywell, Emerson, in milking the SIL cow?

As a previous blog explained, (1) If a control system (design) can't detect or compensate for failures, then adding a SIS that has virtually identical hardware is unlikely to improve matters. So this may look like a sil-ly (SIL-ly) invention. But (2) if Yokogawa convinces the customer to specify an SIS with "certification" (because "it's mandatory or highly desirable to comply with the standard"), then other vendors are forced to offer this or be locked out of bidding/tendering.

And Fieldbus -- another Yokogawa hobby-horse -- was also "certified". Do you have Fieldbus in your car? Fieldbus has been "certified" to improve safety and reliability!

Sunday, April 3, 2011 - Re: TUEV

"TUEV" is "safety". Saying different is sacrilege. The magical TUEV Certificate is the de facto standard in industry. Does anybody know why?

For several years I worked in the largest TUEV organisation until my conscience could no longer justify the propaganda communicated by our organisation in the name of safety but for the sake of profit. Using the TUEV brandname to imply knowledge in functional safety

3 Major mis-conceptions:

  1. TUEV is a non-profit government body: Not True! Like all free market enterprises, TUEV is a privately owned company selling services. TUEV is an acronym ("Technischer Ueberwachungs Verein" meaning "Technical Supervisory Company")used by several privately owned testing labs with original base in Germany.
  2. All the TUEV's belong to the same group: Not true!The competition between the various TUEV's is fierce. The different TUEV's often do not recognize each other. One of my tasks was to scan the market and block anybody, vendors and users alike, caught co-operating with other TUEV's. This is the reason why you fail to find certain "TUEV certified" systems missing on the TUEV certified system's list or why previously assessed TUEV experts are deleted (expired) from the TUEV experts list.
  3. TUEV's are accredited to perform SIL Certification: Not True! Nobody has ever assessed TUEV's competence. Why not? Because we are TUEV! TUEV is a testlab. TUEV's historical brandname is a result of "testing products". This can be a seatbelt, helmet, condom, or safety PLC. Most of my colleagues spend their entire career testing products in a lab to a specification without knowing its use.
I feel shame when I see the many SIL4 certificates we produced based on nothing but a brandname. This strategy is deliberately followed to keep out competition. The principle is simple, genius and criminal. E.g. Award Festo with TUEV SIL4 certificate, and Asco, Seitz, Samson will come knocking on the door for their SIL4, as no other organization will lower themselves to selling certs. This is a never ending profit stream with zero risk. As mentioned, product failure only, does not cause accidents, and even so, it will never be able to be traced back to TUEV.

Lucky I do not have to play this game anymore.

Sunday, April 3, 2011 - Re: "Type-Approved" "Safety Integrated Systems":

Blogger is spot on. The IEC defines requirements to protect against random (hardware) failures using probability based calculations AND to manage systematic failures using a safety lifecycle. Compliance means: fulfill ALL relevant requirements to manage risk (clause 4). As the previous blogger indicated, the systematic part, although disasters rarely happen due to hardware failure only, is conveniently ignored.

The "SIL"-hype is being used by - best case - ignorant, - worse case - scrupulous and criminal companies to sell more kit to the uneducated. This is not a unique Yokogawa issue.

Last year the design of our instruments including a SIL-type certification project, was outsourced to China. Proper design and manufacturing procedures protect against systematic failures. As SIL-slash-quality manager I was transferred to Shanghai to implement a design process to meet the IEC 61508 requirements.

Much to my surprise, a local TUV representative explained to me that the SIL level on the SIL certificate depends on the price you pay. The procedure: 1. TUV will run cycle tests on a few samples to determine failure rates. My question about our equipment being used in low demand applications making hardware cycle tests not suitable, optimistic and even dangerous, was answered with silence. 2. Produce an ISO-type certificate to receive extra discount as auditing our processes is not required.

I politely kicked this "criminal" out of my office, and went shopping for a more serious auditor. Was this an exception/. Googling "TUV SIL4 China" proved otherwise: In China, TUV manages to "certify" organizations and products to SIL4 on a regular basis. SIL4 requires strict adherence to all requirements in the standards, and with one year of hands-on China experience in my belt. NO WAY!

Today, one year later, the failure rates of our products are factor 100 worse than the TUV predicted numbers. Our design/manufacturing processes and procedures have been rejected twice. It is close to impossible to set up a decent process and get the Chinese workers to follow it. Language is definitely not the only issue. We are losing sales - so pressure is rising to go the TUV way. Not to worry - hardware never fails?

This is just one product. What if same "level of expertise" is for a refinery or power plant?

If reputable government-appointed bodies, such as TUV, display this level of obvious - giving them the benefit of the doubt - incompetence, why blame Yokogawa, Honeywell, Emerson, in milking the SIL cow? In the land of the blind, the one-eyed is king.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Smoke & Mirrors, Snake Oil & "Type-Approved" "Safety Integrated Systems"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It should be obvious that most major disasters - industrial disasters such as Bhopal, the Exxon Valdez (tanker) and Deepwater Horizon (drilling) oil spill disasters, and nuclear disasters such as Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and the current Fukushima I - would not have been prevented by "Safety Integrated Systems". It is surely fair to say that lack of adequate design, management, or regulatory oversight, also poor maintenance, lack of adequate operator training or adequate disaster-response contingency plans are key factors in all major disasters. The IEC 61508 Association seems to cover aspects such as third party validation of design, management, training and the like - but it seems that Yokogawa is not a member.

It seems that Yokogawa was very active in IEC WGs like 61508 that created the concept of "Safety Integrated Systems" hardware. If a customer can be persuaded to specify a "Safety Integrated System" then surely that's at least double the hardware and software sales ticket, and anyone that can't supply such a system will be locked out of bidding - regardless of the real-life effectiveness of the system or likelihood of a disaster. And if the IEC approves a "standard" - regardless of its practical usefulness - then it will usually be adopted outside Europe. Gullible customers may be persuaded that it's mandatory or highly desirable to "comply with a standard" and thus buy more hardware.

The terminology used in the IEC standards is misleading - "SIL" is about hardware reliability (of the "Safety Integrated System (SIS)" only, not the combination of control system plus SIS) rather than safety. The IEC standard surely doesn't say anything about Certification of Safety (or Reliability) - safety and reliability (including application- specific software) is virtually impossible for a third party to certify, much less "type approve". Surely it is nonsense to suggest that third- party SIS-hardware-specific "functional safety type approval" is meaningful - or that (for example) an organization's "functional safety protocol type approval" of Fieldbus means that adopting Fieldbus contributes to safety? Surely a large network built with a slow bus like Fieldbus is unlikely to cope in an emergency?

And using a Safety Instrumented System and/or Fieldbus at a petrochemical complex, LNG terminal, on an oil tanker, or in a thermal power plant is likely to prevent a disaster such as a tsunami? (Note that "Yokogawa's Safety Instrumented System has been Certified for Shipboard Use" and is "used on the Ningaloo Vision oil tanker"? Surely this is one tanker that will never sink ...

If a control system (design) can't detect or compensate for failures, then adding a SIS that has virtually identical hardware is unlikely to improve matters. Classic safety systems used extremely simple (thus extremely reliable) and extremely fast emergency shutdown mechanisms. A "Safety Integrated System" plus a control system is inherently less reliable than a control system alone - since failure of either SIS or control system has the potential of causing a plant failure.

An awful lot of the "Type-Approved" "Safety Integrated Systems" techno-babble resembles Smoke and Mirrors if not Snake Oil salesmanship to me. I'm wondering if we'll see functional safety type approval for car

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Despite the promotion, many people are still leaving YCA. In the last 2 weeks, 15 employees have left. Many YCA employees are underpaid by at least 20%. What will YCA do about keeping their employees? Don't they care?

Friday, March 25, 2011

YCA's Field Instruments Business Unit has just announced the promotion of one of their Product Specialists to Pressure Product Manager. This person is a very long time Yokogawa employee with decades of experience on temperature and pressure products and is one of the "Go to Guys" mentioned in previous posts on this blog. It's nice to see someone's expertise and hard work finally pay off.

it's nice to finally have someone in middle management who really knows what they're talking about and how to get things done. Congratulations!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

YIA management used to listen to its employees and we had a pretty good relationship. After YCA/YIA got back together, there was a definite tension between the two "factions" (sorry that's the only word I can think of that fits) and it never subsided. It got worse over the years to the point where the only venue for our complaints was this weblog.

Many people knew of this web site long before DJ's ascendancy. It's been a popular industry forum for a very long time.

When it became obvious that middle and senior US management were ignoring us, we started "airing laundry" here in the hopes that management in Japan would hear us and address the situation. We mistakenly assumed that the problem was that the US management was simply not kicking the feedback up the ladder. If we could only get our concerns to Japan, they would certainly straighten things out, right? WRONG! Remember, for Japan to address an issue they first have to acknowledge that something is wrong. Culturally, that's very difficult for them to do.

When it finally sunk in that no help was forthcoming we tried to embarrass them into addressing the problem. If they don't care about the employees, then hit them where it hurts, their public image. That appears to have worked, at least to some extent. Whether they will follow through and clean house deeply enough to have any real effect on this company is another issue altogether. Only time will tell.

Monday, March 7, 2011

For many years YCA did the laundry at home. But it was always dirty and stained. We assumed that the washing machine was not working properly. Now that the washer is broken, we have to wash out on a weblog that most did not know even existed until the previous CEO ordered the blocking of the website on YCA Internet. We're tired of having dirty clothes, and need to wash it anywhere possible. If you are an outsider, you cannot criticize us because you don't know our problems. If this seems like a Soap-Opera, change the site and read the gossip from our competitors. Do not suffer voluntarily.

Sunday, March 6, 2011 - View from an outsider with an ever-so-minor interest toward company interests. Certainly not working with/for you and never have.

Work on a way to keep your laundry in-house. Use anonymous gmail or hotmail to send emails to 'all employees', or something. You've had evidence of clients reading the posts and I wouldn't be surprised to hear your major competitors are starting to feel embarassed with contents herein. Ask yourself: is there a constructive purpose remaining to this forum? Or are you not there yet, and still feel the need to vent and "bring 'em down" further? If so, OK, I kinda get it. Or maybe, GO GO POWER RANGER! Can you agree to put this weblog on hold for a year, with the possible exception of a good news story every now and then? Because, this is the first time I've understood a soap-opera fan. I just can't take my eyes off this site. You've even got murders happnin'!

Hope you agree it won't do your job-prospecting much good if employers eventually relate what's in here with "Yokogawa employees". I'm sure no one would fess up to authoring anything in an interview. Maybe that becomes the trigger for posts. Maybe ask yourself, "In a future interview, would I admit to writing this?"

Post here if you must, because believe me when I say my interest is minor, at most. But let it be understood by all that your posts here are now probably doing YOURSELF much much more harm than good.

OS1 out.

Sunday, March 6, 2011 - To the guy: Saturday, March 5, 2011 respoinding to sender of "How to fix Yokogawa America":

Sorry, "The truth is uncomfortable". I think you're a Salesman, and that published by the fellow who thinks he has the formula to fix Yokogawa, bothers you much. The truth is that all Operations, and outside, feel the same about Sales team. The capture of customer information is very poor and inaccurate for some salesman. The costs that you generate socializing with the client are too high for what they achieve. Many times, I do not understand, what customers want, when you explain it, but when we visited the potential client, no more than three minutes are needed to understand the customer needs.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

In case you hadn't noticed, there hasn't been progress in years. A culling of the inflated, plasticine middle and upper management is exactly what's needed. Strip them all down to nothing, and re-evaluate where the brains and talent really are. I'll gaurantee things would look much different.

Sunday, March 6, 2011 - Re: How to Fix Yokogawa:

You are correct in many points, but: The current Systems Sales Team, must be changed entirely, and replaced by professional engineers in sales, with the knowledge of how control-systems operate. I've never understood how a seller who has no idea of the DCS can sell something like this. It is obvious that most systems have been sold by the EPCs, legacy or customer requirements and not by YCA's sales. Ignorance of the system-sales team is one reason why Stardom Systems or FA-M3R PLC have not been sold. This is totally different story for the group-instruments sales. They can calculate flow, pressure, pipe size, instrument location, etc. They know, they can sell products, although instruments are not cheap.

Operations should be reduced to 40% of its current size (we are a fat group) and save the experience. Referring to the Proposals Group - they are not so bad. Also, the problem is their equipment and systems lack of knowledge, but the fault is that of the Proposal Group Manager who has not bothered to train his team.

The two technological supports from operations in Proposals, only know about the Centum's hardware, not software packages, Batch, Exaquantum, family Stardom, wireless communication, Fieldbus communication with PLC, just to mention a few. The proposals group manager is only interested in the proposals quantity, and not quality.

Another problem not mentioned is the Service department that only works in Newnan but not in Sugar Land. All our clients have complaints about this group. Execution of projects is really bad; Annual Maintenance Contract proposals, disagreeable; Upgrades and updating proposals, terrible, very bad; Customer support is bad.

It is impossible to have a company without a good Service Team. The Sugar Land group has to change or relocate from Georgia to Texas. Because this is an important job, and not easy job (someone mentioned in this weblog that it was super-EZ). Quality is not easy matter, and it is necessary to demonstrate the professionalism of Services.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

In a economic boom, companies tend to create lots of subsidiaries - to give ambitious managers a bit of autonomy.

In a downturn, however, most companies merge offices - particularly multiple offices in the same cities - to eliminate duplication of clerical and financial functions across multiple offices, and to improve communication between divisions. However, Yokogawa has eight offices in China: three in Shanghai, two in Chongqing, and two in Suzhou.

When you have to do more with limited design talent, having multiple companies makes it difficult to move good people around - good people are not going to want to be dumped in a struggling subsidiary where pay, bonus and working conditions are inferior.

It is significant that Test & Measurement division was first to get spun off into a subsidiary company. Certainly their losses were huge, and spinning them off makes it easier for them to get rid of people. But the huge losses were certainly due to a lack of vision and a lack of agility.

Little Anritsu, for example, has recently won several prizes for its LTE (next generation wireless). Test equipment, is actively working on test equipment for Next Generation Networks (NGNs) and has also sold 100GbE analyzers. Yokogawa purchased Ando Electric from NEC, but has yet to progress past 40GbE transponders, and doesn't seem to offer any related test equipment - the transponder factory and the measuring instruments factory are separate entities. Anritsu's share price has quadrupled in the past two years.

Having lots of independent divisions within a company is another good way to limit or eliminate communication and cooperation - if you want both SCADA and control equipment from Yokogawa, you'll have to talk to separate divisions, and forget about any hopes for an integrated solution. And Yokogawa has a fixation on Fieldbus - forget about PoE and industrial Ethernet.

Saturday, March 5, 2011 - To sender of "How to fix Yokogawa America":

Your comments are appropriate, but only for filing for bankcrupcy and having a fire sale. You are the reason we cannot progress.

Friday, March 4, 2011 - Recipe: How to fix Yokogawa America.

If indeed, YEW wants to pursue business in America, they must return to the original formula that made it so successful.

YCA needs to shrink in all areas, reduce the excessive number of managers and general managers, completely change the Systems Sales Team, refine the proposals group (including the leader), immediately close the Mexico, Canada and Measurementation offices.

Change the entire HR department, cancel the Operation's group, cultivate local American engineers - not imported from White Star. The main issue: Stop bringing CEOs that have not poerformed in competing companies, when the real directors are already here in YCA, people who know Japanese and American philosophy, hard workers that love and are loyal to Yokogawa. In this time of major depression, companies without seed die. Buyt the small, well-founded companies will grow.

Thursday, March 3, 2011 at

YCA management needs a pep talk and analysis of the automation market. More than 3 months with a new administration, and so far no tune-up. Our business manager says that we have touched bottom and now is the stage of recovery. But the sick patient continues to worsen. The problem is administrative; too many managers for few employees. Good actors who appear to work. Very few managers have an idea of what to do, but there is always someone at a higher level that says otherwise.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Both the Mexican and Canadian offices were mistakes. DJ was into Empire building. "North American President and CEO" sounds so much more impressive than plain old "President and CEO, U.S.".

Mexico was, and always will be, problematic. Whether the rep there was capable of capturing what business is there was always an academic excercise. Canada, on the other hand, there's no debate that CB was better potisioned to do what needed to be done. They needed a little "motivating" from time to time, but they knew the players and had the visibility that was needed.

Why we needed to fire them, open an office and appoint one of DJ's pal's as Country Manager, when he had no Canadian experience (remember he came from the rep in California, and let's not even talk about his reputation when he was a rep salesman) was beyond everyone's comprehension. Then to hire inside staff from around the world for the high visibility positions, again with no connection to, or experience in, the Canadian market. Way to show our friends up North that we understand their needs.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

It is important to note that morale is poor not only in YCA foreign offices. Sugar Land is no exception. Staff in this office is migrating to competing companies and EPC's. Engineers with high and medium experience are looking for another source of employment. Only, the old ones or young kids with less than 4 years in YCA. We await the future of Yokogawa. At this time, there have not been any changes or modifications made by Mroz or Japan.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Poor morale in Mexican office staff. Everyone assumes it is a matter of time to narrow down the office size. Mismanagement and little or no profit are clear indications that the opening of an office in Mexico was an expensive mistake, that only created economic losses. The persons hearing the case indicate that it is best to leave only a little office with a small service team and a minimum business representation staff, returning sales to local REPS, with direct control of Sugar Land, as was done previously.

The largest expenses by the general administration of Mexico and its poor performance have been a heavy burden for YCA. Canada is also in trouble, but far away from the existing scale of Mexico. The administration is not bad and now the Canadian office is silent. Mexican staff is looking for a new job from weeks ago, something that is a challenge during current economical troubles and violence in the country.

Friday, February 25, 2011 - Re: transmitter pricing:

Forgive me, but you're wrong. These small margin gains achieved by instruments are immediately diluted by the high costs of maintaining offices in Mexico and Canada (which are not self-sustaining). If we add, the negative costs generated by systems, the gain which you speak changes to high loss. And, I do not want to talk about, such high costs of our sales team, or the cost of our managers for their Asia trips. In general the YCA's gain is "nothing". This company was formed to do business, make money, and everyone knows, what has happened in the last 4 years. We sell automatic controls and the only automatic thing in our building (Sugar Land), are lights. We need to see the complete overview and not just a single process screen.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - Re: "transmitter registers zero profit":

You are very misinformed! I've seen the margins, the Xfer rates etc. It's not a large gain, but it is a gain. Addtionally the worldwide volume adds up to good numbers, increased production, etc.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

For years, I arrived every day early at YCA Sugar Land, in my cubicle, piles of documents, drawings and DTI's waiting to be processed by me, the time passed very quickly. Now, I do not want to arrive early, the mountains of paper have become in a clean desktop and time passes very slowly; very, very slow. Just because I need this job, well the money, I am still arriving daily and waiting for the time to go home. My enthusiasm to work hard and have a different challenge each day is gone. Yokogawa ismkilling me and changing me into a bureaucrat. This is what I think about Yokogawa and no more explanation needed!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Do you really think Systems is the only loss leader? Every time we sell a transmitter to one large customer it registers -X.XX USD on the proverbial cash register (that's minus by the way). Our customers, contrary to ingrained belief within our company, are smarter than we are. We have met the enemy and, as it usually turns out, it is ourselves!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

One team - One direction!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

To the blogger who talked about Systems being a loss-leader. Correct. Yet, they just let two GMA Instrument guys go! They belive that the "Systems guys" can do it all! This will be an adventure.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

There is no short term solution to the systems business at Yokogawa North America. It takes years of discipline, networking and steady management to build such a business and it will not happen over night. Management must make tough decisions and save what is left of Yokogawa North America very soon.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

OK, there have been many, MANY posts on this weblog, but, one more time:

SYSTEMS IS A LOSS LEADER IN NORTH AMERICA! IT WILL NEVER MAKE MONEY HERE! How can it be stated any more clearly? Until the company is run by someone who didn't come from the Systems Group, this company will never turn around.

Over and over folks from the Systems Group have bragged about what few victories they have been able to achieve. They were quick to tell you about the $9 million project they landed, but never understood that it doesn't do us any good if it cost the company $12 million to execute!

"We'll make it up in MRO business!" Not at the 99% discounts you folks hand out!

Why should I slit my own throat and turn away profitable business to make product for you at little or no margin when I can load my factory with orders sold at low discounts? Just because so you can brag about another (profitless) project you managed to give away? I don't think so.

Get a clue guys. Yokogawa owns the Systems business in the Pacific Rim, and it will NEVER happen here!

As much as you complain that the Japanese don't understand the North American market, you don't seem to understand this aspect of it either.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

To the latest posts. The focus is one and only on Systems Sales and operations. To succeed, Management must zero in here and put a plan to fix it with no other distractions. This segment has been the problem for many years.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I'm working in Sugar Land. But I was working in the Mexico office and I still have great communication with my colleagues in Mexico. If the guys of Sugar Land or Newnan belive that are poorly treated by their managers, they are wrong. This is heaven in comparison to the Mexico office. I'm glad than Services asked for my exchange from Mexico city to Texas. Please don't cry - Sugar Land is a very good work place, and the job it's super EZ.

Friday, February 18, 2011

When reading this blog, you can tell that the majority of the employees (excluding VP's, GM's and Department Managers) are unhappy with the way it is going at YCA Newnan, Sugarland and even Mexico. Most of the higher-ups in this company have been there forever and, as with everything else in life, it becomes stale, stagnant and unproductive. That is what has become of this once viable company. The life has been sucked out by all the dead wood and if something isn't done shortly it will be gone.

Japan and Chet and VP of HR are you listening? Employees are being treated very unfairly by managers who have gotten by with it for so long that it a way of life for them. I need a job, and that is the only reason I still work for Yokogawa. It's not because it's an employee-friendly company, or even one with a good reputation. It's a paycheck, and when I find another job that rewards employees for going beyond their duties, I'm gone. Having a family will help you keep your mouth shut when you really would like to tell your boss where to get off.

I know some will laugh at this post, but that's fine too. It's time the the good-old-people club was disbanded and let some new life flow into this company. It's very clear that they could care less about any of us.

Suggestion: Let's have a 1-to-1 with each employee and the new CEO and VP of HR.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New faces, same speech, same dumbo managers, same kings. HR does not change; IT as well; Sales do not sell anything; little actual real work; too much imaginary work; waiting for projects that never arrive. It was gone a pretty face; I get an ugly face; nothing changes. "Much Ado About Nothing"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

IT will not, of their own free will, ever unblock anything. Remember when they did everyone the "favor" of trying to reduce spam by blocking email with certain words, such as "Order" and "Rush"? Yeah, like Reps never send eMails asking about orders or trying to "Rush" anything!

And while I'm on the subject of orders, the Order Entry groups for both Field Instruments and NetSol do great jobs despite having managers who don't have a clue what's going on! As do the Product Specialists in both groups.

Both groups continue to support the reps in a first rate manner. A couple of earlier posters mentioned "breaking" the management and re-evaluating who should be in charge. Both the Marketing and the Customer Service groups for NetSol and Field Instruments would benefit from a shake up in that regard. It's obvious to those who interact with them everyday who does the real work and who ducks responsibility and hands it off to the folk in the trenches.

Keep it up guys and gals, some of us really do know who's holding things together over there!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

If things are changing, when will IT unblock the Internet sites which were closed by DJ? When will we have Internet access to conduct searches related to our job?

Friday, February 11, 2011

The graphs speak for themselves. Yokogawa's business is not going well and this is a global problem of the company. But we have to define the maps and find where businesses are better or worse. I work in Yokogawa Mexico office and the truth is that I have never seen our numbers change from red to black; maybe now more maroon than two years ago. I believe that this is not our fault (ventas); it's the bad image that has created the company - for poor customer care, poor image, always quotes higher than the competition, or simply bad quotes and the lack of promotion for our products and equipment. This office does have more interest in the Venezuelan market than the Mexican. Our task is difficult and we put all our efforts, but we need help - the help that we are denied and is sent to Venezuela.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Say what you want about the old CFO - when he ran the company (pre-DJ) we got a raise every year and a bonus every quarter. The new HR VP has done nothing to improve the situation.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Read Jim Pinto's latest column in Automation World, February 2011. This specifically discusses reasons why anonymous weblogs are so popular.

MouseKeep Motivation Up in a Down Economy.

During a period of recession, leadership skills are truly challenged. The solutions derive from strong management, which motivates good people to do what it takes to win during tough times. Mechanisms must be created for the workforce to share their feelings. It's the bad times that make good companies so much better during the good times.

Monday, February 7, 2011

3Q result (loss) is now up on the website. MouseYokogawa Financial Results 2010

Monday, February 7, 2011

Is there a difference with HR in Sugar Land? The same; we have to beg favors if ever asked to do their job! Too many uncrowned kings in Yokogawa. Already started to clean the feuds in Sugar Land (Service Manager latter case) but still have as HR. Welcome to the club, people from Newnan!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I'm curious- does anyone know if our current leader of the HR department actually has any HR experience? Most people in HR are typically very friendly, hospitable, courteous, polite and more than willing to help. Our current leader must have sat in a golden chair atop a throne somewhere, since he acts as if he is better than most and looks down his nose when speaking to you. He certainly has no interaction skills with the employees he actually works for. There is no use in going in HR to ask him for help or a question. It seems that he only has 1 agenda. His own.

I hope the the new President leans on the HR person in Newnan, and her team, for a true example of how HR is ran. It's obvious she loves HR and loves Yokogawa. She and her team are always more than helpful and treat everyone with the utmost respect, no matter what is asked or when the question is asked.

I hope there is a change in that leadership soon too, since the person that hired him is now former, and there is a new fresh attitude in YCA mgt.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Well, I can't say I'm surprised by all that I have read today in this blog. I once wore the Yellow kite also.

I hope that the remaining YCA management gets their steaming mess together (for those it applies to). They need to realize that the folks that have been there for years are the only thing holding it together today. Their dedication, knowledge, professionalism in the offices, plants & field, and commitment, need to be a model for the restructuring.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I must say that I've never seen the Company in the shape it's in right now. I have worked here for over 25 years and have seen many changes take place.

I agree with the person that wrote: "The only way to effectively restucture this Company is take away all of the manager titles, and consider everyone for those positions based on technical, product and market knowledge."

What amazes me however is that everyone knows the problem is bad management but nothing is done to resolve this issue. By leaving these people in these positions nothing will get better.

I have seen people who have been let go in the past, brought back, given management titles, and then been let go again 6 months later because they were not capable of performing the job. Then another person was put into this position who has absolutely no experience with the products they will be dealing with, and is more of a delegater than anything else - only because of thier relationship with the GM. Really? What is the benefit ?

I'm interested to see how this will work out. Management needed to look no further than someone already in this group for a strong leader who knows the Company and what is required to succeed. It's decisions like this that are driving this Company into the ground. I work closely with all groups and employees within the Company and there are the ones who do a great job and really stand out; and there are others who show up to draw a paycheck. The thing is that the honest, hard working employees are the ones who are never considered for anything other than packmules to carry the load.

This has always been a great Company to work for even with all the downfalls. One can only hope that some changes in management are made soon so that everyone still has a job to complain about.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Despite assurances to the contrary, all is not well in Yokogawa.

The problem in YCA is an extremely difficult affair, and it will not be resolved by something as simple as Mr. Mroz's speech from last week. This same speech has been repeated time and again when Yokogawa obtains a new CEO - by this point it has happened at least 3 or 4 times; however, one needs only to read these blogs to understand that fighting is mainly occurring between fellow employees: one department dislikes the others, Newnan envies Sugar Land, Instruments does not get along with Systems, Operations cannot stand Services, and no one can deal with the Sales team.

In short, YCA has become a modern-day Babel-Tower, where everyone speaks a different language and communication is impossible. A blog of a client displeased with our performance appears one day and disappears the next, but the client's irritation does not go away so easily. How is it possible to compete against our market rivals when we are busier conducting an internal war and manipulating information in a way similar to what George Orwell recounted in his novels?

One can only hope that the current developments in YCA are not a prelude to "Animal Farm". Our Internet already blocks this important site, but we read it once in a while from home.

May God help YCA, so we don't also lose our jobs, since we have already sold our souls.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I have worked for Yokogawa for some time now and believe myself to be a fairly astute person. All I can say is that I have enjoyed my time here, I am looking forward to the future. I couldn't care less about financial reports, etc. as I don't plan on doing anything about them and would suggest that, as this is a New Year, people move on from the bickering and squabbling, or simply move on. Yokogawa doesn't owe anyone a living, and I refuse to accept that people with such massively negative attitudes will be contributing as much as they think.

So, if you think the grass is greener feel free to move along - the industry is full of new talent coming through and bringing in ideas from outside of the so called top companies and it maybe the breath of fresh air that is needed. To all the positive people who log on for a nosey - all the best for 2011 and I wish you success in your ventures!

Monday, January 3, 2011

I left Yokogawa some years ago, and heard of this blog from a rep. I must say that the situation seems to be unraveling at YCA and was predicted by some of us who got out at right time.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I must agree, this recent negativity must be from DJ supporters. How can anyone that worked at Yokogawa ever claim that DJ understood the systems business? The only way anyone could make this claim is if they didn't understand the systems business themselves. Don't get me wrong - DJ meant well, he did his best by putting his good buddies in key positions in North America, as this was his circle of trust. Unfortunately for Yokogawa and their shareholders, the end result was a company lead by a bunch of transmitter salesmen, that drove anyone that knew anything about systems out of the company, leading to the eventual death of system sales at Yokogawa.

Are you a transmitter pusher in a systems position at Yokogawa? If so, you are likely a DJ supporter and in over your head. Yokogawa's new management needs to evaluate every current employee, and I mean you! Yokogawa needs to determine if you are truly good at what you do, or did you steal your accomplishments from someone that was driven out of the company?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I agree. Stop trashing this fine company and give management a chance to make changes work. It is looking like DJ supporters who are left behind are behind this negativity.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Some people will never be satisfied. Please STOP trashing a good company! Just find another place to work!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Answering industry questions at ABB about prior years of mismanagement in automation, ABB CEO Joe Hogan said in 2009: "We have seen some shocking cases of poor execution, project management and customer relationship management which have cost us dearly to fix and have seriously damaged customer confidence. This in itself is an additional hidden cost of doing business, and it's the job of the entire organization to address."

Chet Mroz was out of ABB by 2007, around the same time the poor management became evident and caught up with him. Dave Johnson will be missed.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lot of information is not making sense on the blog. Does Chet Mroz have 25 years or 30 years experience? Looking at the number of companies he has worked, he changes his job every five to six years. Looking at the companies he has advised - he has given precious strategic advice to all our competitors since he became a consultant, except ABB and Emerson.

Looking at the types of things he has done from projects, products, strategy, supply chain, performance, SAP, consumers - he appears to be the holy grale of the automation industry. Looking at his vast market coverage of petroleum, oil, gas, chemical, waste, power, Yokogawa will have a rainfall of orders because of him. If this guy is this good, why is he coming to Yokogawa? Why isn't he sitting on the ABB board of directors.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chet Mroz is posting his own resume himself on this weblog?

Fact Check: He has no product experience. Systems is a loss leader in YCA and how is he going to fix it before we shut Houston down? Systems has experimented with ABB rejects before. The previous two ABB rejects were fired from YCA. This guy is past his 'sell-by' date. My Houston source told me that Chet was peddling himself as a consultant for last three years in Houston. What has Systems and YCA gained from his valuable contribution?

His LinkedIn profile boasts he owns several small companies. His Linkedin network of supporters include Brent Lielinthal, Dale Scmirler, Dave Smith, Pete Zovath. All of his Linkedin buddies have already been fired from YCA. Is he bringing them back? Are they cut from the same cloth?

I bet that this is a worse move than firing Dave. All of you who drove Dave out hoping your Nippon samurai will take control, enjoy this ride. Dave Johnson was far better than this. Dave knew both Products and systems, and was undone by the Japanese.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Looks like Chet Mroz can be the solution, and will be here soon!

Chester Mroz has more than 25 years of experience in corporate business management, as an executive and as a management consultant in the US, Europe and the Middle East. He focuses on M&A strategy and business expansion in corporate industries at the intersection of manufacturing processes and technologies: performance optimization and automation in the energy sector (gas, oil, power, renewables); process equipment, control systems, test & measurement instrumentation in engineering and pharmaceutical sectors. He is affiliated with CXO Advisors, a group of executives in the industrial automation sector that provide strategy consulting, deal flow, and merger advisory services to private equity and to strategic buyers and sellers.

At C-bridge, the e-business consultant and full service provider of business & technical architecture solutions based in Cambridge, MA, Chet was Strategy Practice Director for Energy, Chemical and Pharmaceutical industries and focused on production processes optimization as well as data flow modeling and technical architecture for medical information systems.

He was President of ABB Automation Group Ltd. for Petroleum and Chemical business areas based in Zurich, Switzerland. He was responsible for the development of the worldwide business strategy and for operating performance, leveraging ABB's automation engineering, process control technologies, and IT consulting services in the hydrocarbon, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries. He directed, as well, ABB's 3,500 industry specialists located in four major centers of engineering excellence in the UK, Norway, Germany, US. He also served on the board of ABB's China Joint Venture Company, HKD in Beijing; and a Middle East Joint Venture company ABB ARESCON E.C., headquartered in Bahrain. He built up the Middle East, India, and China markets and piloted large project sales.

Prior to ABB Automation Group Ltd., Chet Mroz held a number of senior management positions at Texas Instruments, EMC/Rexnord, Foxboro Company and Mobil Oil Corporation. Chet is a graduate of Cleveland State University with a BSEE and has completed Executive level classes at the Wharton Business School and Purdue University.

Thursday, December 16, 2010 - Re: Chet Mroz

Over 30 years of experience in the oil and gas sector, Chet Mroz has provided strategy, business transformation and business development consulting to Clients such as SAP, JD Edwards/Oracle, Honeywell, Yokogawa,Invensys, Shell and Rockwell. He has positioned these company's enterprise software offerings and services in the application areas of Enterprise Performance Management, Supply Chain Management, Enterprise Asset Management, Manufacturing Execution Systems, and Customer Management applications as well as equipment, instrumentation and process control system products and engineering services to their process, energy and water industry customers.

Chet Mroz was formerly the President of ABB Automation Group Ltd. Petroleum, Chemical and Consumer industries business area based in Zurich. He has more than 30 years of experience in the industrial automation industry, developing and implementing solutions for petroleum, chemical and consumer industry customers. Mroz has spent a significant portion of his career working the India, China and Middle East markets and leading large project activities. Mroz held senior management positions at Texas Instruments, EMC/Rexnord, Foxboro Company and Mobil Oil Corporation.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Breaking news from reliable HR sources: YCA chooses Chet M. as the new CEO. No details, except that he used to work for foxboro and ABB. Houston, do you have any more details?

Friday, December 10, 2010 - To the bloggers:

The Samurai has taken over management of YCA. Three leadership changes have taken place. I request the bloggers to let them do their job. They heard you all and have responded. Please stop posting negative blogs. They know what they have to do. Give them time and if you must blog, put some positive blogs. I will start by saying: This is great company and we will become number one.

Friday, December 10, 2010

GM of Service is now gone. It should have happened months ago. Yokogawa is still looking for a new CEO/President for YCA. Seems to me there others in the YCA organization should be let go also. On the other hand, when all the mass layoffs were taking place (down-sizing), Yokogawa was letting some of their best team players and intelligent personnel go, unjustly. Now that the company is struggling and floundering, who would really want to be hired by Yokogawa? It is going to take a long time before Yokogawa America will get back to being a really productive and solvent company. The company has no focus, no business plan, and no clue as to how the process industry really operates. Times have changed and Yokogawa is stuck in the 1980's mindset of doing "business".

Friday, December 10, 2010

"Financial results for 1st Half of Fiscal Year 2010" appeared on the Japanese and English web sites on Nov. 9. "Mid-term results for Fiscal Year 2010" (in Japanese) appeared only on the Japanese web site on Dec. 6. Essential new information is as follows:

    Mid-term sales decreased from 154 billion yen (mid-term result in FY2009) to 147 billion yen (mid-term FY2010). Abu Dhabi Engineering Center established.
    Full-year FY2010 *forecasts*: Forecast orders up -- from 315.2 Byen (BillionYen) in FY2009 to 340 Byen in FY2010 (Control represents 272 Byen of this).
    Forecast sales up -- from 316.6 Byen in FY2009 to 328 Byen in FY2010 (Control represents 262 of this).
    Operating income up -- from 2.6 Byen in FY2009 (Control 19.9, Other 1.6, Measurement -18.9) to 11 Byen (Control 16, Other 1, Meas. -6) in FY2010.
    Net loss decrease from 14.8 in FY2009 forecast to break even in FY2010.
    Note above that Control-related income is down 19.9 -> 16 and Meas. loss is greatly decreased from -18.9 to -6 Byen.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Service, never has had the almighty upward curve, was a product of imagination, just created in excel sheet as propaganda, nothing was going to drop, only reflect the real situation. The department was in big troubles many, many months ago and the solution is to put in charge somebody the understand what "service" means, somebody honest with a career in service. The quick fix, is in Newnan.

Seems remaining ghosts of the past believe in the D.J. s graphics and not in the reality. They try to defent D.J. politics and his minions and "bad salesman"; this is history. It's just necesary to talk a little bit with the Service guys, with the Customers, the people from Corpus, people from acounting to see the reality. Only one thing is true, is time to make some decisions.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How do you think service profitablity will be in two months? Now we got rid of the "bad salesman" let YCA upper management sit back and watch the numbers plummet. That almighty upward curve is going to drop drastically; better find a quick fix, and fast. By the looks of things that department is in big trouble. Should be interesting to watch. I do feel bad for the ones remaining in the department. Time to make some decisions.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sorry to see someone lose their job, but if they're not doing any good... Now, let's see if they continue the trend and find more dead wood to cut. Seems to me that we have a country manager who didn't have a clue even when he worked as a salesman for one of our reps.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Congratulations to the Japanese for sorting out the Service Deparment in December 7, 2010 8:00 AM.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What is happening with Service? It received first a COX-A, subsequent a professional clown, later a very bad salesperson. The good engineers with experience were dismissed; later the few good ones remaining said good-bye. Sugar Land, only has kids without experience and not very competent. Now what? How to re-build something that takes 3 years to destroy? Where will they find that the appropriate trainers of Training department? We (Newnan) congratulate the Nippon corrective actions. Who will be the next one?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

GM of the Service department has been let go! What else can happen at Yokogawa? No surprise after DJ's departure. Good luck finding something.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - To the blogger from Nov. 16, who wrote "To the factory blogger":

You think all the manufacturing employees have a job because of you. I really believe that is the kind of attitude the person was talking about. Maybe you should be one of the first to go and let's see if the doors of Yokogawa-Newnan shut, I don't think so. As far as the person that wrote the blog - they have a college degree and are very capable of running their job and others on the floor. Why don't you put down the coffee a while and try something different - called work.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

As a Yokogawa customer, discussed a couple of months ago with service Houston project manager, the DCS upgrade and service. So far, I am still waiting; give me the service quote or visit our facility. Control equipment Yokogawa is good, but the service is pretty bad. It seems we are not doing good business for Yokogawa. We are preparing the migration to DeltaV

Monday, November 22, 2010 - To the blogger from 11-16 "you exist or don't because I do my job..."

Wow! What an egocentric view you have of the world! I worked for Yokogawa for a long time, long before YSW came into being.

Back in the Johnson Yokogawa days, YCA was just "those people up on the hill next door". We really didn't know or care what each other did. Then JYC became just "Yokogawa Industrial", as we use to say, "We lost our Johnson".

Then YIA and the old YCA recombined. There was a definite mindset change when YIA and YCA got back together. The phrase "One Company, One Direction" was tossed about a lot, but the factory went from a proactive "this is what I need to get that done" philosophy to one of "I can't do that because...". When you're used to manufacturing 1000 $15 widgets a day with only 3 variations, and you put the same people in charge of making 10 $2500 widgets with hundreds of possible variations, the outcome is predictable. But, everyone was finally able to adjust and get back on track.

The quality problems brought up in an earlier blog were more attributable to the factory relocation from Mia to China than they were to anything going on in Newnan. The assemblies and finished good that came out of the new China factory were terrible, and only improved painfully slowly.

About the same time YCA was bought by Dixon Engineering, er, no, wait, I mean Yokogawa bought Dixon Engineering (sometimes I do wonder which way it really was) renamed it Yokogawa Southwest and the Power Elite moved to Houston. Up to that point at least senior management was all in Newnan and there was an uneasy, but continuing interaction between all aspects of top management. Once things went to Houston it was easy for everyone to fall into their own little fiefdoms and lose touch with the other locations. A sense of detached superiority developed in ALL parties.

Are there some idiots in Newnan? Yep. Houston? Most assuredly. Sales, marketing, production? Of course. There are idiots and there are go-to guys and gals in all locations. The only way to tell them apart is to deal with them and see who gets things done for you and who resorts to name calling and self aggrandizement.

The time for finger pointing and name calling is over. It time for Minaki-san and Mizuki-san to weed out the empire builders, name callers and slackers and give control over to the Go-To people. If that requires a complete shake up to accomplish, so be it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

If you Google for "EXACT patent Foxboro" without the quotes, you'll see that Invensys cites Foxboro U.S. Patent RE 33267. If you search for Patent RE33,267 you'll find it's dated July 17, 1990 and is a reissue of a patent issued in Jul. 1986 and another in July 21, 1988. The term of a patent is typically 20 years from the filing date, so 20 years from July 1990 is July 2010. If you look at the English-language sales material (produced at HQ Japan, of course) for the Japanese company's just-released autotuning controller, I guess you'll find a lot of bragging about how their great *Japanese* developers have just discovered a new, revolutionary, and -- of course -- totally unique and exclusive type of autotuning. Perhaps somebody who has access to the sales material would like to confirm this?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Services is another of the balloons inflated by D.J. to present black figures. However, after D.J. ran away, the balloon is losing air and seems to be collapsing soon. Newnan's Service is waiting to save the ashes and take the control. What is very clear, a bad salesman promoted by D.J. is now without D.J. support, and does not know what to do with the hot potato. After dismissing personnel, others began to abandon the ship, so the Services department is in chaos. As Service employee, I see this company going down very fast, and I'm afraid to lose my employment. It looks like Japan doesn't want to fix the problem.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fact check: A gent by the name of W. G. Bird patented the idea of using the vortex shedding principal for flow measurement back in 1954, or there abouts. Early musings about the concept date back as far as the notes of Leonardo DaVinci.

Mr. Alan Rodely brought to fruition a practical instrument for measuring flow using the technology, but how would that entitle him to pursue patent infringements?

As to the the validity of the "non-linearity" comment, all vortex meters become non-linear at low flows and the measurement drops out before zero flow is acheived. It's a function of the physics and the technology. Sonds like a "Sour Grapes" comment to me; just my less than humble opinion.

Regarding your other comments, hiring away your competitor's braintrust and reverse engineering a better product (while keeping it just different enough to avoid patent and copyright issues) has been a accepted, and admittedly nefarious, business practice since the dawn of technology.

But, as these comments are regarding events which are some 20 - 30 years in the past, how are they at all relevant now?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Until I read this blog, I had no idea that Dan Brown worked for Yokogawa. Or at least it appears that he works there, because only the author of the Davinci Code could invent these jaw-dropping conspiracy theories. Yokogawa has it's problems, as is obvious. But, the stories showing up here on this blog are now becoming ludicrous. I am a former employee, previously involved in some business areas described in some of the recent conspiracy theory posts, and can attest that accusations made in these posts are now moving beyond inaccurate. They are libelous. Posters should be required to identify themselves, at this point, to maintain some sanity on this forum.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The EXACT blog seems to have opened Pandora's Box with regard to all the unethical and corrupt behaviours of Yokogawa stealing ideas/concepts. I think someone commented on this before, as this is typical of the Japanese mentality and approach; can't invent so copy at any cost.

After this was posted last night, I had calls from many ex-colleagues providing the reminder of their bad deeds over the years in these matters, as so

  1. The EXACt situation was aggressively dealt with by Ed Bristol as he had warned Yokogawa at the start of the 80's over their attempts to obtain details of the resonant wire sensor which they copied as the EJA. They had tried to bribe the ex GB ICI manager who joined as a technical VP after he left but he informed Ed Bristol who went berserk as cordial relations with Yokogawa at his level were still affected. This was a final straw.
  2. Alan Rodely from Neptune sued them over patent infringement on the vortex meter in the US. They settled and changed the design which made it not too linear.
  3. ICI commissioned a GB university in the 80's to carry out work on analyser diagnostics. It was at the time the P5? standards were being carried out and ICI shared at a meeting they were working on this and instructed the university to explain their research and progress. Shortly afterwards, Yokogawa launched the EXA range of analysers which coincidentally featured the same such diagnostics. The ICI engineers were totally angry but the matter was dealt with by the same ICI senior buyer who enjoyed holidays in Japan and went to work at Yokogawa after he left ICI. Small world!
It also seems that recent blogs on the Emerson section about supplying Iran and others are a retaliatory move by an angry English guy in the Yokogawa Middle East to stir things up and create the FUD. Maybe Emerson are so successful in winning large projects in Saudi recently?

I don't know the Dave Johnson at YCA, but if he is as they report before, don't be shocked as corruption and the people who do it are a web that invade everywhere. Look to the one just below the President, they have all the secrets.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - To the factory blogger:

I think you have got this wrong; you exist or don't because I do my job. If I don't sell, no need for you. Kicking the sales team when they are down is easy; praising them for feeding you and your family doesn't happen.

We have many ex-Newnan factory people in Sugarland, many long time enough to remember poor quality products caused by very poor quality employees on the factory floor. I wonder if you were a beneficiary of the many basic (reading & writing) educational and social programs the company had to implement?

Stick to the banjos and we'll keep rowing faster.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I think the "Welcome back to planet earth" post dated Nov.11 is EXACT-ly right. I believe that "your trusted partner" (to quote the website slogan) Yokogawa doesn't welcome internal whistleblowers, even if they don't spill the beans outside the company. Fairness and openness are foreign concepts.

You probably know the history: Yokogawa "partnered" with Foxboro, learned from Foxboro how to make flowmeters, then split with them. Later, Yokogawa took over Hokushin, changed the company name to Yokogawa Hokushin, and vowed that the Hokushin people would be treated fairly, as equals. It took only about two years for the name to be changed back to Yokogawa.

A group of professional engineers (mostly from Hokushin) decided to meet about once a month after work. The main purpose of the group was to identify talented young engineers, and encourage them to qualify as professional engineers. About one or two years later, all but a couple of the professional engineers had gone -- bullied out by transfers to remote offices with no work, and the like. Virtually all of the people who had come from the Hokushin takeover (not just the engineers) were bullied out by the time they turned 50.

In about 1988, Foxboro announced "EXACT" autotuning controllers that were widely recognized as superior to the model-predictive competition. A certain Japanese company immediately announced that it, too, would release autotuning controllers. The talented young Japanese product marketing person at that time (let's call him "Asami-san" -- not his real name) confided in a friend that he was upset about some less-than-ethical things that were going on, and Asami's friend reminded him about the three wise monkeys of the Nikko Toshogu shrine ("see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil"). Just after "Asami's" 45th birthday, "Asami-san" was invited on a company hiking club trip, and disappeared -- his body was never found. Nobody had seen or heard anything -- he had just disappeared. Of course this was pure coincidence -- nobody is suggesting that his disappearance had anything to do with the company, because there's no proof. His wife was given a job in a remote factory, to support the family, and -- seven years after he went missing -- the police declared him legally dead.

A guy, let's call him "Mike" (not his real name), came over from America to help with the documentation for the new autotuning controller product. After six weeks of twiddling his thumbs, no documents had appeared for rewriting. It transpired that Foxboro had summoned representatives of the Japanese company, suggested that selling a ripoff of the Foxboro autotuning product would result in big trouble, and the Japanese company had shelved it -- virtually admitting that Foxboro's suspicions were well founded. Ed Bristol and Greg Shinskey have both confirmed that they were at this meeting in the US between Foxboro lawyers and the Japanese company's representatives -- but they have no record of the names of the Japanese.

It would be interesting to identify the Japanese who were behind this attempted ripoff, and who were present at the meeting. It's virtually certain that they still hold senior positions. If Japanese shareholders knew about this, and the people were identified, and they'd surely be tossed out. "Mike" apparently quit the company in disgust.

It must be about 24 years since the "EXACT" patent was filed, and the Japanese company has recently announced new autotuning controllers. I wonder how "EXACT" their autotuning is?

Monday, November 15, 2010

The only reason the "Sans" are in town is to make sure that none of the dirty money trails are traced back to Japan. DJ made sure he can't be touched in future if this becomes the subject (and it might) of a Fed investigation and to add insult to injury, YHQ paid his expensive legal fees to make sure he keeps quiet.

The ‘paperwork’ on the Chevron account, particularly money transfers around the Kazakhstan region for those dutiful government employees, who approve everything for Tengiz Chevroil , should be of interest. Perhaps a chat with the million dollar commission man on why using western union has its risks could be beneficial!

Because of all the revelations in the public domain about the arrangements to ensure competitive pricing (dumping product in the market), panic is ensuing in san city. Watch out for Enron style shredding over the next few weeks, if you were involved, or have knowledge of the bribes and business conduct issues and think you are at risk, time to open exit negotiations - on your terms!

Friday, November 12, 2010 - To the person who said manufacturing employees are the ones on the front line:

Some of these comments just don't make sense. In all my years @ YCA I gotta say that, yes, the manufacturing employees work like with blood, sweat, and tears... thank God for them because it takes skill and knowledge to build these products; without them YCA would fail.

But come on now, really, you have no clue what sales and customer service does, (as they have no clue what manufacturing employees do). They work with blood, sweat, and tears... thank God for them because it takes skill and knowledge to process these orders and sell these products, without them YCA would fail. Stop attacking & making problems that don't exist on top of the serious issues that need addressing!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The "Sans" are back: Mizuki-san in Houston and Minaki-san in Newnan. They are for the interim, at least that's the company line at the moment. I don't envy them if they have been tasked with straightening things out in advance of YHQ installing a new CEO-san; they will have to thin out the dead wood and useless layers that have built up over the years.

The only way to effectively do that is take away all of the manager titles (yes, ALL of them, all the way down to and including Product Managers) and consider everyone for those positions based on technical, product and market knowledge.

The managers who know their products, customers and understand how things really work will rise back to the top. They will be part of returning Yokogawa to it's role as an acknowledged technical leader in the industry. The ones who have been riding the backs of their subordinates will sink, and good riddance to them.

If Minaki-san and Mizuki-san clean house and then leave, it makes them the "heavies" and whoever is installed as CEO-san can start anew without the harsh feelings and mistrust that would arise if the new CEO did the housecleaning.

DJ's parroting of the Emerson "Smoke and mirrors" marketing approach has crippled this company and it's time to put us back on the right path.

Thursday, November 11, 2010 - Re: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 -

For my colleague, who I think lives on the planet naivety, I think it is time to bring him down to planet earth.

So, you want to inform our Japanese management that there were major issues surrounding business conduct, misuse of expense and department appropriations, managers manipulating or intimidating employees, carrying out personal vendetta’s, etc. at YCA under DJ’s reign of terror and incompetence.

Who did you think DJ reported to? Do you not think that as the number one US puppet, that DJ could only act with YHQ’s approval.

They of course knew and approved all the payments for ‘market development’ or dumping as everyone else calls it, the management fees paid back to Tokyo that regretfully ended up in a ‘customers’ account to avoid avoided any SOX compliance issues like construed bribery and do you really think that any employee anywhere in the world would receive a $1M bonus check for an account that hadn’t even been signed up at that stage without Tokyo’s approval?.

Get real, DJ left under his own steam and under his own terms. He carried out his own little scams and personal activities because he could do and knew Japan could do nothing about them because of what he knew about how they really did their business in the US.

The party animals that are left are just hoping there case is as strong as DJ’s, but anyway, they won’t suffer like others have done. Welcome back to planet earth.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

As you may have heard, over the past few years of DJ's administration many issues surrounding business conduct, misuse of expense and department appropriations, managers manipulating or intimidating our employees, carrying out personal vendettas, etc., have gone without support for the front line workers. We need to expose this lack of professional behavior and do the right thing without fear of reprisal.

Now that DJ is gone and his inner circle is panicking, we can help shape our future. We can provide evidence of past and current inappropriate activities to the new Japanese management, so they can clear out the managers just trying to preserve a way of life and not do what they were hired for; this has gone on too long.

In a past web log someone exposed medical insurance fraud. If you remember, a short time ago we were asked about this very topic by HR. This request was generated by the discovery of someone who had successfully accomplished this illegal activity, and from what I have heard they are still with the company. These are the things that continue to drag us down. Everyone should help clean house now and look forward to a better working environment and a stronger company.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

1st half financial results are up on the English web site. Loss for the year is expected to be "only" $31M, a little less than the expected loss from the measurement instrument business in the second half.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What this company needs is to cut loose the dead weight of some of the top and middle managers and their picks. For too long, good employees have been overlooked and underpaid becasue they do not fit into the country-club style of management. There are too many BIG "I's"and little "YOU's". Manufacturing employees are the ones that are on the front line when it comes to making a company, not the sales or customer service jobs. Without manufacturing, you would not need the others. This could be a great place to work and retire from, if they would only cut some of the excess baggage and get back to focusing on the employees. Japan needs to clean house and put a fresh new face on.

Monday, November 8, 2010

YHQ's has always emphasized that they want to be seen as a "Global Company". Unfortunately their idea of a "Global Company" is to have the rest of the world do business as they do in Japan. Until they undestand the concept of tailoring each region to what is needed in that region, these problems will never cease.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I am a former YCA employee. I worked there for years, dedicated myself completely to the company, and I know the organization and the individuals very well.

The discussions on this forum do not capture the core of Yokogawa's problem. The issue is not DJ, the GMs, etc. The root problem is Tokyo and senior management's lack of understanding of how to build and manage an industry leading automation company. This issue gets compounded by their inability to market themselves in non-Japanese or non-Asian countries. Any non-Japanese Yokogawa executive will admit this, if asked.

DJ's downfall was in trying to please Tokyo and not telling them to back off and get out if his business. The Japanese will not let the foreign managers run their businesses the way their local customers need them to. Yokogawa covers these deficiencies by always selling cheap and hoping for profit. Hope is a bad business plan.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

To the person who suggested that the bloggers should "shut-up", by in large I tend to agree; however, this entry reeks of upper management. It's just this type of upper management that has masterfully destroyed the morale and confidence of the employees. Everyone here does work, and hard for that matter, we need no reminder of that.

What new team? Just because the DJ is gone doesn't mean that the party train is gone too. His cronies are all still employed. But for how long is the question?

No one disputes either the greatness of our products, or the dedication and hard work of the people who slug it out day after day. This is what makes Yokogawa great. It's the leadership that is in question. I'll say this: if you were part of the party train, then I hope that you're one of the ones to go. Or how about this: YOU can shut-up or do something positive to change morale.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

As many bloggers have alluded to, significant change will not happen at YCA just because DJ is no longer with the company. Unless a "cleaning house" is done from at least the GM level up, it will continue to be the same. Not one of the GM's or VP's had the guts or the knowledge to step up and assess their individual departmental needs and put their foot down. They have all been so scared of their own jobs that they have grown accustomed to just telling the VP's and Pres what they want to hear. They are as much to blame as the Pres for the shape that the organization is in.

There are severe departmental shortages of personal and lack of organization. Most of our GM's and VP's just manage their departments minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, as issues arise. That cannot continue. And what's up with a GM that is located in Houston and his Dept is in Newnan? The guy has never worked inside a company and knows nothing about marketing. He is out of touch with the daily operation of his own department and the departmental needs. He, along with the VP of Marketing, needs to go. Period. No discussion. They both are out-of-touch with how world class companies operate, are organized, and the tools that are needed to increase sales and market their respective products against the competition.

Except for the core people that will not go anywhere, no matter how bad they are treated, more people will leave as the market improves and jobs are created. It took 10 years to screw up the company so it will take at least 5 years to fix its infrastructure. But that has to be done at the grass roots level, and driven from the top.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - Re: the November 2 blog on the insurance fraud:

This type of insurance fraud is a felony. If it can be substantiated more than one person could face some serious charges. This type of fraud can be found under "Falsification of Application" fraudulent information on the form that would otherwise prohibit coverage (e.g., listing a girlfriend as a spouse). The YCA HR and Legal department should be aware of the penalties, both internal and external, to the company for covering this up and to the individual regarding this type of activity.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

One of the things that impressed me when I started with YCA was the depth of technical expertise in the product specialists, the managers and the field sales people. Over the years, and not just DJ's reign, that expertise was either driven away or "Set free to pursue other opportunities".

One of the comments below suggesting that YCA go out and bring those people back expresses a nice sentiment, and there would be no small measure of vindication for those people if they returned. But in all reality it's probably not going to happen; many have moved on and many were let go in such a way that they can't be brought back.

Whoever takes the helm from this point forward needs to bring YCA back to the position of technical excellence it once held. That means promoting based on product and industry knowledge and technical merit. Customers recognize and appreciate someone who knows how things work and will play it straight with them. They've had it with bobble headed smiley faces who wouldn't know the inside of a manufacturing plant if it bit them.

Years of decline and negligence have filled YCA with people from the top all the way to product managers who don't know squat about the products they "manage" and rely on the people under them to look good. There are a couple of good ones, but they're very much the exception.

It's time to get rid of the dead wood and let the real talent take control of things and get back to presenting a good solid technical face to the world.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Now, what the new management needs to consider are all the good/dedicated people that DJ and company have driven off over the past three years. People that breathed, ate and slept Yokogawa and didn't get involved in previous politics and the management team of DJ. Good people are hard to come by, no doubt, but we need them back - all the good people who were either fed up, or were caught in the wrath of past bad mgt decisions. People who wore the Yokogawa "kite" with passion.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I spent much of yesterday speaking to many fellow employees about the departure of the CEO. This has many people opening up about the nonsense going on.

I did hear one thing very disturbing regarding a cover up of insurance fraud that happened months ago. Apparently one of the GM's added his girlfriend to his medical and listed her as his wife. When management found out about this they kept the GM since he was a friend of the CEO and HR in Houston helped cover this up. At the same time many people were getting laid off and the company was claiming cost reductions were necessary. Those laid off went on Cobra then on to whatever they could get or nothing. Many top companies are now requiring proof of marriage to prevent this type of fraud. If this can be covered up I can only imagine how much more will come to the surface now that the CEO is not around to protect his friends.

Monday, November 1, 2010

For supporters and non supporters of DJ, what's next?

The CEO is where the buck stops, but YCA has a long ways to go in the recovery process. Competitors have made a turn for the better from the economic crisis two years ago so it makes it all the more difficult.

There definitely needs to be a "clean house" of middle management, as they are responsible for setting the strategies for their responsible BUs. Most of them have utterly & miserably failed. Strategic middle management sitting in remote places in the comfort of their homes need to be reigned in under one roof.

Employees are the true assets of any organization and the New YCA management needs to quickly assess the top tier performers in the workforce and assure & acknowledge their contributions to the company. This is the only way to regain loyalty and confidence.

One more "rocket science" idea for new management is to do a thorough analysis of all facets of the YCA business. Please keep it simple and objective. Fix what's broken and dont mess with things that seem to be working well.

The days of rosy power points from Middle Management with no substance, deliverables and accountability should be over. It's not all OK and a very objective & practical assessment of performance criterion should be implemented.

It would also be good for the new YCA management to solicit some very "valuable and productive" employees that left or were let go, to consider coming back to YCA.

A place to start would be to invite a few employees from each BU and get their candid feedback on their true feelings of the situation and their ideas on a remedy to those problems. This will quickly flush out the "REAL PROBLEMS". It is incumbent upon the employees called in to provide constructive feedback and do not take the opportunity to bad mouth their superiors but focus on the practical issues, bottlenecks in their respective roles.

YCA needs unconventional wisdom to turn things around. A great read for all following this blog is this book:

MouseEmployees First, Customers Second:
Turning Conventional Management Upside Down by Vineet Nayar

Monday, November 1, 2010

I wonder what DJ will do now? Who would hire him? I'm willing to bet money that we will all soon find out that he is the owner of a couple of newly appointed rep companies he signed on as his kingdom fell!

Monday, November 1, 2010

I think that having this blog is what is helping to clean out bad managers from companies like Yokogawa.

Monday, November 1, 2010

OK - Dave Johnson is gone. What we ALL need to do now is stop airing our dirty laundry for the world to see. Understandably things are not easy in GA and TX. You should all be happy to simply have a job in this economy. I'd suggest everyone treat "work" (you get a pay check every week remember?) like work; dig in, suck it up, and get behind the new team. It could always be worse, and it most certainly will be unless attitudes change drastically.

This is a great company. We have great products. For the most part the employees are excellent. The company may not be perfect, but neither are most of the people complaining on this blog. I say it: SHUT UP unless you have something positive to offer. There is always an easy solution: If you are not happy, LEAVE.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Yokogawa's internal web page has released an announcement that DJ "has moved on to pursue other endeavors..."

It's going to be very interesting to see how they play this to the rest of the world.

Monday, November 1, 2010

DJ is gone, let the house cleaning begin !

Monday, November 1, 2010

David Johson has stepped down. Wonder if they asked him to step down or he did it did it on his own. Wondering minds are wondering what happened?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Praise to Dr. Tony Lee. Thank you for taking action in the removal of Dave Johnson as our president and CEO. This is a great day for the employees of Yokogawa Corporation of America and Yokogawa stakeholders around the world!

Monday, November 1, 2010

They root cause of the problems has quit today! Bye bye general managers...

Monday, November 1, 2010

YHQ finally did something smart. DJ is gone. Now keep cleaning house. There are many in upper management all the way down to the little people. This includes those who don't pull their weight to a vigilante former supervisor who was stripped of the title due to complaints. That person has managed to chase people out of the company. Very few could work for that person or with them. The reign of terror and making the workplace miserable continues in that department. Grudges and hard feelings are not good in the workplace.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Voluntary early retirements, get real. In Japan the manager calls the employee into the office and says, "we have selected you for early retirement, please volunteer immediately." Just another cover story for lightening the load as the plane goes down.

Monday, November 1, 2010 - To the blogger from HR department of Newnan:

The VP of HR is respected in the industry and is a professional in this business. The Newnan HR of unprofessionals is put there by Matt Ray. Morale will get better once our president Dave Johnson gets rid of these guys. These guys are actually spread across business operations of HR, Finance, Accounting, Legal. Matt has always worked against Dave. He has people in YHQ that like him and he knows all the company secrets, so they are keeping him. Dave is far better than Matt.

Monday, November 1, 2010 - Comments on blog from 26th October and others. I read this as suggested, now I know for sure that we don't have the clue on how to get out of this mess. It's just cut, cut, cut, no action plans/ideas, just hanging on until things get better, unbelievable as is the BS for the lay offs.

"Due to these structural reforms, it is expected that an increased number of employees will wish to consider advancing their careers outside the Yokogawa Group." Oh yeah!

To the blogger in YCA that doubts that Newnan won't close, see what happened in Amersfoort and Rota. Time to admit, nobody knows what to do, and feathered nests for senior management is all that counts.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I still don't understand why our company continues to hire upper management, specifically the VP of HR. I cannot see the value added and neither can anyone I talk to! DJ talks about how much money we have to make to cover $1, well how much product dollars are we wasting on this person?

Friday, October 29, 2010

The apparent issue with the company is that it is being run by the sales and marketing forces, who have no sense of the financial implications of running a business, or knowledge of the proper accounting/auditing processes, in order to make a business successful. The sales and marketing staff should be expected to market and sell the products, NOT run the company. No sales coming in? Whose fault is that? Check out the 'quotas' of the sales force. Maybe they should be the next group to be laid off if they are not performing, and get some employees in that know how to do that.

If you look at the background of the majority of the upper management, they are all sales-type people who don't have a clue! If the company would work together to standardize processes according to Best Financial Sstandards Operating Procedures, the whole company would be better off, as would the employees who could keep their jobs.

Most of the departments and management have their own agendas and make decisions according to those agendas. It seems that very few decisions are made that are in the best interest of the company, thus for the employees (to keep jobs). I find it hilarious that these same people apparently don't understand that their behavior will land them without a job, as well.

Looks like the company needs some management staff (that are capable) to make good decisions and tell those that don't like it to "like it or lump it - there is the door if you don't". Management will never make everyone happy, but if you are doing the RIGHT thing for the RIGHT reasons, those that are not happy can just get over it because those are the very ones that have their own agenda anyway and are not team players. Who needs them?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Before joining YCA, I have worked for endusers and competition. I can tell you that Matt Ray does not know our business or accounting for our business.

Thursday, October 28, 2010- Re: "What will RW do after this location is driven out business":

The fact that some managers are promoting someone to a new job that they have no clue about, even to the point where one person has hung on while several others have been laid off, the excuse I didn't know. It's your job to find out what you should have been doing all these years and receiveing pay, something after 20+ years.

The first thing I would do is find out what I'm supposed to be doing. Some of us have not seen an increase in pay in over 3 years, and that is not fair since the majority of SMBD have given each and everytime it has been asked. Morale is the lowest than I have ever seen and still has not hit bottom. Some managers act like their name is on the front of the building, not Yokogawa's. This ship is headed for harder and meaner seas, all because of a few that could be eliminated. Examples LH; DJ; RW; EH; SO and 25% from upstairs who still can't function. This is the first company that I have worked at that rewards those who only want their check and could care less about anybody else.

Let's start rewarding good behavior, and do reviews, so we will know is expected and let YCA know how we see the world from our side. Does this company really what to be #1 in revenue amount, or would it rather be #1 in all areas?

Please send a Japanese CEO, and fast. Getting close to year end. Ask yourself if this compny folds, What are you going to be doing? I plan on finding another job, but if I learned one thing here, just because it looks like gold doesn't make it so.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - Re: "What will RW do after manufacturing is stopped in Newnan?"

What will he do? If he's the head of manufacturing its pretty obvious what he'll be doing. Standing in the unemployment line with the rest of the ex YCA folks, if he has the brass to show his face.

On the other hand, you'd better beleive that he'll have a very nice separation package handed to him, probably enough to flat out retire. Kinda insulting to the rest of us considering his past actions.

As far as Matt running Newnan to ruins, DJ's choked off the inflow of money to the point where it's hard to beleive that anyone could have had a more devastating effect. All Matt did is try to make due with the sales revenue DJ provided. If there's nothing coming in, there's nothing for him to work with. It's like blaming the car for running out of gas when you're the one who forgot to put gas in it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Things are getting worse. What will RW do after manufacturing is stopped in Newnan? Matt Ray bankrupted the business he left Newnan for, and now is about to run Newnan to ruins in his next stint. Hard working folks at YHQ are getting hammered by forced retirements. There is nothing to keep morale high.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mouse"Voluntary early retirements" for non-union people in Japan?

Monday, October 25, 2010

I can see the closure of both Newnan and YSW, but not until Canada and Mexico become self sufficient and efficient. Service departments such as repairs and technical support will stay open unless YHQ wants to commit business suicide in the US. Those departments are must haves to keep the long time multimillion dollar customers such as Shell and Chevron. The call center is doing much better since the restructure. The new manager seems to have corrected morale and hired for brains and personality. From the outside looking in, that group looks relieved to be out of the reign of terror that LH causes. The same can't be said for customer service which LH still has control of. Choosing cocky yes men to fuel his ego and not talent. What does LH do anyways? Harass and irritate his subordinates and walk around with a holier-than-thou attitude? He is good at passing the buck and ignoring problems. YCA needs to clean upper management house. Keep RW, lose LH. He should be the first to go. DJ too.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I have worked in Newnan for a long time, well over a decade, and I've always scoffed at the idea whenever someone suggested that YHQ would consider closing the Newnan facility. They have manufacturing capabilities there that they do not have elsewhere.

It was more likely that they'd close YSW (Houston) before they'd close Newnan. Anything that is done at YSW can be done in Newnan (and was before the Houston Facility was built); but the reverse can not be said. What is done in Newnan cannot be done in Houston and it would involve a huge outlay in capital to build the calibration and manufacturing capabilities that Newnan has, if YSW even has the room to accomodate it.

Now, the big question is, "Is YHQ ready to close Newnan and cease manufacturing in North America altogether?" I honestly have to say that for the first time, I'm not convinced that they aren't.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Europe blogger makes a good observation. Matt Ray and his accounting skills are not in Singapore to keep jobs in Newnan. Headquarters is planning to move manufacturing to China. My guess is that Newnan closing is coming.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

If everything is so bleak, why is YCA still promoting managers, creating jobs and letting the predessors sit back and look down their noses at the people who make the company money; upstairs is doubling, but why, since there is no orders?

The new line out of Texas has a joke for an engineer or tech, whatever his title is today. And why does he get by with saying that RW wants too much control over his company. What is DJ's great one liner "One Yokogawa, working as ONE team" - Ha, ha!

I enjoy the job itself, but I am tired of the long-term employees having their way, no matter how it affects the employees. We all know you have to be in "the IN group"; if not you will never move from where you are now. I think most of the managers at Newnan are afraid of the ones that have new ideas and are willing to go against them. Especially the good ole boy group out of FL, RW and DW. Seems like they keep moving some employees until they find a spot where they can't screw up anything.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Long time since a blog/comment from Europe, I think most people busy keeping their heads down.

I am wondering why our colleagues at YCA do not blog about the soon to be decided closure of either Newnan or Sugarland? The same is for Europe with Harry's dream of one European centre (Amersfoort) sold to YHQ as the United States of Europe, one centralized office for all support/management functions with only sales and service people working from there homes in whatever country the live in. All building contracts have been under investigation for some time and a decision to cut costs is soon happening.

Since Harry was rejected for the board in Japan, he is determined to leave his mark in Europe and has no further use for the "empty suits" he brought in as his replacement for when he went to Japan. This is no longer happening, so he shows no compassion for his own bad choices; he is a machine and not one that has a room temperature.

More core people are leaving each week, the only ones to stay and not complain are the ones with many years here; no one is trying apart from trying not to get fired.

If anyone thinks this is the bull stuff, try to look at the Europe backlog situation and what is forecast for delivery this year. The cupboard is bare, and reports to shareholders only show sales and the no profit, not what the year will really be like. It seems our customers not only have no business to give us, but most now would not if they had any. The empire is collapsing.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Don't think that DJ and MR are just employees like you. DJ is the YHQ's excuse for failure in America, soon a new excuse will assume the role. MR has special talents YHQ needs to run the business, they cannot be without him.

Monday, October 18, 2010 - To the Matt supporter:

You nicely described the "eligible for rehire Yes/No rule". Please let us know what box was checked for Matt himself when he was fired by DJ. As another blogger said earlier, he left the company once, got rehired and was fired again. If he signed a two year contract with Yokogawa, can he come back to Newnan before two years? Dont use the humanity excuse. Matt signed off on layoffs in late nineties when DJ was not in charge. CFO makes all layoff decisions. DJ is not bad. He was not supported by Matt ever since Matt was passed over the job. He has worked to fail DJ since then.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Regarding Matt's new assignment in Singapore, more power to him! He always did well for the Japanese and they love him for it. Too bad he and DJ had a parting of the ways. They got rid of the wrong person, in my opinion. Just another example of what happens when you remove someone's humanity and replace it with an MBA.

As far as YCA's re-hiring policy, its like most other companies. There's a box on the seperation paperwork that says "Eligible for ReHire: Yes__ No__ ". Whether the person can be rehired depends on the terms of the seperation, who they ticked off while they were there, etc, etc.

If you're rehired within a certain peroid of time (a year I think?) you also keep your seniority and earned vacation. A few people have left and come back as managers, keeping vacation and other benefits as if they had never left. Not exactly fair, but most of them weren't keepers the first time through, much less worth rehiring/promoting.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Well, the ex-CFO is now in Singapore; signed his 2 year contract working for them. What does this mean? So I wonder, is he going to be our next pres.? If so, I hope they are going to train him the way he needs to be trained to run a company. I guess we will see what the future holds for YCA. Also, I would like to know what the YCA policy is for re-hires. When YCA lets someone go, and brings them back, why do they get to take as much pto time as they want? They let this guy go in Jan. (did nothing when he was here) then brought him back in June; he took a weeks vacation right when he was hired back. They hired him as a Rep manager over international customer service. Customer service is now divided up in regions, which stinks by the way, and by him being able to speak Spanish was the reason he was brought back. He still does nothing and is taking at least 4 weeks vacation, and was hired in June. He comes in at 10:00 and is supposed to work until 7pm (not) and when he comes in at 10 and decides to take 1/2 day off he leaves at 12:00. Works 2 hrs and then leaves, well is at YCA for 2 hrs, then leaves. That is just not right. That is taking advantage of the company in my eyes. I know employees that are on salary have privleges, that hourly employees don't, but if these are the kind of privleges they get, I want on board. I don't care who they are, that definitely is not right and something needs to be done. He sits and brags about how much time he has taken, and how much more money he is now making. YCA could probably save some money if they look at situations like this. Just saying...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

There is no crisis at YCA. Lights are on seven days 24 hours, and air conditioning is on seven days 24 hours, and energy savings program of no toilet paper is abandoned, and color copies are thrown in trash, and management elite continues to drive Lexuses. Doc Johnson and the party train rides on.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Earlier post says the eastern culture likes Tradition, Heirarchy and Loyalty. It is true, but that same thinking has given YCA the likes of DJ and Matt Ray. Neither of them have the key quality which is 'fit for duty'. I used to work for YCA, but left several years ago. I like the company and the products, but it is no surprise that Uchida, Kaihori, Johnson, Ray who all have been in Newnan have not delivered for YCA while they were in Newnan. But the eastern culture continues to promote them. I feel bad for the situation y'all are in. Wish you the best.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

2009 May DJ tells to industry in Control magazine interview that, "If we add people, we can increase revenue". 2010 October, he tells his employees that since he laid people off, he has increased profit. Johnson has become more conservative. He will continue his winning ways and lay more people off

Friday, October 15, 2010

Doc Johnson and the party train may be out of energy.

Friday, October 15, 2010

News of a shake up in the Systems Group today. Does anyone have any inside info?

Friday, October 15, 2010

A little research suggests that, in addition to the red ink from the Kofu measuring instrument factory, the Sagamihara photonics business (main product: a 40G Optical Transponder) may also be in trouble: the Yokogawa English website mentions the "MSA size compliant" RZ-DQPSK Transponder, but the OIF MSA 100G spec. dated June 2010 does not list Yokogawa as one of the member companies (OIF member company Fujitsu has apparently played a part in developing and marketing the Yokogawa product, as Yokogawa doesn't have a telecomm industry background). The CFP MSA website, on the other hand, lists only five member companies, including Opnext, Sumitomo Electric, and Fujitsu. Opnext has teamed up with Anritsu and announced that they are demonstrating a 100G CFP Module at the ECOC trade show in Italy in September 2010. The global Sumitomo Electric (English) website lists a 2009 award from China's Huawei, as well as a Sept. 2010 announcement that they have just "developed the world's first 40GbE CFP for 40km reach". Fujitsu and Yokogawa do not seem to have announced any major wins (in English or Japanese). So the future for Yokogawa's 10km-reach units looks bleak.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

They have called DJ this since 2005; they like the empty suit. It provides a great target for blame, allowing the highly paid managers in YHQ a long term excuse. The apple never falls far from the tree.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I've been to Japan a few times recently, and I can't figure out why DJ's still in charge of USA. The Japanese openly refer to him in meetings as "The Empty Suit". It's embarrasing...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 - Yokogawa version of an old parable:

A Gai-Jin had just been appointed as the new CEO of a large Control and Instrumentation company. On his desk were three numbered envelopes with a post-it note saying "Open these if you run up against a problem you don't think you can solve."

Well, things went along pretty smoothly for a while. But a year or so later sales took a downturn and he was really catching a lot of heat. About at his wit's end, he remembered the envelopes. He went to his drawer and took out the first envelope. The message read, "Blame the economy." The new CEO called a companywide meeting and tactfully laid the blame on the economic times. Satisfied with his comments, the CEO continued his normal routines as if nothing had happened.

About a year later, the company was continuing to experience a serious dip in sales, combined with serious morale problems. Having learned from his previous experience, the CEO quickly opened the second envelope. The message read, "Force Reduction." So, he laid off many highly qualified, long time employees in the name of saving money. Again, feeling as though he had actually accomplished something of merit, the CEO smiled to himself and went back to his old ways.

After several more disastrous quarters, with the company falling deeper into difficult times, the CEO went to his office closed the door and opened the third envelope. The message said, "Prepare three envelopes."

Guess what DJ. It's time to "Prepare three envelopes"...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

If the post about the past CFO is accurate then it's a pretty clear indication that even the Sans are done supporting DJ. I can't think of any better vindication for the past CFO than to have that show of confidence from the Sans. This could get very interesting, indeed!

Monday, October 4, 2010

It appears that DJ's attempt to remove the ex-CFO have hit a serious snag. Heard that the ex-CFO has been named as a Financial Exec at HQ. Interesting, to say the least.

Monday, October 4, 2010

OK, DJ. Here's a novel concept. Since there have been no productive or effective ideas from middle management or VP's, how about the next round of layoffs come from those same middle level managers and VP's? Give the product specialists and folks in the trenches more autonomy, since they've been doing the real work anyway. And at the salaries made by VP's and managers, you'll get a much better bottom line reduction.

If you think the Managers and VP's have been adding anything to the effort, then ask yourself why there hasn't been any improvement. And don't use the economy as an excuse. It started long before the economic downturn; that excuse is wearing VERY thin. It's stagnant management and myopic, self serving leadership that's put us in this bind. Time to pony up and make some real changes.

Friday, October 1, 2010

It's interesting to see it come back to a comparison of "East vs West". The whole idea of putting a Gia-Jin in charge of YCA was to allow the North American philosophies to be used to further tailor YCA to the North American market; to add that Yankee perspective that the Japanese have never been able to develop. It might actually have worked if they had picked someone who had a clue about what customers want and how to get it to them.

YCA does have someone in upper management with a lot of experience in the field and in front of real customers (aka "not golf outtings") but probably won't listen to him and, if he's smart, he'll continue to nod his head in agreement and just say "Yes, Dave." Not having come out of the Systems Group though, it's surprising that he's made it as far as he has.

Some of the managers are smart enough to recognize that their subordinates are making them look good and are willing to leave them alone to work unfettered; but it's rare. Of course, they're more than willing to take the credit, after all they need something to make them look good. Maybe they need a few more options which would help in those management meetings? Possibly "Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock" will offer a little variety and they'll trip over something that'll work.

Friday, October 1, 2010 - In response to Thursday September 30, "eastern culture vs. western culture"

This last statement looks like the work of YCA management. Apparently it is hard to respond with coherent statements and continuous sentences in response to a previous weblog. Unfortunately writing skills were not part of the "golf challenge / hiring process" HR uses to qualify management.

You may still be recuperating from last weekend, or the pitiful numbers of the first half of the year. Try to address the issues and save the conversations about rap music for the DJ and his party train.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Thanks for the revelations and irrelevant comparisons to "why Yokogawa is the way it is". Do you "draw straws" for the next company suck-up blog or something? I'm sure this task was assigned after many consultations with the "Magic 8-Ball", and the best 2 out of 3 in "Rock, Paper, Scissors".

If the current situation remains, the people with the right skill-set, opportunity, and diligence will leave YCA. YCA is filled with talented and diligent people. Until the company rewards (not recognizes) this fact, the mass exits will begin when the economy presents opportunities.

The system is top heavy and inefficient. Many managers appear to be kept only as figureheads or timesheet approvers for employees that already work independently. If this is the case, either the management role needs to be eliminated, or more responsibilities need to be assigned to the manager. In addition, most employees need little guidance to perform the tasks at hand, but many managers are reducing efficiencies by constantly interrupting productive work with nonsense. For heavens sake, put trust in your people and let them do their job. They only listen to your babbling because they are a captive audience, and fear you'll fire them for saying what they really think.

While I could create a novel with other issues, these are some of the views from the trenches. For the next competitor in "Rock, Paper, Scissors" be careful with the Full-aggression throw of the Rock-Lead. Consider the Half-aggression throw of the Scissor-lead to render a surgical strike to your opponent.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

This eastern culture vs. western culture struggle is sort of like east coast rap vs west coast rap. The west always wins. That's the way the world rolls. Tupac said it best: California knows how to party!

Thursday, September 30, - In response to the September 30 blog,"For those still wondering":

Yes I am wondering how long it took all the mangers to agree on issuing this response on this weblog. Like dogs fighting over a bone, the power elite is probably fighting over who will get the credit for being the author of this one, so that they can stand next to DJ at the next photo op.

Try to spend more time fixing the problems, than criticizing those who have brought them to your attention. I know, it's the end of the month and anything you can do to look good will help position you when the layoff round begins again. Have a happy October!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

For those still wondering why Yokogawa is the way it is: Let's try to remind ourselves of a few basic differences between Western values and Japanese values:

  • Individualism vs Collectivism, group
  • Achievement vs Modesty
  • Equality, egalitarian vs Hierachy
  • Pride vs Saving face
  • Time is money vs Time is life
  • Informal vs Formal
  • Future, change vs Past, tradition
  • Verbal vs Nonverbal
  • Tasks vs Relationships, loyalty
Just because the company calls itself "of America" doesn't mean it runs by American business rules. They are the children of Japan.

The people who survive and thrive at YCA are people who understand the differences and are able to work within the YCA "ways". The ones who write on this blog and put down everyone from the President to CFO to HR to whatever, the flavor of the day is... seriously! If work/life is so great somewhere else, Go there! Yokogawa will go on; it is what it is! The ramblings below hopefully have at least made some feel better.

This really is not the forum to make your personal whining make a difference. And if you thought it was... poor souls.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Yokogawa tech fair April,2008, DJ comments: He described the Yokogawa Maverick Alliance for Chevron (YMAC)-- which is what it will take to service the Chevron Refinery of the Future. According to Johnson, Yokogawa passed Honeywell and became number two industrial automation company globally. "We're on track to become number one by 2010, but we won't stay number one unless we become number one, two, or three in North America. I believe we will do that."

YMAC is dead. We are not number 1.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

YCA is looking to hire another paralegal. Could they be anticipating an increase in the legal workload with the upcoming round of....., Oh, wait. DJ says YCA doesn't have layoffs.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wait minute! to cite an earlier post: "2009 May DJ quotes: "We have about 20K DCS systems installed, and about that many employees. If we add 5000 more employees we should sell another 5K worth of systems".

That's DJ's illustrious business plan?! That's the level of expertise we have running this place? Don't you think it just might be a little more complicated than that? No wonder things are so messed up!

Sunday, September 12, 2010 - Comments in global IA news in 2005:

Global IA News, Newnan,GA, the United States - April 22, 2005.

Yokogawa Names DAVID JOHNSON to Lead North America Business

Atlanta, GA and Houston, TX, April 20, 2005 - Yokogawa Corporation of America announced today that David Johnson has been named President and Chief Operating Officer of Yokogawa's North American operations. Mr. Johnson will have responsibility for all of Yokogawa's North American businesses. He is the first non-Japanese to hold the position.

Mr. Johnson, a 17 year Yokogawa veteran, brings extensive executive management experience in industrial / business automation. Most recently, he ran Yokogawa's North American Industrial Automation Instrument business.

"David is a strong leader with a proven track record managing Yokogawa businesses." said Global CEO, Isao Uchida, "As Yokogawa continues to position itself as a market leader in North America, David is a welcome fit who will ensure Yokogawa's continued success and expansion in North America. David's vast experience with Yokogawa has given him a unique global perspective on our operations. We anticipate further rapid expansion in the U.S. under his leadership."

I worry about YCA but also worry about YHQ. Read previous blogs about the annual reports. Nightmare. Where is this company headed with DJ and Uchida?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

2009 May DJ quotes to control magazine: "We have about 20K DCS systems installed, and about that many employees. If we add 5000 more employees we should sell another 5K worth of systems". "We are now $320 million in YCA. Products are $140 million, systems and engineering $160 million, with services at $20 million. We have 387 employees in Atlanta, 370 in Houston, 47 in Canada and Mexico, and 73 others (our regional sales people). We have had NO layoffs." "We will be moving our HQ to Houston."

DJ is saying that if he adds 5000 employees he will sell 5000 more systems. He should be hiring rather than laying off. Using same logic, since he has laid off 30 percent of his staff, he will sell 30 percent fewer systems. Such insightful words. DJ is saying that we have had no layoffs. It was a lie then and has proven to be a lie since. DJ is saying that HQ is moving to Houston. He still has three of his VPs in Newnan and the company stationary still says headquarters is in Newnan. How long does it take to move or change letter heads?

With such brilliance, management led by DJ and Mr.Ray have caused the collapse of this once fine company.

Saturday, September 11, 2010 - In response to the post: "As for DJ. Affair after affair":

Let us not operate under the delusion that DJ is the only one who can claim this scenario. In fact, it is very much par for the course at YCA. Yes, it is true that this kind of thing happens everywhere, but the unapologetic blatancy with which it happens in this organization is unusual, in my experience. To the other married members of management who have adopted their own definition of "channeling efforts" – you aren't fooling anyone! We know what happens after 5pm and you have lost all credibility and respect in our eyes. And to the employees on the other side of this coin – shame on you as well! The casting couch is no way to get ahead and you only end up being the butt of our jokes!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bookings continue to be abyssmal. Splitting Customer Service into three regional teams hasn't accomplished anything other than diluting the expertise and resources. People with years of experience find themselves losing thier edge on their former areas of focus while becoming the proverbial "Jack of all Trades, Master of None". Another example of an idea approved by those who weren't involved in those functions and didn't know better. Typical Yokogawa decision making process.

There were also DJ sightings in Newnan this week. Given the dismal performance and upcoming end of quarter it can only mean that he's here to personally cull the herd further.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dont blame HR. CFO is responsible for finance. He judges on salary and staff cuts. CEO is asked to approve them to keep paying bills and in end HR is asked to do the work. Both the ex-CFO and CEO have done enough damage over several years. Maybe an outsider can lead better. As mentioned by someone here, you cannot forgive that he jumped ship. Never heard CFO or CEO jumping ship and getting rehired. Never seen one work out yet.

Also, this is not a street fight to decide who gets a chance to turn this around. As an employee, work hard, do your job, serve your clients. In the end they will decide wether YCA win or lose.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The dirty laundry keeps piling higher and higher. Let's air some more from the wonderful town of Newnan. The following story appeared in the local Newnan, Georgia paper two days ago.

Yokogawa donates $40,000 to WGTC Foundation:

Way to go Mr. VP Westerfield, spouting the company line in the article. Yokogawa's terminations and re-hiring for the same positions border on discrimination on several fronts! Westerfield also states that the company's philosophy is being "good citizens". Who is he trying to convince? YCA's actions do not support this statement.

Yeah, West Georgia Technical College is about Yokogawa Newnan's speed. It's core people will always be at the Technician level as long as the same management is in place and their buddies are promoted, and their buddies are promoted, as so on. We have GM's and managers that don't even know how to type or write a coherent paragraph for goodness sake!

This event is a "slap-in-the-face" to Yokogawa employees. Yokogawa's outdated, ridiculously low, almost non-existent educational re-imbursement plan coupled with constant terminations and no salary increases in 3 years makes this one of the most insensitive, moronic things they could do at this point. There are no continuing education classes, management training programs...not even a Microsoft Excel class being offered at Yokogawa!

When many GM's, marketing managers, and product managers are not educated nor encouraged or rewarded to further their education and update their skills, is a donation to a college who doens't even have a technical program in Newnan going help??? Maybe they are thinking strategically? Ha! Get ready for October. I think we all know what will happen again as far as head-count is concerned.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Let's settle this "Current CEO vs Past CFO" issue. Just ask 100 employees whether they want the current CEO to continue or give it to the long term, just past CFO and see what they say. Oh, wait. Do we have 100 employees left...?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - In Response to the Monday September 6, 2010, "CFO comments":

Are you saying that the ex-CFO could do worse than the current CEO as leader of YCA? You are joking, right? Or are you saying he was a potential candidate to replace the CEO and the CEO pushed him out to keep his job? Either way the current CEO Dave Johnson is a candidate for replacement it's only a matter of time.

Dave Johnson has been in the hot seat for months and his support is dwindling, his fate may have been decided by Japan already. The ex-CFO had one of the longest tenures with the executive management team of YCA and was CFO under multiple CEOs. Is he really out?

In the past few years of this weblog, not one weblog called for the CFO to leave. In the case of the CEO it is certainly the reverse. YCA has had many CEOs over the years but never one that has been complained about more than Dave Johnson.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - Commenting on the Sept 2nd blog from HR Management:

You want us to support Management? What about our HR Team getting rid of good, hard-working employees. I do feel bad for the people that lost their jobs. However, I do feel even worse for those of us that are left that still have to put up with you.

No college degree, oh wait, you are attending bible college for the HR Degree. Just a butt kisser that has been given the big bucks. When are you moving in to Arbor Springs to be the neighbor of your friend... the buddy that hired you? As for DJ. It is a shame what he has done to this company. Affair after affair and that is okay with Japan. Can you please keep the next one quiet?

Monday, September 6, 2010 - In response to "To say the former CFO was not supportive":

The ex-CFO tried to lead a company, when the loyal, respected-by-Japan leader traded his loyalty for a a venture into a west coast hi-tech meat company. What came out of it? Do we want a repeat performance of that with Yokogawa North America? I guess not.

Sunday, September 5, 2010 - In response to the Thursday September 2, 2010, "Note from top Management":

Occasionally comments from the power elite reach this weblog but this information was clearly submitted by a top apple polisher in the hopes of a pat on the back or some other type compensation from members of the power elite.

To say the former CFO was not supportive and did not understand the business is lacking reasonable thought. The former CFO had the education, experience, a better grip on the business and financials than DJ and is still respected in Yokogawa North America and Japan. He is respected for his business knowledge and the way he conducted himself in the performance of his work. We sure can't say that about Doc Johnson.

You are right about the new company comment; many of the employees are new, some reps too. Those with experience are left to manage the rookies. Let's not forget the multiple layoffs that took some of the knowledge base with them. By the way, what number fresh start is this?

We have won a water treatment project in the state of California; let's think about this for a moment. Does anyone else see the irony in this? Hope they can pay because we have a large expense bringing in the engineers from Singapore, Taiwan, etc. to work on these projects. A state on the verge of bankruptcy what's next an Enron water treatment project. If this is the new direction we need a new project compass.

The reason we are no longer relying on oil, the projects are being reduced in size or disappearing. Your comment about new markets opening up is confusing you should elaborate on this one so we can ask for raises.

Supporting current management, not sure, we should wait until after the end of September (the end of the first half of FY10). Do not rule out more layoffs and maybe a few other changes.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Someone commented on a Japanese BBS that Japan's main financial newspaper Nikkei Shimbun (nikkei.com) had published incorrect information about Yokogawa, and Nikkei should be severely punished and forced to apologise. The article referred to had already disappeared. Thinking "why are the Yokogawa directors so angry", I did a web search and found that back in April 2009 the Nikkei had pulled an article from their 1994 archives and put the first page, as a teaser, on its online service. (you have to be a subscriber or register to see the whole article). The reason for republishing this article is explained in a preface at the head of it (you can use Google Translate to get a feel for it) -- it says roughly that, "in 2009, when a certain company seems to have lost its way, surely you'd expect a new and capable leader to emerge". This article from the archives is a glowing tribute to former Yokogawa president Mikawa-san. The message is pretty clear. I believe that it's virtually unprecedented for the Nikkei to suggest that it's time for the present management of a company like Yokogawa to be changed.

Mikawa-san didn't merely figure out how to cut costs (and cut prices to competitive levels): another reason that the company couldn't sell overseas was its laughable Samurai English. He hired the first "foreigners" -- specifically to do real-English-language sales and marketing documentation. After just five years, by 1982-3, Yokogawa became wealthy enough for Mikawa-san to engineer the takeover of Hokushin, Mikawa became Managing Director in 1986, Vice President in 1991, and President in 1993. The company held a memorial service (on a weekend) after he died in 1999, and virtually the whole company attended as a tribute to the difference that he had made over about 23 years. (By way of contrast, when former president Yokogawa died it seems that the funeral was a relatively small family affair.)

Thursday, September 2, 2010 - Note from top Management:

What I find amusing is that people spend a lot of time talking about things they don't seem to have any facts about, merely rumor and speculation. As they say, close but no cigar! So I would like to offer a few facts that "I know" are true:

  • The CFO was forced out by our president. He was not supportive and did not understand the business.
  • This is now a new company. We start fresh.
  • We have won a major project in water treatment in California. Our strategy for combustion one, which we announced couple of months ago, will lead us.
  • We are no longer relying on oil and new markets are opening up for all our products and services.
Suggestion, it might be a good idea to support the current management team in these difficult times because they're all we have, and our best chance for recovery going forward.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Correction: "p.62 of the English (Annual Report) seems to suggest that they currently don't have enough money to pay more than about half of the projected pension annuity" should read "p.60": p.60 shows "Projected (retirement) benefit obligation" vs. "Fair value of (retirement) plan assets"

Monday, August 30, 2010

A belated abbreviated English version of the Japanese Annual Report has just been published (August 12) at http://www.yokogawa.com/pr/IR/pdf/2010/2010annual-en.pdf . An English summary of the Japanese Annual Report http://www.yokogawa.co.jp/cp/ir/pdf/annual/2010annual.pdf was posted here in this blog back on July 25 and July 26. The comments that were made then (back in the July blog post) apply to the new English version.

The figure on p.23 of English and Japanese Annual Reports shows that 44% of sales are to Japan, 23% to Asia, 10% to Europe, 8% to the Middle East, and only 6.6% to N. America. But the tables at the bottom of the page show sales in all of the markets shrunk between 2006 or 2007 and 2009 -- except for sales to the Middle East, which jumped (from almost nothing) from 2008.

The Annual Report says that just over 80% of sales come from the Control Business. "Measuring Instrument and other" businesses represent under 20% of sales. The Annual Report also says that more than 60% of Control Business sales come from overseas (and that was true last year too). Some of the "Japan sales" are probably for plants that other companies will export. The figure on p.07 is labeled "Moving towards Break-even point" in the Japanese (just "Break-even point" in the English). (In the one year period through to the beginning of August this year, Omron share price rose 40% and Yokogawa dropped 30%. Omron share price has recently dropped; as of the end of August, Omron share price is up about 17% and Yokogawa down by about 34% compared to one year previously [Google finance makes it easy to do comparisons]).

At the bottom of p.44 of the Japanese Annual Report you can see a table of profit/loss by country. Japan shows a loss of 9,952 Million Yen, Asia a profit of 7,224 MY, Europe a profit of 1,603 MY, North America a loss of 350 MY, and the Middle East a profit of 2,766 MY. So Tokyo's sales figure is 156,061 MY and loss is 9,952 MY, compared with North America's sales of 20,868 MY and loss of 350 MY.

It's pretty obvious where the major problems are - Japan, not America. It seems that the Japanese Annual report has recently been truncated to 48 pages, and this table showing profit/loss by country seems to have been removed from the latest version of the Japanese -- but it appears at p.65 in the English Annual Report. Grab a copy of the English before they truncate that too!

If you look at the "presentation material" for FY2005 (ending in Mar. 2006) at http://www.yokogawa.com/pr/pdf/pr-ir-2005-supplements-en-00.pdf then you can see on p.7 that the company brags that it pocketed 6.2 billion yen by switching regular employees from a lump-sum retirement money scheme to a pension-type retirement scheme. "Gain on transfer of retirement benefit plan" on p.42 of the latest English Annual Report and on p.43 of the Japanese may well refer to long-term contract employees who were not switched from lump-sum to pension in 2005. p.62 of the English seems to suggest that they currently don't have enough money to pay more than about half of the projected pension annuity (this information no longer appears in the current Japanese version). But don't worry about the directors, you can be sure that this is unlikely to affect them.

As you might expect, Customer Satisfaction and Quality Control comes almost last, on p.33. There's even a picture of just one row of the cute young ladies in the "Global Response Center" (mentioned in a July 11 blog post) at the bottom of the page. The caption on the photo says "24 hour per day, 365 day per year customer support". These "vigilant plants" look like daisies to me ;-) but watch out for leap years!

Monday, August 2, 2010 - Subject: "Continuing financial worries":

The situation is more serious than most appreciate. There is a lot of hand wringing going on at HQ as the announcement of the FY2010 1st quarter financial are due shortly, tell the truth or not, that is their question.

The global project orders from the originally budget are only 30% to plan with no reason to believe that this can only get worse before year end, margin reductions mean that sales and GM will be down significantly along with an ever shrinking backlog. The so called toto orders have just died which means basically that the cupboard is bear.

As pointed out earlier, YCA may be struggling, but proportionately will be hit unfairly than anyone else in the next round of cuts. Seems strange the blogger from Yamatake keeps throwing his 2 cents in, what does he know?

Thursday, July 29, 2010 - Re earlier blog - Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - Subject, "Yokogawa/BP/Deepwater Horizon/Business Ethics":

I left earlier this year under my own steam, you could see what was happening all over global Yokogawa, management don't seem to realise that global account/industry/marketing teams develop a professional respect and do actually talk to each other and understand what is around the corner. The smarter ones amongst us that weren't victims of the usual pointless/personal culls had the sense to lie low and wait for our moment of release.

The company now is probably smaller and for sure in far worse shape than it was 10 years ago. No point going over old ground about who's to blame; it all been chewed over before on this blog.

Just before I left, I said it was like the final part of the wizard of Oz and it sure seems like all the mis-demeanours of the past are coming back to haunt them. You can't keep dumping/bribing/loss leading for ever, if the business has no core, it will rot eventually.

As an ex colleague from England UK told me this week, hope it wasn't the same team on the Scottish BP Bruce project that engineered on the Deepwater Horizon, the cover up will be more difficult this time. Shame, I worked with some really nice people there.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beware the "ides of September" and make sure your resumes are updated. August is almost here and another montly meeting will be on the agenda. More "smoke and mirrors", so do not let that lull you in to a false security. Nothing is secure. Exxon will take BP over, just a matter of getting all the paperwork together. Chevron and Shell are running scared in an attempt to make sure they have all their "rig" documentation in order. In November, there will be major changes in Washington, DC. And by the way, Hillary has me alittle jittery too. I am sure all these lame excuses will be outlined in that monthly "town-hall" get together. And I agree to a statement made in an earlier blog.....don't hang too many pictures in your cube. Just less to pack up when escorted out the back door.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Plan on another round of layoffs in September. WTF? SC has YHQ snowed on his capabilities of management. What actually is his purpose besides one who screwer and back stabber. CE is useless...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 - Re Blogs on Yokogawa's continuing financial problems:

I assume the blogger is a colleague not a competitor but none the less, this and other content gives rise to serious concerns about the stability of our organisation.

The borrowing just to stay afloat, reductions in force everywhere apart from Japan and the loss of almost all the projected oil and gas business this and for a few years to come scares the hell out of many.

It is clear to all now that the upper echelons are just feathering their own nests, if any employee failed to deliver as spectacularly as they have done they would have been fired a long time ago. This anti hostile takeover scam just shows what little confidence they have in their own abilities to turn this around.

If we do get tied in with the Deepwater Horizon disaster, this will surely be the end as predicted by the blogger of Tuesday, June 29, 2010, just hope the benefits and pensions are safe.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - Subject : Yokogawa/BP/Deepwater Horizon/Business Ethics:

I'm not surprised that we have a Defcon 1 situation developing in san city (Tokyo HQ for those that dont work here). The situation with BP is every overseas suppliers/contractors nightmare, the principle of the last product standing takes the can. BP are now forbidden fruit especially as they have no money to spend with us. How things change, I clearly remember a debrief of the BP assessment of Centum and prosafe at YHQ from the fall of 2005, where even then we were told that BP were talking about pulling strings and regime cooperation for multiple $Billion deals in Libya, that's why we were so keen to sign them up and the Scots guy from Europe was promoting BP as a bigger and better prospect than Shell or Chevron.

Reading earlier blogs, if BP were operating with such callous regard for safety (see blogs on hiring illegals in Europe/supplying Libya-Iran/reported bribes/hiring ex BP senior decision makers after global contract awarded etc) it's no wonder they have the problems they have, the problem now is that everyone connected with this will be tainted which is not fair.

I'm really angry about what happened in the Gulf but if it's true the issues with Yokogawa in England Europe were reported to BP and their management did nothing but cover it up, BP clearly have internal problems in this area and deserve all they get.

I truly hope and pray that we are cleaner than clean in this, but somehow you just know it won't be the case.

Monday, July 26, 2010 - To the blogger from July 19 2010:

I'd bet dollars to donuts that you're one of the "Power Elite" often referred to, if not closely associated with them and their myopic views. How can you possibly say ..."less than 2 years ago everyone was singing the praises of the American "Leadership Team"..."?

I went back and looked at the blog from that time period, starting with much earlier posts and up to the current ones. There is NOTHING that would indicate that anyone was enthralled with DJ's appointment as CEO 2 years ago, when it occurred 5 years ago, or anytime in between. Indeed, the first post that I found directly addressing the competency, or lack thereof, of the current regime, is just over a year ago (please see Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - "Yokogawa continues its downward spiral").

If you were in touch with the employees you would know that there has never been confidence in this management team. Do not mistake desperation and hope that they would somehow blunder into the right course of action as a vote of confidence. The most recent layoffs have once again shown that the Power Elite is content to follow the same course of action in getting rid of long term employees who have years of product and market knowledge rather than effecting any real change in management style, while at the same time protecting their own interests over that of the company and their subordinates.

Paring down the Systems group may be a step in the right direction. Unfortunately you can only carry a "loss Leader", as it's been called in earlier posts, when you're fat enough in other areas to cover the loss. When the situation is a bad as it now is and margins are a thin as they are, those changes are long overdue. Since the current CEO's background and allegiances are from that group it's hard for him to comprehend that anything to do with the Systems group might be part of the problem. But then again, myopia always has been his strong suit.

As to the past CFO, I'm glad that you are amused by people who, in your words, "spend a lot of time talking about things they don't seem to have any facts about....." I know the past CFO. He has always had a very good relationship with the Japanese. He is well liked and respected by them, and rightly so. He left YCA the first time on his own volition. He came back, again, his decision. He left the last time, once again his decision. The decision may have been leave or move to Houston, but the decision was his and he made it. In many people's minds, it was certainly the correct one.

And one last comment while I have the proverbial soapbox: To the blogger who posted the baseball analogy, Well done, Sir! Excellent! Entertaining, to the point and extremely creative! It's a pity that it's so accurate in it's content. Maybe the Management Marvels' turns at bat can best be summed up as: "Schwing and a miss!"

Monday, July 26, 2010

I overlooked it earlier, but at the bottom of p.44 of the Japanese Annual Report you can see a table of profit/loss by country. Japan shows a loss of 9,952 Million Yen, Asia a profit of 7,224 MY, Europe a profit of 1,603 MY, North America a loss of 350 MY, and the Middle East a profit of 2,766 MY.

So Tokyo's sales figure is 156,061 MY and loss is 9,952 MY, compared with North America's sales of 20,868 MY and loss of 350 MY. Remember that Tokyo can extract huge amounts of money (the maximum legally permissible in each country) as Intellectual Property licensing fees. Even so, Tokyo's loss divided by sales is a much higher proportion than North America's -- it's surely obvious where the problem is. And the solution is to lay off skilled, long-serving foreigners?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Investor Relations page June 28 announcement of "Vote Results of 2010 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders" says that 6.3% of Shareholders voted against the current directors. If this number of NO votes can be increased to about 33% then it seems that the current directors can be turfed out. I believe that in the past they permitted individual NO votes against individual directors, but this year it was a single YES or NO vote against all the directors.

The special two-year-validity "Poison-Pill" anti-takeover measures also have to be renewed (put to a vote again) at next year's shareholder meeting. If there were to be a takeover then the directors would be turfed out, so it's also possible that the anti-takeover measures could be voted down.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

If you look at the 2010 (FY2009) presentation materials PDF on the IR library page: http://www.yokogawa.com/pr/IR/pr-ir-library-en.htm

  1. You can see from 2010 (FY2009) Operating Income by Segment (p.11, labeled p.10) that huge losses on the Measuring Instruments business almost wipe out all the Control business profits, and
  2. You can see from Trend of Cash Flow (p.14, labeled p.13) that in 2007 they had a 20.8-51.0-30.2 or 61.4 billion yen net negative cash flow. Having to walk into their bank and ask for a loan of maybe 50 or 60 billion yen (half a billion dollars) cash to pay salaries & bills completely blew their credibility, which is why they needed to call on political cronies to get the 25 billion yen government-backed "hybrid loan" that they announced in IR News on the web site on Feb. 23. Without a government guarantee that the money would be repaid, banks would be reluctant to loan money to such an undisciplined and clueless company, and (as they say in their Feb. 23 news item) they need 20 billion yen of this 25 billion loan to repay a loan that's due this year. You can see that even one year earlier they looked about to dive into negative cash flow, but maybe they didn't understand what negative cash flow meant at that time :-(
If you look at the 2009 (FY2008) presentation materials PDF on the IR library page, on p.15 (labeled p.14) you can see that -- even then -- losses on the Measuring Instruments and related businesses almost wiped out all the Control business profits.

The new Japanese Annual Report says that just over 80% of sales come from the Control Business. The Measuring Instruments and related businesses represent under 20% of sales. The Annual Report also says that more than 60% of Control Business sales come from overseas (and that was true last year too). It's not clear what proportion of "Japanese domestic sales" are for control systems that are part of plants that are exported by "Japanese domestic" customers. The Measuring Instruments business, on the other hand, has an export-sales ratio of just less than 50%.

The table on p.23 of the Japanese Annual Report shows that 44% of sales are to Japan, 23% to Asia, 10% to Europe, 8% to the Middle East, and only 6.6% to N. America. But the tables at the bottom of the page show sales in all of the markets shrunk between 2006 or 2007 and 2009 -- except for sales to the Middle East, which jumped (from almost nothing) from 2007.

The funniest part of the Annual Report is surely the CSR page (p.27) which trumpets International Human Rights, and the rights of Labor Unions and Working Mothers. This is something that they will surely never translate into English or Chinese ;-) Foreigners (like YCA and YEF people) are the easiest to screw or lay off in bad times. At the start of the Kuwait war, most Japanese companies in Bahrain shuttered shop and turfed their foreign employees on the street. You can't trust foreigners -- even long-time employees -- to run the business, and you can't expect Japanese to work in dangerous conditions, can you?

As you might expect, Customer Satisfaction and Quality Control comes almost last, on p.33. There's even a picture of just one row of the cute young ladies in the "Global Response Center" (mentioned in an earlier post) at the bottom of the page. The caption on the photo says "24-hours-per-day, 365-days-per-year customer support". Watch out for leap years!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The problem for us is a serious one because BP was supposed to account for at least 60-70% of global project work over the next 2-3 years and now all these projects are cancelled. The same is true for Shell and Chevron but for different reasons; Chevron aren't placing business because of the relationship issues in Europe and the US because of the failing projects. If you are not worried about your futures you should be. Japan only takes care of and trusts Japanese persons; Europe and US have layoff policy - Japan none! Follow me and leave while you can.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Headline from Automation Insider, "Yokogawa snubs WirelessHART users at the launch of the ISA100.11a wireless transmitters":

More shooting of ourselves in our feet (or market share) "ISA100 is the standard that has been developed by the user community, and expresses the wishes of the users, rather than the approach imposed by vendors (i.e. our competitors, specifically EMERSON), as exemplified by WirelessHART" said our appropriately named Joost van Loon, Yokogawa Europe director of industrial automation.

Now the automation community outside of Yokogawa can witness the stupidity heaped upon the organisation and colleagues by these inexperienced "business warriors". These comments were made public at Yokogawa User Conference, held in The Netherlands on 24-25th June. Customers I spoke to were aghast that Yokogawa were going alone (perhaps with Honeywell, but they are not a force these days) just after wireless Hart has been announced as EC Approved Standard (IEC 62591Ed. 1.0). One remarked this is like 20 years ago when Yokogawa refused Hart for the Brain protocols. We are going backwards, against the needs of our customers and the people at the top don't understand enough about the technology or the market to see any differently. This is Loonacy!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Why do companies fail? Their CEOs offer every excuse in the book: a bad economy, market turbulence, a weak Dollar, hundred-year floods, perfect storms, competitive subterfuge -- forces, that is, very much outside their control. But a close study of corporate failure suggests that, acts of God aside, most companies founder for one simple reason: managerial error, do you believe Yokogawa Management in the USA and it's CEO made any mistakes or not... (YMAC, Canada, Mexico, 3 Sales Vice Presidents in 4 years, Yokogawa Southwest dismantling and many others, do not forget the massive hiring).

Friday, July 23, 2010

The only thing that is disturbing at Yokogawa in USA is the lack of vision and planning that caused 3 layoffs in one year. Should everything be blamed on the economy?

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Annual Report has just appeared on the Japanese web site -- http://www.yokogawa.co.jp/cp/ir/pdf/annual/2010annual.pdf -- but nothing on the English web site. Maybe I can provide an English summary later...

Friday, July 23, 2010 - Subject: Yokogawa and BP:

The blogger from 6/29 seems to have caused a panic attack within the upper ranks in san city. The deepwater horizon rig was built by Hyundai in Korea and guess who supplied the DCS and ESD. Hyundai has been a major client for years.

If major modifications have been made after commissioning but records have not been updated, then big san would be panicking, especially if the mods were performed by a subsidiary in the land of unlimited liability. It seems like some Enron style shredding of data is on the cards.

The comments from the blog of 7/19 also ring true about global support. If BP is such an important global account, why are service activities not globally transparent within Yokogawa? What started out as a jokey comment about the control system on deepwater made them realise what has happened and who supplied it!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I am a current employee who previously did not care nor pay attention to this weblog as I actually have a job to do and am grateful for it. But after hearing rumors for the past few months, I thought I would give it a look. After reading much of the dialog I would like to offer my opinion.

What I find amusing is people spend a lot of time talking about things they don't seem to have any facts about, merely rumor and speculation. As they say close but no cigar! So I would like to offer a few facts that "I know" are true.

  1. The CFO did not leave the company by his choice.
  2. The recruiting of the new VP of HR, an apparent hot topic with many bloggers, was originally initiated over 2 years ago by the CEO and was actually only approved this year by YHQ management. We now have a very experienced and professional VP of HR and this happened within 60 days. Does anyone really think YCA management can just add a Sr. Level manager without the approval of YHQ? Japan still pulls most of the strings.
  3. The economy has a lot more to do with YCA's current status than incompetent management. Seems funny if not almost silly that less than 2 years ago everyone was singing the praises of the American "Leadership Team", now a few disgruntled people are throwing them all under the bus and asking for the Japanese to come back to run the company. Be careful what you wish for - I was with YCA when we were an 100% extension of YHQ - there were still layoffs, the direction was not clear, and the all employee meetings were very long and painful, I for one couldn't understand most of what was being said. Don't think I was alone.
Suggestion, it might be a good idea to support the current management team in these difficult times because they're all we have. Perfect NO, collectively experienced YES, our best chance for recovery going forward -I think so.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I started to work at Yokogawa in June 1984. I had great pride in YCA,I started in production and moved in to YTR in my 17th year. I no longer work at YCA/YTR.

When I started we never had lay-offs. If we didn't have orders we helped in other departments, washed compahy-cars and cleaned the parking lot. Early USA management and managers from Japan did not belive in lay-offs.

I resigned from YCA/YTR after 18 1/2 years, I had made it thru 7 lay-offs. I saw friends and long-term employees laid-off and employees that were friends with management promoted. To save my own peace of mind I left it was a hard decision, but it was time. I had nothing to gain by leaving, I was able to sleep at night without a lay-off hanging over my head.

Friday, July 16, 2010

You don't need Finkelstein, Collins or anyone else to understand how bad it is. If the customers aren't buying, and the employees don't have confidence in the leadership, it's time for a change.

Friday, July 16, 2010

And so the layoff of the summer of 10 begins. This is almost 13 months after the 09 summer and 6 months after the last big one. This one affected mostly systems, still no money hogging upper management and elite affected. waiting until there are no employees left. Morale is gone, just waiting for the axe.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The "Playing with Pigs" advice in Jim Pinto's "Urge to Merge : 2000" article is spot on! ;-)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"It is the bottom of the ninth inning of game 7 for the Yokogawa World Series. The champions of the Yokogawa American Division, the Management Marvels, are up 8-1 over the National Division winners, the Workforce Wizards. The Wizards have two men on with 2 outs, and unless they produce a miracle in these final moments, they will face elimination. On deck...Newnan Nick. The curve-ball closer for the Marvels, Dane Johnston, has already struck out Steve Systems and forced Eddie Engineering to pop out. On second and third are Transmitter Tom and Shawn Safety, respectively, who were able to advance thanks to a wild Proposal pitch.

"Newnan Nick takes his place in the box, adjusts his gloves, and glares back at the mound, knowing that Dane Johnston only throws the one pitch. Johnston winds up and delivers..."Strike one!" Nick steps back, takes a breath, and looks to the dugout for a sign. Unfortunately, the bench is nearly empty and the manager is nowhere to be found. He steps back up, a lump in his throat, trying hard to muster up the last bit of courage he has left. Johnston comes in again with the curve ball, but this time Nick gets a piece of it. A foul and strike two, the Marvels are only one strike away from a victory.

Johnston casts a cocky glance towards Nick and steps back onto the rubber. He appears to be squeezing the life out of the ball as he places it into his glove. Nick, knowing that the hopes of the Wizards are riding squarely on his shoulders, pounds the bat against the plate. He raises the bat and exhales, waiting on what is likely to be the inevitable ending to this matchup. Johnston heaves the pitch, a curve ball that comes inside and high. It's a swing and a miss. Strike three! Marvels win!"

Take heed Newnan Nick...the curve ball has already been pitched across our plate and is headed your way. I say you charge the mound!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Both the Sydney Finkelstein 2004 book "Why Smart Executives Fail" and the Jim Collins 2009 book "How the Mighty Fall" carry a similar message, and even share several of the case studies. The former book's chapters on "Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful People" and the concluding "How Smart Executives Learn" are real gems.

Jim Collins points out that "Any exceptional enterprise depends first and foremost on having self-managed and self-motivated people - who accept responsibility, (then) you don't need to have a lot of senseless rules and mindless bureaucracy". Collin's table of "Leadership Team Dynamics: On the Way Down versus On the Way Up" is particularly good ("blame other people or outside factors for setbacks, mistakes and failures").

Finkelstein mentions "greed, cronyism, and denial" and says to be wary of control freaks and cowboys, and "place(s) where asking questions only gets you into trouble". "Rather than expecting CEOs to know, we should be expecting CEOs to create an organization that will know".

Maybe the easiest criteria for predicting success or failure is worldview -- "zero sum gain, divide and conquer, winner takes all, North-Korean-style "Great Leader" versus "Openness, Teamwork, and Diversity". "Zero sum gain" means that if the directors want more money, they need to screw their employees and their customers. Think about it. Such a "winner takes all" mentality is not sustainable. There's a limit to how far you can screw your employees and your customers -- and lost trust or lost credibility is not easy to recover. The opposite of the "zero sum gain" model is the "goodwill" model -- i.e. "a good team with diverse talents can be worth far more than the sum of its parts". This is the same model as the surgical team model in Frederick Brook's "Mythical Man Month".

Two of Japan's most famous turnarounds are Nissan and Sony -- and both picked non-Japanese as their CEOs. The Nissan site showcases the need for diversity -- and explains why it makes good business sense. Sony's site also promotes diversity. But Google for "Yokogawa diversity" (without the quotes) and it will get you only one "Emproyee's Coment". Pathetic.

Surely Yokogawa is increasingly moving backwards toward the "Great Leader" model, discarding one or two directors every year, removing from its financial reports information that first-rate companies continue to provide -- like "number of employees, average salary".

Similarly-sized but successful companies like Yamatake share the credit for their success among quite a large number of key executives (listed in their reports); Yokogawa reports blame outside forces for its continuing decline.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I am surprised the Japanese allow a high school graduate to run their North American business. YHQ has always prided themselves on hiring only from the top engineering schools in Japan. It would be one thing if he was a real rainmaker.... I guess 12th grade woodshop is all the training one needs to run a Yokogawa company!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The CFO who just resigned was the only one who could challenge DJ and the only one of the Corp Elite who had any business sense. With the CFO out of DJ's perfectly groomed hair.... will he have another season to run?

Sunday, July 11, 2010 - Virtual smoke and mirrors at the shareholder meeting

Every year, after the shareholder meeting, there's an exhibition of company products (this year there was nothing new of note, of course) and a view through the window of the "Global Response Center".

The "Global Response Center", a huge glass-windowed area next to the hall (above the entrance lobby) where the Shareholder Meeting is held, is supposed to be where support for problems in Yokogawa control systems is provided, according to the explanation.

It's "manned" by a couple of dozen young ladies who look like the rental mannequins you find at consumer electronic shows and motor shows in Japan. But the sign says "no photographs", what a waste!

Strangely enough, nobody asks, "if Yokogawa control systems are so reliable, why do you need so many computer screens and so many lovely young ladies".

If you were to ask, "Is it really a *Global* Response Center - surely most of the girls don't speak fluent English or Chinese?", they'd admit that "No, there are other Global Response Centers overseas -- in Singapore, Europe, and America, for example".

The girls don't look like support engineers, either, but it might be rather embarrassing to ask about that. Although the the girls undoubtedly have mirrors (in their bags) to adjust their makeup, there are no mirrors to be seen -- and it's a smoke-free (non-smoking) environment. The smoke and mirrors are purely virtual! Maybe it's Yokogawa's image of the next generation Star Wars starship control room?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I agree that they need a new CEO, but NOT another "San". They've shown that they just don't get how to conduct business here.

The Systems business here is, and always will be, a loss leader. The Japanese can't wrap their heads around that either. They dominate the market in Japan, so it's inconceivable to them that it could possibly be different here.

Previous CEO-Sans were here for a few years, and spent the first year getting settled in and trying to figure us out. They spent the next year or so trying to influence how we did things, then the last year or so coasting until they went back to Japan. All the while, they kept Japan in the dark as to how things really ran over here. Why disillusion YHQ with reality when you're going back there in a couple of years? It's known as a "Career Limiting Move". Better to snowball them so things are easier when you go back to YHQ.

Installing another CEO-San only perpetuates the cycle that repeated many times before DJ took over. The only difference with DJ is that he doesn't have the luxury of waiting things out and leaving a steaming pile for the next guy to deal with, like previous CEO-Sans. He's it, and it's all catching up with him. If there's someone in upper management who does have what it takes, let him have a shot at it. He can hardly do worse.

Friday, July 9, 2010

What YCA needs is another "san" as CEO. They gave an American a chance and 'twas a dismal failure. The "systems" bidness just ain't where the money is....despite what DJ might be thinking. We've got a Japanese CFO now (because the one we had has the good sense NOT to move to Houston)....PLEASE let's get another one as CEO!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Even if the Japanese finally figure it out and get rid of DJ, do they have the courage to replace him with the right person or will they simply fill the slot with another "Paper Tiger"? Unfortunately, DJ's had five years to saturate the top levels of the Power Elite with layer upon layer of seemingly incompetent men.

They need someone tons-o-sales experience, theb"in the plant kind". Someone who has done everything from spending time on the plant floor with technicians to meeting with engineers and Board members. Someone with the technical product knowledge as well as an understanding of a manufacturing operation. If you start out on the street and work your way up you get a whole different perspective on what the customers need and how they want to be treated.

Yokogawa does have one person in the upper management structure who fits that description and actually understands YCA/YIA/JYC, call it whatever you like. Good luck getting the Japanese to give anyone with that kind of experience a shot at straightening things out!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

YCA has had layoffs over the last few weeks. They have been kept quiet by varying the number and location of the layoffs. This is an across the board layoff that is not finished. Top management is under pressure to produce results by the end of September. Little hope is on the horizon for a short term turnaround so expect more changes.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

More YCA employees are not waiting for the next round of layoffs which are just around the corner; some are leaving on their own. Most employees have had their resumes updated and out on the Internet job-search sites. Why wait till the next (quiet) Friday when you see employees led out the back door where the police are standing? Why wait for the next monthly meeting of charts and graphs depicting the red, yellow and green dots? Just another excuse for DJ to "toot" his horn. I think he has tooted too much. And if you think "he" (DJ) hasn't had his resume updated and on the street, you need to think again. When the CFO gets a different position, who do you think is next in line?

Friday, July 2, 2010 - In response to the blogger on July 1st:

Not all the temps are inexperienced and many work harder than the true permanent employees. Some have been there so long the permanent employees do not realize they are temps. So to say get rid of the temps first is such a discriminatory and shows great idiocy. The temps are cheaper than the perms, so to save more money the slacking permanent employees should go. I can named quite a few right now. You are just a scared permanent employee who wants to create a smoke cloud so that you feel you are safe and probably one who does not work that hard. But remember that no one is safe...

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Japanese have NEVER understood the American market or mind set. To say that they are supporting DJ in an attempt to deliberately drive YCA into oblivion is giving them way too much credit. It's more likely that they finally recognized the fact that they don't know how to conduct business here and have resorted to letting a Giajin give it a try.

Unfortunately DJ's making the same mistakes by isolating himself from the people in the trenches with folks who look good on paper but have no clue how the real world works. You can't run a company with Managers holding Mail Order MBA's and whose biggest acheivement is playing rugby with the guys at prep school in Singapore. Sounds worldy, but it doesn't mean squat.

DJ is failing miserably and the bottom line is that he apparently has no more of a clue than the Japanese did when they turned it over to him. All of this is, of course, just my opinion.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

If Yokogawa has another layoff, the temps should be the first to go, and not the regular permanent employees. We've been hit hard enough. Temps are all newbees anyway, which makes them the low man on the totem pole. Get rid of the temps.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

If you understand Japanese culture, and their risk adverse nature, you will know that what is really happening here, is that YHQ is supporting DJ in closing the business in America. The folks at YHQ are not idiots, and would not destroy YCA unless it is what they had in mind.

For a moment, imagine that you are running a foreign company in the USA. Would you be interested in working in an environment of unlimited liability, and laws that are changed and become retroactive? Imagine if a Yokogawa DCS was implicated in a plant explosion, or other disaster. Yokogawa would be ìNationalizedî by Honeywell purchasing the shares at 10% of the fair market value. Look at what is happening to BP and you will soon understand what America has become. I predict that Exxon will take out BP at 10 to 15% of $62.38 (52 week high), and all will be very happy as Exxon will cover the former American Employees pension commitments that BP could no longer keep.

Yokogawaís risk/revenue attributed to USA sales has now approached infinity, itís time to shut down!

Friday, June 25, 2010 - Re the Thursday, June 24, 2010 ñ Message to Japan:

I believe Mr. Johnsons degree was for a train engineer. The party train...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Car program? You are lucky you have a desk and it hasnít been used for fuel to fire the boilers. I donít know if anyone is aware we donít have the work to support the staff we have. The staff seems to be living like Guantanamo detainees, only aware of what is happening within your own cube. For those who have been hired recently please donít spend time hanging pictures in your cube no need to get comfortable you may not be here that long. The most important thing you should be aware of is to treat the CEO like a rock star. Donít be afraid to use plenty of Chap Stick, take a lesson from anyone in the power elite.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Interesting how this blog recently picked up again. This always seems to happen before...............hmmmmm.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I am very disapointed that the VP of my division is so short sighted in supporting the best decisions for YCA. As other blogs have noted, upper management is all about "ME" and nothing about "US", "sales people" are so involved in internal politics they don't sell, etc. I heard there was a car program presented to upper management and that my own VP was not supportive of it! I, personally, would like a new car and I would not mind having my activity tracked. Maybe some of my couterparts would get out from behind the phone and actually make some personal visits to customers. Not sure why anyone thinks the products sell themselves. Upper management needs to get over it! Do they not realize that if the company goes down, they do too! I do know that unemployment would no way compensate them for the lifestyle they are accustomed to... If they don't want to participate in the car program, I would venture to guess they make enough money to pay for their own car!

Thursday, June 24, 2010 - Message to Japan:

Help! The current CEO in North America (DJ)is not qualified to run this business. He has abused his power and used YCA as his personal playground since the Japanese left 5 years ago. No one will follow this guy... in good times or bad. His open womanizing, partying, promotions of his golf and tennis buddies are a disgrace to Yokogawa's 50 years in North America.

Look at his bio on our intranet boasting of not one, but 2 engineering degrees. Anyone who has spent more than 10 minutes with him in a meeting know he's not an engineer.

Hold on Engineers... 6 months since the last layoff. Wer'e due for another round... the sales boys haven't produced any orders, even though DJ hired more of them since the last engineer cut. The engineering ranks contniue to be trimmed, while the sales boys are laughing and scratching all the way to the bank.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Another quote from Larry Kersten that is appropriate for the YCA debacle that sounds like the moto of our CEO: "If you're not a part of the solution, there's good money to be made in prolonging the problem".

Thursday, June 24, 2010

This month ends the first quarter of FY10. Losses, cutbacks and more layoffs are due so it's business as usual at YCA. Those in the trenches take a beating while the power elite continue to get fat on high salaries and unlimited expenses. Donít worry the lucrative business we need is in the pipeline just temporarily stuck. Someone needs to get the plunger, unclog and flush this mess along with the current management.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

RE: "Yokogawa HQ Japan has no knowledge of YCA is doing":
If they don't know, it must be by choice or incompetence. There are plenty of ears on the ground with direct ties to Japan.

RE: "How can one hand not know what the other is doing? With the modern technology of video conference, email and cellphones, how could this possibly occur?"
Choice or incompetence. To quote Larry Kersten "Incompetence - When you earneslty believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there's no end to what you can't do"

RE: "YCA need to have a Japanese CEO to bring it back on line as it once was and recover from its current mistakes."
You're probably right, but if the problem has been ignored for this long it may not be the lesser of two evils.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Yokogawa HQ Japan has no knowledge of YCA is doing. You have GM's planning vendettas (complete with falsified information) and with complete support of the CEO of that division. How can one hand not know what the other is doing? With the modern technology of video conference, email and cellphones, how could this possibly occur? YCA need to have a Japanese CEO to bring it back on line as it once was and recover from its current mistakes.

Sunday, June 20, 2010 - Re. posting dated Thursday, June 3, 2010 (correction & extra info.):

Yamatake's US subsidiary is capitalized at US$20.8M (correction). Yamatake's Chinese subsidiary is capitalized at about US$8.9M.

The table on p.5 appears to show that, over the past four years, Yokogawa has wiped out about 1/3 of its assets (and its assets per share); over the past two years its *losses* amount to about 200 yen ($2) per share.

By way of comparison, over the past two years, Yamatake assets have increased by about 8% and its *earnings* per share total about 213 yen (about $2) per share.

Incidentally, the Yokogawa directors have halved their bonuses compared with last year, but still appear to pay themselves more than the Yamatake directors get. After all, Yokogawa's losses per share are comparable to Yamatake's earnings per share. ;-)

JEMIMA is the Japanese equivalent if ISA, and last year Yokogawa apparently could not afford to exhibit at the JEMIMA annual show.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I agree with the low morale and firing of best employees. Upper Managers, as well as, low level employees have personal vendettas against middle management. How can you give an exemplary review to an employee and at the same time say they are a bad manager? Get the politics out of the business and concentrate on production, sales, and maintenance of the qualified employees that you currently have.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

For the first time, it seems, an English version of the Shareholder meeting notice has been produced, the "Notice of 2010 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders" in the Investor Relations section of the Yokogawa.com site.

In table 2(b) on p.5 you can see that the Yokogawa parent company has wiped out about half of its net assets in just five years. On p.6 you can see that Yokogawa Corporation of America is capitalized at only US$1000. Surely this can only be to fly under the tax radar -- I understand that comparable subsidiaries of other Japanese companies (such as Yamatake's US subsidiary) are capitalized at about US$1M. Massive amounts of money have been poured into China -- Yokogawa Electric China is capitalized at over US$43M, and Yokogawa China is capitalized at over US$17M. This seems far more than competitors such as Yamatake have tied up in comparably-sized operations in China.

Notice on p.9 that the number of employees in the loss-making test and measurement business has been split off from those in other business segments. It appears that there is a strong possibility of this part being sold off or shut down.

Notice on p.13 that the seven in-house directors now get over $US333,000 average bonus -- in addition to employee salary. Note 4 says that company rules allow the directors to bump their bonus up to nearly four times this amount.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Does Yokogawa Corporation of America have a "vision"? I don't believe the current leadership have a vision or a statement of vision. Without a clear vision and a plan it is likely that the company will experience a major failure very soon. Other signs showing at in the company:

  • There is low employee morale
  • Internal politics are more important than doing the job well
  • Employees stop telling positive stories about the company
  • Leaders stifle initiative
  • Leaders talk about growth with no clear plan and strategy
  • Bureaucratic procedures impede flexibility
  • There is a tendency toward superficiality
  • Problem-makers outnumber problem-solvers
  • There are few rewards and recognition
  • Management spends more time inside than outside headquarters
  • Sales Employees spend too much time focusing internal operations
These are signs of a failing company.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I do not think the round of layoffs are over. The current employees are running scared and with all the false graphs and bar charts presented during those monthly meetings... it is all "smoke and mirrors". The upper and middle management "hope" to display a great picture for the future, but here again, only smoke. YCA must diversify and not have all their salesman "try" and get the "big one" from the oil companies. There are many major companies (not just oil) out there needing new and updated installations of process controls and automation. It is just too bad YCA has "blinders" on and they have let valuable people go, who had the insight and intelligence to accomplish major changes. Too bad, too late. It will take years, not months, for YCA to rebound, even if they ever do. With the current leadership at YCA, it will never happen as long as the "smoke and mirror" mentality continues.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I am glad to see Yokogawa trying to fix the mess they made with all the layoffs. Sadly, I don't feel it will help them much as they let some great employees go and kept some poor ones. There are still areas in the company that are lacking support and the morale is so low. If the employees could they would leave like rats jumping from a sinking ship. Until they fix the employee gaps they have currently and bring back some of the hard working employees, they will have no hope. By continuing to cut in some departments and yet still creating more duties, they are running the employees into the ground. Wake up HR and Managers, listen to the supervisors and employees, they need help to achieve the far fetched goals you hold so dear.

Thursday, May 20, 2010 - More changes at YCA.

Customer Service and Production Control have been moved from being part of Marketing and are now under the control of Manufacturing. They've been split into three teams and will work staggered shifts so that reps in the other time zones can have someone on their schedules. The choices for the three Managers heading up these groups is interesting, to say the least, but I hope it works.

The Customer Service folks are suppposed to carry after hours cell phones now and will be taking calls at home. Whether or not this will help us get more orders will have to be seen, but you have to wonder how much they can do from home without the computers and inventory reports in front of them.

Interesting approach, I hope it's productive.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hire the best, then fire the best; first years as sweet, then they beat you down til they have used you up. Banishment and cut you off, want you to do managers work when not manager no more...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Gee, they can change upper management but not get rid of the crappy GMs?

Friday, May 14, 2010

The financial results have been published on the English and Japanese web sites. It's not mentioned on the English web site, but the Japanese web site says that, as of the June 25 Annual Shareholder meeting, Uchida will no longer be one of two representative directors (along with Kaihori); rather Kaihori will be sole representative director. Uchida remains as chairman, and Kaihori remains as president.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The news about the YHC (Yokogawa Human Create) subsidiary being shut down appears on the English web site at www.yokogawa.com/pr/pdf/2010/20100202-03-en.pdf (February 2 item under Investor Relations www.yokogawa.com/pr/IR/pr-ir-index-en.htm )

Monday, May 10, 2010

What a shame, when Yokogawa feels they have to demote people, who don't deserve it. The Human Resources Department is a joke - you ask for assistance only to have your OWN words twisted to their [HR] advantage and thrown back into to your face. Maybe, instead of stabbing people in the back, HR and the current GMs, should support the people you have.

Is it not the responsibility, of the HR department AND the GM to support, investigate and resolve problems with in your division when assistance is asked of you? How many others do the HR department and GMs plan on screwing over?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Both Shimadzu and Yamatake have similar market capitalization to Yokogawa, Horiba has a bit over half the market capitalization, but Yokogawa has been showing negative growth and lagging the others over the past five or ten years. Shimadzu and Horiba have shown significant and consistent growth over the past five years, but Yamatake is also ahead.

Saturday, April 24, 2010 - HR...HR...HR...:

Isn't this the same thing that YCA has been doing for years? Laying off good employees, code it as a reduction in force with the DOL then hire back for those same positions? If it was a true reduction in force and you find yourself needing those postions again, why not look to the folks you layed off? Can someone please inform the DOL. I've read several HR blogs where the Management Team in HR states that people interviewed good and didn't produce...can you say fire...not reductions in force. Because the HR Team (and that is another point of laughter) has nothing in place to determine if anyone is really performing well, they just rely on who they are friends with, people only really get "reduction in force" if they don't fit in with the clique.

Why I say "HR Team" makes me laugh - no "team" work in the group. Just a bunch of people talking about one another seeing who can get the biggest title. Lets see who'll win...the former secretary moved to HR after YCA...non YCA...then YCA again, person that knows how to suck up with the higher ups.

These are people's lives. Some people have lost everything over this. I'm ashamed that I work for a company that does this to people. I was really sad to hear about the women and how they are treated. As a husband and father it makes me sad that we have companies in the US that torment employee's when they are out on maternity leave. And to top that off...we don't allow our older people to retire. That is such a true fact that I read in a previous blog.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The CFO's last resignation was to enable him to go to work for another company in California. After a couple of years he came back to YCA. I do wonder about his timing now though. Things are very different than the last time he left. He's a little young to retire, but he has done well over the years and has more than enough set aside to not have to work. Besides, not everyone thinks highly of moving to Houston. The Japanese love him as he has always done well by them. But I have to wonder if he doesn't see the oncoming headlights and has decided it's inevitable. Can't say that I blame him.

Sunday, April 18, 2010 - Response to; ìone of the General Managers promoted a Global Major Acct manager to director level."

The writer is correct about the spouseís employer ñ after 28 years of marriage and throughout those years working for several competitive companies, professionalism and integrity have always prevailed. Simply put - not once has there been a breach nor will there ever be ñ period!

Regarding experience and position: In this persons career spanning over 30 years in the oil and gas industry there has never been a promotion garnered by standing on the shoulders of a friend or associate. Any and all promotions (to President, VP, General Manager, VP Sales, Rep, etc) for various companies have been earned not given. The ladder to success and experience is climbed one rung at a time - the hard way, with many late hours and travel away from loved ones. Even to the very latest company meeting where as his motherís life was slipping away he remained to listen and contribute until the last possible moment.

Saturday, April 17, 2010 - Response to April 6.

I am a current YCA employee. I know the General Manager and the global account guy you're talking about. They are excellent employees and get the job done. I depend on both and they always come through. The global guy deserved the promotion and the general manager made the right call. Your comments are out of line. Did you get passed over for that promotion? Be fair and respectful in your comments. You're dealing with people's reputations here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The CFO is resigning and the local HR Manager is retiring. That's just a very small amount of salary that needs to be cut on the upper management level to help this company thru another 6 months! On top of that the CFO is boasting about not going to another company because he is finacially stable and doesn't have to work, although he will be working from home as a "consultant/contractor" for Yogogawa Headquarters in Japan. Wonder how much that pays? This is his second time resigning. Would a time clock employee be given those odds!

Monday, April 12, 2010

In response to the post from 6 April: No, neither the HR manager nor anyone else are able to tell Mr. Johnson anything. We've all seen what happens to people who bother him with reality or common sense.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Interesting that a few organizational changes were announced; especially so soon after letting employees go. Now there are openings in several departments and additional individuals are being promoted! In particular, one of the General Managers promoted a Global Major Acct manager to director level. Product or business knowledge doesn't seem to matter, nor does the fact that his spouse is a technical engineer with Yokogawa's number one competitor! Being long-time friends and the good ole boy system prevails! Is it wise to let people go, create openings in some of those same departments, promote your buddies, all while not giving any raises for 4 years and actually cutting your other employees' salaries by 2.5%? Wake up Human Resources manager - can't you raise your hand and say something to Mr. Finance VP and Mr. Johnson to keep some of these actions in check?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sorry to say that no one's looking particularly hard at these blogs right now. Yokogawa customers, reps and ex-employees are waiting to see what changes the last week of the fiscal year bring, while current employees are trying to blend in with the carpet.

As bad as it's been for a while, I've never heard current employees as afraid for the future as they are right now. Orders are close to non-existant, and Mr. Johnson's last company-wide speech (technical difficulties aside) apparently was filled with corporate-speak and left most with the impression that he really had no idea how to respond to the present difficulties.

Let's see what bright new days dawn for them Next Monday.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Did anyone notice this on Yokoís website:
February 23, 2010 Notice of Funds to be Procured through Hybrid Financing (Subordinated Loan)
Could this be the investors last hope to save their huge investment?

Monday, March 22, 2010

The #1 by 2010 statement did a lot to align employees who cared about the company and their own success. This alignment and motivation brought with it some amazing success, not seen before at YCA.

In 2004 YCAís system division sold less per year then many individual rep companies it hired, by 2008 Yokogawa in North America was a threat to many majors like Emerson and Honeywell, and was headed in the right direction. This just goes to show the power of the ìhuman spiritî and what can be manifested by individuals who are aligned by a strong message.

In my opinion, the problem at YCA is that the ìhuman spiritî is gone. It takes intelligent, ìhumanî people to manifest the impossible. These people are in touch with customers on a different level, and truly understand what it takes to succeed in the long run. They care about their customers, and speak out when things go wrong, enabling management to do the right thing so the relationship can be sustainable for many years. Unfortunately the management team that supported these individuals was let go; we saw them go one at a time.

What is left is self-serving, fearful, and weak leadership from the CEO to the General Management level. The people who still work at YCA and write to complain, are doing this because they still have hope that YCA can be a great company with ìhuman spiritî once again. Iím certain that they hope that YHQ will take action to correct YCAís management problems.

I hate to say that generally, the apple does not fall far from the tree, and YHQ may make things worse if they intervene. Generally market forces are great at fixing bad companies, and YCA will have to correct it self, or die.

    Jim Pinto Note: I have met Uchida-san, and have great respect for him. His challenge for Yokogawa to be "Number-1 in process control" was courageous, and I agree that it did a significant amout of good for the company!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The next round has apparently begun at YCA, this time with some impact in HR. Let's see if the CEO has the courage to thin the ranks in middle and upper management as well. There aren't enough of the guys and gals in the trenches left.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Japan (Kaihori) is forecasting a return to profitability in fiscal year 2011. They used the same tea-leaf reader that Uchida used to predict ìYokogawa will be number 1 by 2010î so you can bet your severance package on it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Maybe this blog will help people (employees) realize that they have a good job that is worth applying 100% every day. If not, please take your special skills to another company - if you are that talented they will grab you! And stop being so afraid they aren't going to be able to sit around mumbling, groaning about everything - just because you don't agree with what was communicated in the employee meeting doesn't mean you should not try to help YOUR Company. It is YOUR company because YOU are being paid to do YOUR best and make the company better. Why is that such a foreign thought for so many who gladly hold out their hand for their paycheck?

False expectations. For the past 40 or 50 years, Americans have lived by a series of unofficial tenets: A good education guarantees a good job; hard work will bring prosperity; and 40 years of 40-hour-a-week work earns a comfortable retirement. Then, maybe; now, not so much. Workers who believe that somebody owes them a comfortable life just because they try hard are risking bitter disappointment in a Darwinian economy, where there are likely to be more losers and fewer winners than we're used to. The winners will be those who learn how to adapt, expect nobody to give them anything, and are prepared to work harder in the future than they did in the past. That's how it was in America before anybody ever heard of the middle class. And it may be that way for a while again. The real middle class - the true bedrock of the nation - will be able to handle it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I am currently a long term employee at Yokogawa. The first 10 years were great; the last few not so good. I've seen the company's downward spiral coming for years, and thankfully I've been preparing for it. I'm going to stay until the end, either by my own terms of retiring, or the so called "package". I am truly sad about the companies affairs and some of the comments, but unfortunately some of them are so true.

I'm sad to say that I agree with most folks when it comes to the complaints about upper management. They only hear what they want to hear. We have one particular General Manager; yes, we have presidents, vice presidents, general managers, managers, supervisors and group leaders, that ignores us and on a very sutle basis threatens us with his comments, and lack of attention to our problems. It is a fact that if you complain you are a target.

Some of the long term employees also feel like there is some prejudice against anyone over 55 years old. Our experience and work ethics don't mean a thing anymore. They think young, slim, trim and beautiful is going to save the company. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, it's a man's world at Yokogawa. Women use to be considered and even promoted into management positions; not anymore, unless you have your nose in the right place with management.

I admit Yokogawa has been good to me over the years; I've been able to make an honest living that I'm proud of. But I'm glad I won't have to work another 10 to 20 years and have to deal with the company's issues - if they continue to be a company. It's a sad situation that I thought I would not see at Yokogawa.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Youíd think that an international corporation that holds multi-national video conference calls on a regular basis could get a better audio and video feed when the CEO and "the boys" are addressing the employees at "mandatory" all-hands meetings. Last month, no audio; this month audio via Maxwell House coffee cans. What was that yíall were saying about Yok having an IT department?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - Responding to the "Control Walt Boyesí blog (extracts)":

You and Walt are a little late, see the March 1st blog on the JimPinto weblog: "YCA Houston we have a problem".

What was posted from Boyesí blog is more of a marketing piece, likely spoon feed by YCA management to Control for publicity. You should be more concerned with the facts leading up to this. YCA originally purchased the rep business from Dixon for a hefty sum and YCA couldnít manage it profitably. The solution was to lay off experienced personnel, take the financial loss and turn the territory over to, as stated "relatively newish firms". Turning this over to groups with little knowledge of Yokogawa products in the middle of the most turbulent time that YCA has ever had is questionable. At least they now have someone to blame outside the elite circle for any loss of sales. These are the types of decisions YCA management continues to make.

It is well known in the industry that "Yokogawa fared less well during the current recession than others" but the comments on the "good job of restructuring" have yet to be proven. The current climate within YCA would be contrary to the thinking that the restructuring is good, working or anywhere near over.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - From CONTROL Walt Boyes' blog (extracts):

    "In a clear sign that Yokogawa's North American sales management sees the recovery beginning to happen, the company announced today that it was, effective March 16, appointing Techstar and BBP Sales as their representatives in the two most important US territories for the oil, gas and petrochemical focused automation giant. Techstar will represent Yokogawa in the all-important Houston area including the Ship Channel. as well as the rest of Texas and Southern New Mexico. BBP Sales will represent Yokogawa in the scarcely less important Louisiana territory as well as Southern Arkansas.

    Normally, we don't print or cover announcements of new hires, new rep placements, etc. This however is significant for what it appears to signal, not just who's who. This one though, is important for everybody to think about for a number of reasons.

    Yokogawa fared less well during the current recession than others of their competitors. At the same time, they appear to have done a good job restructuring and we'll see just how good they have done when the wallets come completely open, which is estimated by most observers to be late this year or in early 2011.

    Clearly, they went looking for a few good reps. Both Techstar and BBP are relatively newish firms, and are young, aggressive and technically competent, with large support and service staffs. Even more importantly, not only do they share Yokogawa in contiguous territories, but they have several other product lines in common as well. This is a sales manager's dream date: two reps in the hottest territories you have to cover who already know and work with each other.

    We'll see if Yokogawa guessed right. My money, speaking as an automation professional with about 30 years experience in sales management, is on "they did."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's not a surprise that Dave Johnson is failing. Think about it.

The Japanese had a stranglehold on YCA, YIA, JYC, etc., ever since the beginning. There wasn't a single part of the operation that wasn't directed by Japan. For years they sent Japanese over to be the president in the states for 2-3 year stints. The first year was spent looking at the American operation and getting used to us. The next year was spent formulating a plan, which was left hanging for the last year as the President coasted until his return to Japan. Once they returned to Japan, they swept all problems and learnings under the carpet and move on to bigger and better things. To admit that there were problems in America is to admit that they were ineffective while they were here, a surefire way to kill their continued career.

By handing YCA off to Mr. Johnson, they distance themselves from the problems and leave him to drive it the rest of the way into the ground on his own, seemingly the only role at which he's effective.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Only two and a half weeks left until the end of the fiscal year. Keep your head down and try to look busy. If this does not work, try to match your attire to the wall coverings in the office and blend in as best you can. I hope they keep Doc Johnson; he has helped lift employeeís spirits and hemlines, or vice versa.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hold on YCA...it is about to get even worse. Yes, here in Newnan we were hoping for a big turn around in the HR group and most of us were glad to see most of finance move to TX. That was short lived. I guess the GM HR is going to stay in GA. Lucky us!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Very interesting. I think the best post so far is the blof og Tuesday 19th January, 2010, that lists the items being exposed on this blog, which does not apply to any of the competitors.

If this is true, when Washington has finished flogging Toyota, it may be Yokogawaís turn. This may explain why the "leader" has surrounded him self with so many to blame.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

As a former employee of Yokogawa, I was told this blog might be some interesting reading. Obviously, it's reading about people who need a place to release some stress anonymously because their stress may not be caused from their workplace.

In reference to the comments about the definitions of the HR and IT department ñ did an HR professional or IT professional write this or is it written by someone who also believes that management spends all their time getting people to brown nose? Has this person ever been in management? Probably not.

Why should you worry about pay, annual reviews, surfing the web, texting on your cell phone or making personal phone calls on the company phone ñ you are a professional, right? Anything you do on ìcompany timeî (that is the time you are getting paid to do your job) is not anything you need to hide, right?

If someone else is abusing their job itís not your problem. And when they no longer have a job you will know why just like the people in HR and IT will know. In every successful company, eventually people who are just taking up space are weeded out.

Talk about generalizations - it is also amazing that people who are posting on this blog donít even have their facts straight. It is obvious they are just repeating what other people ìthinkî is true. Maybe these people have such a lack of self confidence they have to attack the leaders and departments of the company to make themselves feel better.

So, your skills and your job doesnít grow on trees and uprooting your family is not an option ñ an option you donít want to choose ñ so, maybe you should realize where your financial provision is coming from and start trying to make your environment a better place instead of feeding the negativity. We all have options.

Unions ñ you are not always protected, if you donít do your job you will still go and you should.

And like the person posted before me ñ not all of us are forced to leave Yokogawa, some of us choose to move on to other opportunities and take good memories with us.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I am a current employee of Yokogawa.
I am an ex-employee of Yokogawa.
I am a customer of Yokogawa.
I am an employee of a competitor.

My point? Believe maybe 15% of what is written here. Good luck trying to figure out which 15% to believe...

Sunday, March 7, 2010 - To the 2/27/2010 blogger:

We didn't say anything about beauty and brains. No need to worry about your future, you have them right where you want them. You are notorious about hiring the wrong people. Don't give us the crap about "they interview well but don't perfom." I have to say that I've personally seen some good talent in HR. It has been few and far between but we have see a couple. However, we run them off just as soon as we get them. As for the comment about the 1-800 number, looks like we kicked that person that was saying that to the curb. Gosh, why did it take so long for you to see that she wasn't a people person nor did she have any computer skills? I think when our HR team is threatened by talent, so they get rid of them. We had someone that stood up for the employees at YCA, they did a great job telling us about our benefits and helped people that had no clue what they were reading. We kicked her to the curb.

So when you are sitting in your bed at night reading these blogs and trying to find a "come back" look at yourself. How can you make our company great again? Some of us like working at YCA, we want to continue but we have a hard time not taking advantage of the openings at other companies when we can't see out future here. It is troubling to hear that we have employees that have been out sick or giving birth and we torment them while they are out and usually fire them when they return. Can't someone have a personal issue without this find of consequence? I look around and see what we let go and what was kept.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - Regarding the ongoing commentary on HR, a few posts back:

I think a few of you, both employees, and HR professionals, really donít understand the role of HR at any corporation. HR departments do not exist for the benefit of the employees. HR exists for the sole purpose of protecting the employer from employee. The following is a list of some of the functions HR departments provide:

  1. Maintain the lowest standard of pay, and benefits for any given position
  2. Work closely with the legal department to ensure all agreements are in the corporations favor
  3. Maintain an annual employee review process, to establish justification for corporate action
  4. Provide a professional development program to create evidence of employee support
IT is another department that is misunderstood by many. No they are not the people that set up your email. Here are some of the functions IT provides the company:
  1. Track the cyber activity, the web sites you explore, the Emails you send
  2. Track your phone activities (desk and cell) of all employees looking for rogue behavior
What HR and IT departments do is not bad or underhanded; companies need to protect themselves from the odd, bad employee, and they need to get the most work for the lowest dollar. This is what helps to maximize profits for any company. And always remember that employees are hired to serve the company. If you are not providing the service you were hired to perform, you should be replaced.

Things can go wrong when the leader of the company uses HR, IT, and the Legal department for his own purposes rather then for the benefit of the company. This happens in Companies as well as in Governments. All anyone has to do, is research a few dictatorships to see how the human animal behaves. If you are interested, Google Stalin. Stalin was so threatened by his generals, eventually he imprisoned and killed many of his military leaders. The bottom line was: he was afraid of losing his job to better qualified people. This is why in democratic countries, the number of terms that a leader can serve is limited. The leader knows that his job is temporary, and will not feel threatened since the end of the job is inevitable.

Is it possible that Yokogawa has turned into a dictatorship? Is the leader a dictator that surrounds himself with weak non-threatening people that donít question him? Does he eliminate strong and qualified people that could do a better job then he does? How many years has he been working at the same company?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It is a sorry, sorry time to see Yokogawa where it is today. Many talented workers are gone. Many talented workers are still there (even in management) The current VP's and managers should look around them and see how they can help stop the biggest problem with Yokogawa (and that is the current CEO). He has one goal and one goal only and that is to make everyone do what he wants and not what is good for the company. He was probably the wrong choice from the beginning but, he knew how to impress the Japan office. I'm sure if enough people email contacts in Japan with concerns and facts that everything will not fall on deaf ears. (Or at least I would hope not). Next time Mr. Johnson walks by just look at his face and you will see that it is not a face of a leader, and you will see some fear and at lot of anger in his eyes.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Reading these sure makes one insecure about their future at YCA! Maybe its time to start circulating the resume... I can say that YCA gave me a lot of room for growth, which I have appreciated and have returned the favor with 110% of effort and dedication. YCA certainly seems to be losing a lot of good worker bee's - management seems to not appreciate the Indians - thank goodness we have so many chiefs.

Monday, March 1, 2010

This is very entertaining; some one should make a movie about this company. It would be like the documentary on Enron with more sex.

Monday, March 1, 2010 - YCA Houston we have a problem.

March 2010 is the last month of the 09 fiscal year or, for many, the last stop on the employment highway at YCA. YCAís current downward spiral will increase as this monthís close of business brings losses to an all time high. Loss leaders include Engineering and Service with disappointing projects and high head counts. Manipulation of the figures deep within the departments is no secret and is reminiscent of the saying, "robbing Peter to pay Paul".

A few years ago YCA paid a large sum to purchase the largest and most profitable sales-rep organization in the YCA region, Dixon, and turned it into Yokogawa Southwest (YSW). The management did a good job of running the YSW division into the ground. This part of the company was recently closed. Over 20 more people lost jobs a few weeks ago and the remainder of the business was turned over to a new outside-rep organization.

Part of the YCA rep organization was put on 30-days notice to terminate; due to performance issues. Although the instrument groups claim they are not contributors to the losses, this can be disputed by a number of factors. YCA has lost customer confidence in delivery with long lead times. YCA is also being excluded from opportunities that they were previously included on at major companies. This year Japan stopped all prepaid warranty money; this money for many years was paid to YCA in large installments at the beginning of each fiscal year. Any funds not consumed during the fiscal year were then added to the individual departmentsí profitability at year end. After many years of this misuse of funds, Japan finally figured it out and decided to pay for warranty on a case by case basis. This, along with the economic downturn, constricted cash flow further.

YCA is facing more hard times as the growing loss of qualified personnel exit the company. Sporadic layoffs over January and February were kept low key, on top of early retirements and resignations. This has affected many projects including top customers like Shell and Chevron and caused a strained relationship to become agitated with YCAís help.

More employees are set to leave the company in March, some with advance notification others will have the YCA surprise package at the end of the month. Maybe you remember the words of the CEO when he said ìwe have had no layoffsî, and his comments after the first layoff ìwe will have no further layoffsî. It may have been more appropriate to say ìfasten your seat belts, itís going to be a bumpy rideî or ìyou canít handle the truthî.

It appears that, in order to save face, Japan will keep the current management and let them run this ship right into an iceberg. For those of you who have left already, consider the severance packages and additional perks as your life boat. Those that are still aboard should be looking for anything that can keep them afloat.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I cannot comprehend why employees that know that the company they work for is horrible, continue to stay and complain how bad it is.

This is not 1942 Germany. You are free to make a choice. Although many of you say Hitler is in charge, and the SS is everywhere, you will not be shot for deserting if you quit and join a better company.

My advice: Stop complaining and get the hell out while you can. If you are valuable, another other company will see this and pick you up immediately.

Sunday, February 28, 2010 - To the Saturday, February 27th blogger on HR:

I know of more than one person over many years that YCA HR did not help, and in more than one instance hurt by helping implement managementís wishes. This can be confirmed by many people within YCA, or by others that have left. Assuming you are part of HR by the comments you have made, I am not surprised as your department hires your own.

HR at YCA is ultimately managed by the CEO and his cronies, and does not fight for any employee outside the power elite friendship base. The puppets within HR are under the control of management and their jobs are manipulated by the puppet masters/management pulling their strings.

Donít concern yourself with complaints about HR; you should have enough to do with the pending year end layoffs. Soon you may get the chance to lay yourself off, or layoff others within your own department. Everyone I know within YCA has said that the last place you want to go and discuss any type issues is HR, with the exception of your benefits and pay, but if you get help, get it in writing and have it signed.

My suggestion, to any fellow YCA employee that has any issues, is to get a lawyer and see if you have a case first, then have your lawyer do the talking with YCA. Make sure everything is documented, with a copy sent to YCA, your lawyersí office, a relative, the local newspaper and keep a copy in a safety deposit box. If you canít afford to get a lawyer call your local bar association and they can usually help.

Your comments ìit is more likely they are just unhappy with their life and they would complain no matter where they were, instead of taking charge of their lifeî shows the quality of person we continue to hire. Generalizations about people who have issues coming from anyone concerned about YCA HR or employees, I think you may have been right about ìEveryone likes to think they are a "people person", but they are not. You appear not to be one.

Did you know that in Yokogawa Japan they have unions? Did you know that most Japanese management frown upon unions or the talk of unions in YCA? Why, when they have them for Japanese employees? The only way to make a change at YCA or Yokogawa globally is to unite as employees and form a union to make sure we have a voice. This way we donít need to worry about HR helping us; we will have a union that will take care of the people with seniority and experience.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

My comments are to the employees who continually bash HR - if you have an issue and need assistance you should not accept the response: "just call this number"... HR is a department established to take care of employees. It seems to me that the people who continuously complain either don't really have a problem, or they don't need HR for assistance.

As far as who is experienced in HR. Do your homework. HR is more than just smiling and answering the phone - most people think they can work in HR but they don't have a clue. Why do you think HR keeps having turnover - sometimes people interview great, but can't (don't) perform after being hired. Everyone likes to think they are a "people person", but they are not. And you should know, if you are the one who keeps complaining about your paycheck not being correct. If you really want to find out who you have in HR - call them. They are there to help you. Just because the company is having layoffs and some employees are unhappy in their job doesn't mean the people in HR are not qualified. It probably really isn't their job at Yokogawa the complainer is complaining about - it is more likely they are just unhappy with their life and they would complain no matter where they were, instead of taking charge of their life.

Also, contrary to popular belief - there is not one woman in HR who has ever had any type of relationship with management other than professional. Again, do your homework - don't assume (in HR) because a woman has looks, she must not have brains, or she wouldn't be in her position.

Start focusing on doing the best job and being the best employee you can be. You are getting paid by the company to enhance the company, not to do a half job and see how much trash you can talk over lunch. Like the others before me... just my 2 cents.

Monday, February 22, 2010 - To the person who commented on 16 Feb, "one person that (sic) continues to write all the negative comments":

how can you possibly read what has been posted here and think that. If it's not clear by now that its a pervasive mood by the workers in the trenches, and that these are comments left by numerous contributors, then you need to go back and look at the different writing styles and descriptions of the situations and problems. Not only are there many different contributors, its obvious that there's multi national input from both sides of the pond (although none seems to be from our Asian colleagues......?).

Also, just a point of clarification. A former HR manager is returning, but she was there maybe 5 or 6 years ago, I'm not sure exactly. The reason I make that seemingly minor distinction is that we did have another manager approximately 10 years ago who WAS a disaster. She came out of the Corporate Communications department and had no heart, people skills or aptitude for the job.

The manager from 5 - 6 years ago came out of the Accounting group, and while she may have not had an HR background, she had managerial experience and good people skills. Unfortunately, she was also in over her head.

Again, please do not mistake the preceding for any type of support or defense of the current management, I'm just trying to keep it honest.

What does surprise me are the repeated "If you don't like it leave." comments. Folks, we're instrument people, recorder people or systems people and the like. We don't grow on trees and neither do our jobs. For many of us, changing jobs means a major relocation. If you have a working spouse and kids entrenched in schools, churches and sports, uprooting them is simply not an option.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The one person that continues to write all the negative comments about Yokogawa seems to be quite content on continuing to work at this awful place. If it was that bad, it seems they would leave. The job market is tough; but if the job is that bad you can always find a job somewhere else (or maybe this is the only job this person can find that will have them). I am sure some of the information that is being printed is true, but I am sure that half of it is NOT! You are a bitter little person that needs to move on.

I am a former employee of Yokogawa, and not everyone that leaves is fired.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

To see this manufacturer get discraced, as they currently are today, is quite a shame. Here we are again making major territory changes just to save a CEO's poistion. Since my time with Yokogawa, I have seen this inner operational restructure happen several times usually about every two or three years. The problem doesnt lie within the Rep-network, or the previously direct outside-sales, but realistically lie upstream in the very top level management. As many of you read this post, who are still employeed within our faboulous Houston location, are aware of the current pay increase to our Tier 1 board immediately after the headquater sales change this week. I just can't seem to understand why the Ninja hasnt fallen on his sword yet.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I just found out from a Manager earlier this week that an old HR person is returning. She sucked 10-years ago; why would they want her back again? Oh wait I forgot... friends of the new HR Manager (soon to be VP of HR) as I was told. What do you think?

Friday, February 12, 2010

I did read over most of the blogs and do agree with all these issues, but I think we need to be more mad at the fat-cats up top getting fatter. Most of us are every day people, trying to survive. We just want to come to work, do a great job and be paid a reasonable amount of money. I did have a hard time reading some of the stuff. I had no idea that some of the people that we have in HR are so ruthless and got their jobs from knowing someone. I believe that we are letting good people go, and that is a shame. Most of these people will find something else. But why should we promote like crazy and then have layoffs and then turn around and give money back to our employees? Don't get me wrong, I do love the fact that some of my money was returned; but I would have much rather have seen this money be kept and keep some of the good people we let go.

With that said, I do worry about the direction of our HR Team. We don't have a true leader. Just a bunch of women brown nosing to see who can climb the ladder the fastest. Come on, fearless leaders, stop looking at the high heels and whats under the chin and look what's above the shoulders. We have new/old HR people coming back. Did they do a good job when they were here before? Or are you just trying to proove a point with the person that hired and fired them many years ago?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010 - Re the blog from Sunday Feb 7th

No surprise really my esteemed colleague, is it not the natural reaction of a salesman to find fault with everything apart from their own performance? Earlier blogs spell out exactly why projects struggle to deliver on time and to cost; you canít make a silk purse out of a pigs ear!

I (and most) agree though about your comments about the ëTeflon coatedí interim? Manager. After 5 years, what exactly has he contributed? He started life here as a strategy implementer because our wonderful management team were too busy to develop the business. His first assignment was helping (controlling/directing) our old service manager develop low cost servicing which resulted in buying 2 vans, 3 extra service engineers and no additional work, just adding to overhead. He also moved the responsibility for commissioning projects to service which accounts for their rapid increase in sales and prevented the projects group increasing our margins on a project i.e. robbing Peter to pay Paul.

I remember being told that he was turned down for a job at SCE and after the service manager left, he was in charge? Temporarily (the service manager told quite a few people before he left that Mr Teflon and the DD was the reason he moved on due to his manipulative, bullying, interfering mismanagement). His next project was to set up an installation service for projects, high risk and never tried before, resulting in probably the biggest loss on a project in the UK. He then took over projects where he couldnít lose in that he was only trying to minimise the losses, if it improved he took the glory, if it failed it was a bridge too far.

Anybody noticed a pattern here? The DD always manages to keep him occupied, pay him twice as much as the senior managers but keeps the failing managers on in a reduced role with their old salary/perks. Both Mr Teflon and the DD used to work at Invensys so it looks like another case of jobs for the boys.

Perhaps when the Amersfoort ëthought policeí review this blog they should start asking questions and Japan should investigate why they are reducing costs everywhere but allow this to happen. It appears that a lack of engineering management experience doesnít stop you getting paid over the odds and bleeding the place dry for years, all you need to be is a buddy of the DD.

Monday, February 8, 2010 - Blog response to Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - Re: Yokogawa Business Ethics:

Ex colleagues have pointed me to this blog and from what I have read so far, ethics doesnít seem to have the same definition in Yokogawa as every where else. When I worked there, the emphasis was always minimising the loss making situation sales put us in with no expectation, or in my opinion desire, to do future business with a customer afterwards. The blog earlier about the Iranian projects sums up for me what was (is) wrong with the place. Iím not a sales or business person (and have no desire to be one) but a good old fashioned engineer who knows what is good ethical practice, so my comments are related to that side of things.

I canít remember which of the 2 Iranian projects it was, but the cabinets housing the ESD system were dropped off (fell from a great height!) the container ship at the (Bandar Assaluyeh?) docks in Iran, had not been fitted with impact indicators so we didnít know how or if the electronics on the safety system (pro-safe) had been damaged or not. The safety cards had not been fitted properly at the factory and had all fallen out of the 19î racks. The cabinet was repaired but the safety cards were just plugged back in without any inspection. Management knew all about this but it was kept quiet from the customer/contractor. The reason for this I was told was that the pro-safe ESD was made by Siemens for Yokogawa who had announced they wouldnít be making it anymore and any spares/new cards etc went up in price by nearly 100%. I far as I could see, the decision not to replace or even investigate and at least inform the client of any concerns Yokogawa had was made only for financial reasons. Sort of contradicts the spirit of IEC61508 me thinks. Hope they donít ever have an emergency shutdown on site.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What a surprise! All we are seeing is engineers calling sales staff in the UK, never questioning their own lack of ability. As I have asked in a previous blog ñ If you are so talented, why are you still at Yokogawa? There is a shortage of good engineers at many companies.

This is typical under skilled engineering staff, taking the easy option and blaming sales. It gets more difficult to sell Yokogawa systems jobís due to poor delivery by engineering on previous work.

I must agree though on the comments about the project director, and once again we have the Mr Teflon ex-service now as the ëlack of engineering managerí

Friday, February 5, 2010

Yokogawa UK - I have resisted the temptation to post here previously, as I agreed with a previous bloggers comments that ëdirty washing should not be aired in publicí. Having read some of the blogs about who we are as a company and what we apparently represent these days, hereís my 2 cents/pennies/euroís worth.

Management claim that the strength and success of the company is down to the people that work here. What is not said thought is that most employees do need leadership that can be respected and have trust and confidence in. In the words of the ex-service manager "we have employed a bunch of suits who donít care about the place or the people that work there and every decision they make is to further there own self interest". I have worked for a few companies and have never known a company to tolerate poor performance and abject failure the way Yokogawa does, especially from its managers.

We have a projects director who doesnít anymore after managing the 2 worst financially disastrous projects in the UKís history, now working as a glorified clerk/secretary/sales support person, presumably on the same pay scales and package as he was when he was a Director. If he couldnít do his job, why wasnít he sacked?

We have a Financial Director who only does about 30% of what his predecessor did with twice as many staff and seems to spend most of his time on Linkedin. You have more chance of seeing a UFO than seeing this guy take ownership of anything.

Our Damaging Director, as he is now referred to, actually has set an example to us all, especially to those in sales. His excuses for his own failure to steer the ship in the right direction is that itís not his fault, itís the global downturn, itís Amersfoortís poor management bla bla, has given the sales guyís the perfect reason to do as little as possible (certainly not busting a gut anyway) and if questioned about performance, trot out the DDís excuses, what a brilliant example to us all.

There is no price for failure in management, but a big price to pay at the coal-face. Like a previous blogger commented: if Japan does read these blogs, why hasnít anything been done before now? Would any sales guy who didnít make his targets after 7 years be still in a job? I (we) think not. I am mindful of the old saying of small people always hiring smaller people than themselves to make them look good. We now have a significantly vertically challenged management team.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - Blog response to Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - Re: Yokogawa Business Ethics:

The blog re. the project that was for the Iranian companies cost the projects manager his job. Sales had quoted for something like only 15% type-testing and the customer ordered 100%. Sales either missed this point or ignored it when they accepted the order, which resulted in extra costs and 1000ís of man hours. The MD did not want to know about the problems as usual and left it to the PM to sort out. The PM had no choice but to comply with the contractual requirements, but he lost his job but no one in sales did. At the end of the project on internal close out and review, which lost over £750K, sales informed us of a fee to be paid to the middle-east just as the project was being closed out which made the loss almost double. Unbelievable, such mistakes can happen, but as usual projects got the blame and the PM lost his job as a result of this. The PM was an experienced professional who ran a tight ship and was respected by his team. Most of the good project people left after this, and it seems Yokogawa have lurched from one project disaster to the next. I could never understand why the MD accepted that sales didnít review with projects before order acceptance. The accepted orders at a claimed 15% margin and after order acceptance we found in most cases the profit was virtually zero within 2-3 weeks of accepting the order. How projects were supposed to make up the loss and maintain good customer relationships was something that none of understood. Virtually every project was the same. I worked for Emerson and ABB and both had problems of some type or other, but the Yokogawa sales teams negligence and a company philosophy of ripping customers off with extraís is the worst I have ever come across. I hear the UK MD is still there, how can this be?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Gunter glieben glauchen globen
All right
I got something to say
Yeah, it's better to burn out
Yeah, than fade away

-Lyrics from Def Leppard's "Rock of Ages"

Monday, February 1, 2010 On the comment about send in the clowns, don't. They need to send in a OUTSIDE ADUIT TEAM TO FIND ALL THE MONEY THAT IS GOING INTO A BANK ACCOUNT. From the outside looking in, sounds like someone or someones pocket is getting fat. This company is miguided by it's mangement and that is sad!!

Monday, February 1, 2010 - Re: Sunday, January 24, 2010 "Joke":

The joke going around Runcorn, UK at the moment is: Osama Bin Laden has released his latest video, to prove heís still alive. In the video, he included the statement that he knows that Yokogawa UK is still losing money with the UK Damaging Director still in charge. After examining that specific statement, the CIA and MI5 are saying that this video is not authentic proof of a recent recording, as it could have been made at any time in the last 7 years.

Monday, February 1, 2010 - To the blogger on Thur 28 Jan:

Maybe you're talking about the HR group in Houston? The HR head here in Newnan (who is relocating to Houston) was with YCA Newnan years ago as an HR Generalist. She left for a year or two for a higher position in HR at (I believe the Red Cross here in Atlanta). She came back to YCA/YIA as the Newnan HR Manager. She "survived" several HR managers who were based in Newnan and were absolutely wrong for YCA/YIA. One had absolutely no HR background and she embodied the myopic, cold lack of humanity that has become YCA/YIA. The next was from a much larger company and it was obvious from the start that employees were not people at YCA/YIA, only numbers.

Please do not interpret this post that I am in any way defending the current "Power Elite". I just want to clarify that, IF you're talking about the current HR Manager in Newnan, soon to move to Houston, she does come from an HR background.

Having said that, HR has no role in deciding who leaves YCA/YIA "to pursue other opportunities..." All they do is process the paperwork once DJ and the boys finalize the list.

Regarding the CEO's Ex-secretary/girlfriend going to HR, she obviously couldn't stay as his secretary; but it's a shame when a rich, successful CEO and his girlfriend need a second income to make a go of it. Oh, wait. Did I say "successful"? Not from where most of us stand. Rich? Yeah, maybe he should look at that big salary of his first the next time he needs to find a way to cut costs. It'd have a much larger impact and save the jobs of 5 or 6 of the folks who are doing the real work around here. Not to mention sending the message that he's going to shoulder a little of the pain. Something that hasn't happened to this point, to be sure.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Being in this industry and reading other blogs here, I have stumbled on Yokogawa. It seems that a lot of people have come here to vent about personal opinions and feelings. It seems that those that have posted here have a lot of negative comments about Yokogawa.

No matter where you go, you will find things to criticize. However, in this time of our economy and the extremely high rate of unemployment, shouldn't you all be thankful you have an employer? And if you are truly that dissatisfied with the company, why are you still there? Wouldnt you be better off somewhere else? Or would you find all their faults as well?

It's easy to find fault in every employer. However, stop to think of those who don't have a job and would give anything to have a job that paid half of yours to support their family. If you knew you would lose your job today and had to tell your spouse, wouldn't it make you just a little more thankful for that job? And maybe ease up on criticizing people personally at the company. You never know what kind of stress they are going through, or where they are in their lives. You may think you know their story, but there is always a piece or pieces that you DON'T know, which could change your perspective and the story you have been told.

Even when I get frustrated or ill, i take time to stop and become thankful for having a job to be ill at. It somehow changes things to seem a little easier to deal with.

Just my 2 cents, based on what I've read here. I hope it might help.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

    Comments: Isn't it rich?
    Are we a pair?
    Me here at last on the ground,
    You in mid-air.
    Send in the clowns.

    Isn't it bliss?
    Don't you approve?
    One who keeps tearing around,
    One who can't move.
    Where are the clowns?
    Send in the clowns.

    Just when I'd stopped opening doors,
    Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours,
    Making my entrance again with my usual flair,
    Sure of my lines,
    No one is there.

    Don't you love farce?
    My fault I fear.
    I thought that you'd want what I want.
    Sorry, my dear.
    But where are the clowns?
    Quick, send in the clowns.
    Don't bother, they're here.

    Isn't it rich?
    Isn't it queer,
    Losing my timing this late
    In my career?
    And where are the clowns?
    There ought to be clowns.
    Well, maybe next year.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I do agree with the 1/26 blogger that we have a terrible HR Team. The Management Team at YCA is terrible, and the HR group is no exception. It's very hard to take the group seriously when we've seen an HR GM get promoted from Marketing, then we hire someone that was a little "off" from GM and now what are we doing? Yep, promoting like CRAZY a friend of the CFO's. Not to mention the former secretary of Mr. Johnson's that is now working in HR. What is she a Manager of now? Secretary to Manager of HR? Did she get a degree that we all don't know about?

We laugh at lunch when we talk about the HR Team. We've seen a couple good employees that have been hired but they are asked not to help the employees out. What? Most of us have agreed to put in for the next HR Generalist position we see posted since all you need to have is some voice skills to tell people to call a number if you are having issues. Year after year we have issues with payroll and benefit deductions. Nobody seems to care that are paychecks seem to suffer.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - Re: Yokogawa Business Ethics:

I used to work in the Yokogawa UK projects group and witnessed on many occasions how the rules were breached/bypassed on export control to countries that were on the UN/Uk or even Japanís own METI (Ministry of Economic Trade and Industry) organisationís ëbanned listí.

A previous blogger reported a couple of projects for Iran that were sold by the UK and these almost certainly broke the rules. There were official procedures in place that clearly stated the even before a quotation was be made, that the final destination must be known and an export license obtained from HQ Tokyo before any quotation could be made as permission would not be given retrospectively.

I know on these projects that sales ëforgotí to do this, but they were granted retrospectively by Japan in breach of their own rules as the EPC would have sued Yokogawa for the full cost of the contract value, and more if they hadnít delivered.

I remember a colleague also pointing out in a memo to the MD that the instrumentation supplied on these contracts fell under the UK export regulations in the dual-use category (i.e. could be used for WMD purposes) but he refused to let us contact the UK Export authority to confirm our suspicions and clarify the situation. This was completely at odds with the memoís he used to send out saying we must be vigilant in these matters! We used to joke amongst ourselves that his response was part of his own ëdodgy dossierí.

I also remember another case which was documented internally about how a Yokogawa company in Europe had an arrangement to take an order for a DCS locally and, for a small fee, pass it on to Yokogawa in the Middle East so it looked like an internal order.

The DCS was then sent to the client in Europe who then shipped it to the Tabriz Petrochemical Company in Iran who were on the ëUN/US/METI banned listí as they made WMD (missiles and nuclear I think). By the time Japan found out, the DCS was on site. As far as I remember it was just kept quiet. I donít blame Japan for this as it was the other Yokogawa companies who broke the rules but the policing of the policy didnít work in practice.

There was also a trading export company in London that bought DCS spare parts from the service dept destined for Libya/Iraq/Iran for years before it became too obvious and it couldnít be ignored that all of these countries were on the banned list. We also used to receive in service, requests from small export companies in the Uk who provided part numbers of old Centum h/w, destination to countries and companies who had always been on a banned list for over 20 years, so who supplied the systems to them in the first place?

In the time I worked there I had the feeling that the only reason that instructions on export control were issued by Holland HQ was to cover them in case something went wrong. As has been said before, good people, poor management, lousy company attitude.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cutbacks and layoffs in product sales-force ñ The latest plan from our leaders in Amersfoort is to reduce the size of the sales-force by up to 40% across Europe and only deal directly with the 20% of the customer base that gives 80% of the revenues. Must have originated from the Yokoboro/Foxagawa mafia as this is what they did years ago and lost most of their business eventually. The systems guys have never seen the point of instrument sales and even Hauptmeijer has said we should be a services and systems company for years. Itís easy to cut but hard to grow and everyone now realizes that our senior and middle managers milked the company when it was growing but have no clue how to deal with the crisis except to cut costs (people).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Let's see...1/8/2010 we laid off 75 employees, and then Monday we are told that we will get back 2.5%. Glad to have the money returned, but are we struggling or not? Confused. Sounds like too many fish and not enough Indians!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

An interesting aspect of the Japanese management style, even more so than any other culture, is that most decisions are made by large committees after an endless series of meetings. If the outcome is good, everyone in upper level management adds it to his list of accomplishments. If the outcome is a disaster, then it was not carried out properly by subordinates and everyone covers everyone else's backsides (you don't actually think that a group of high level execs could make a bad decision, do you?). That philosophy is carried to an extreme, and the folks in the trenches bear the brunt of poor decisions by upper and middle level management. It truly does roll downhill.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I find myself not being able to hold back from the comments in the 1/7/2010 blog. I wonít get the writer excited and say that it was very upsetting. But we all know that YCA is using the ìtough economic timesî comment as a front to furlough a lot of good, hard working employees that didnít get their jobs from knowing the CFO. Most of us didnít have kids that babysat or washed hair of our ìpower elite.î Sorry, 1/7/2010 blogger, I reused your wonderful word but I do think we need to use it sparingly especially since the GM of HR ìgets offî on this type of ìwriting skillsî especially when it pertains to herself. Our HR Team is sorry. I believe if we are going to survive we need to stop hiring our buddies and look at credentials. It has been a long time since weíve had a good HR Team. Iíve been lucky enough to survive the furloughs, but Iím not sure what will happen in the future. Scary to think of that situation when you are the major bread winner in the family.

I canít say we are too happy about the HR Team in Newnan moving to Texas. We have an HR Manager that is a Finance transplant that we are happy to get rid of. The former Jr. HR Clerk from 10 years ago (now GM Manager) will not be any better. It seems if we do get someone that is willing to help the employees, we let them go.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The joke in HQ now is that last week, our superman chairman Isao Uchida called his President, Senior VPís, VPís and Regional CEOís to a meeting in Tokyo to mend the company and improve results. The meeting was held on the roof of the tallest office and Uchida ordered them all to jump off the roof as the journey to the bottom, and the adrenalin rush would inspire them to think of a strategy to resolve the company crisis. All but 2 of them landed at the bottom, some injuries but no new ideas. The 2 that still havenít landed yet are the 2 regional CEOís, Hauptmeijer and Johnson, who keep stopping asking for directions......

Funny, but this also shows the graveyard humor that exists in the company today, and it is also an accurate reflection of how most employees actually see their leaders performing.

I was asked last week by an old timer from production - what is being done to make our business better? I was embarrassed, because I could not give a truthful answer. Everyone blames Harry Hauptmeijer for the loss of production, which started when he was VP for instruments and has been given away to pay for the new building. Analyzer Instruments are what produced the money and we used to export everywhere. When the situation was bad before, the Analyzer profit kept us all OK; but now we buy, not sell, and the money is no more. Most I know think Harry is like a book-keeper with no personality, and is not a motivational manager who can give us confidence in these times.

We have serious problems and I donít know what can be done to improve. But worse is that, along with my colleagues, I donít think our managers know also.

Friday, January 22, 2010 - To the management responder of the blog 01/19/10, ëYokogawa is not the center of the universeí:

It is, if it pays your mortgage, utilitys and food bills! What arrogance to assume that if you donít like it, you can just leave. Surprisingly, a few of us joined because we were sold the Yokogawa message, and believed we had a future to the extent we relocated with our wives and kids and all the upheaval that involves.

Friday, January 22, 2010 - Re: Yokogawa Ethics and how they do business:

I remember when I worked at Yokogawa many years previously; I attended a global strategic selling program at Amersfoort HQ. I had been on the same course many years ago at a previous employer, but this one was run by an ex-Yokogawa Japanese senior VP who was well known historically to European management through his local involvement with Shell, Chevron etc.

I clearly remember the shocked and embarrassed faces of the participants when this ex VP gave his definition of the term 'coach' used in the program. It was not the same as described in the official course program notes. His explanation was not only how this type of person could 'guide you' through the sales process to make a sale, but went on to explain how in his experience what must be done for this type of buyer/influence. There was no doubt about what he was saying, and never before or since have I heard such a blatant admission or suggestion that customers should be paid to win business. As is normal, unfortunately, nobody challenged him on this, but it was the topic of conversation in the bar later that night.

I saw enough in my time at Yokogawa to realise that the Japanese meet with your key accounts without telling you before or after the event and are very secretive about their dealings with customers. If a project engineered out of Europe has Japanese connections, we often used to find our Japanese colleagues were meeting in secret behind the backs and without the permission of the EPC contract holder. For any US or European Key account manager, when a project surfaced at best the role they performed was that of a bag carrier for the Japanese Global Account manager. I used to think at first it was because they didnít trust us to win the business; but now I think there were inappropriate reasons why they didnít want us to meet their contacts.

After I left Yokogawa, I wasnít surprised to read that they were winning all these global agreements but even after employing their own unique win strategies, most customers I know think they ëhit and runí. But as previous bloggers have commented, itís a regretable purchase decision they have to live with for 20+ years.

My opinion is that Yokogawa are collapsing now due to how they have gone about their business in the past, and the quality of the management they have. They canít blame the economic crisis forever. Restructuring (as they always seem to be doing) is the desperate strategy of amateurs who donít know, and probably have never known, how to run a successful business. The issues of subsidies to prop up businesses in the US and Europe sounds to me like the old nationalised industries in the UK many years ago, and we all know what happened to them. I see on their web site their intention is to restructure, to break even by 2012. Iím glad I donít work there any more, but Iím even more pleased Iím not a shareholder!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

In response to the problems in YCA (13 January) my colleague is misleading in his comments about European performance. It is only recently we have been in profit, and this is not in all areas. It is also not correct that no subsidies/financial help have been received to Europe from Tokyo.

If my memory in my mind is correct, the UK only has been in benefit over the years to an amount that must be greater than Ä8M, including monies from Japan for what are undocumented activities/reasons and various recapitalizations due to the debts they had with Amersfoort. An earlier blog referred to the advantages enjoyed by GB (below manufacturing cost buying of DCS components, hiring of illegally non EU nationals etc) which again causes a question to be answered about why the loss is so great over the many years?

Other subs have had problems before, but always recover within 18 months. Why not GB? Someone suggested earlier about an external audit being a good idea. It would be interesting what could be revealed in GB. Where has all the investments gone to? And why they have only made one really small profit in the last 10 years?

Thursday, January 21, 2010 - Re: Blog from 9 December about new GB sales manager:

With recruitment freeze and firings or short term daily workings across all of European operations, why is it possible that this has occurred. Why is not the GB country manager not running the sales teams?

As this operation is the continuous failing for many years across Europe, why can they still be hiring? Can anyone explain what he is doing all week? From the small number of information and talk, we are told he never visits customers, or talks to the sales people, or is involved in the loss-making project activity. So, like my GB colleagues, I must ask what is he paid for. Many of us in Europe are suffering the pain mainly due to the economics but GB is like a disease in the operation and should be cured or removed. It is their negative results again that drag us all down. It is no more a paper reporting problem, but the loss of real peoples jobs. Why does Harry protect them so much for so long? Does anyone know this?

Thursday, January 21, 2010 - Yokogawa blog versus other blogs:

In response to the blogger from Tuesday 19th January, re: all company blogs are similar, I would agree to a certain extent - apart from the fact that, having read as much as I can of the other blogs, I canít recall any of our competitor blogs exposing:

  1. Unfair (illegal?) financial support to compete in overseas markets
  2. Pricing (dumping?) solely aimed to gain market share
  3. Alleged payments/gifts to customers to win business
  4. Misleading authorities by lying to them in order to hire cheap overseas labour in the EU
  5. Paying a salesman US$1M for winning a new contract before any orders were placed
  6. Senior management falsifying expense claims
I may be wrong, but we seem to be unique in this respect. I hear lots of criticism from management (and some colleagues) that airing our dirty washing in public is not the way to improve things. It has been blogged previously that for many this is the only way to express how they feel and what is going on globally at Yokogawa. If you work in an environment of fear and distrust it makes sense to me to have an outlet like this.

There are so many blogs on Yokogawa that I see now we have our own space. Perhaps if senior management in Tokyo took the time to investigate only 10% of what is said or reported, they would start to realise how bad things are and there is a direct correlation between bad management and disasterous results. To my way of thinking, this blog is no different than the company staff mailbox, apart from the fact it is more secure. But still management ignore what is reported.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I was recruited to join YCA late 2008 and was let go in a period of seven months. Coming there was the worst decision of my career. I am glad to be back on my feet again after another seven months. The time at YCA was pure hell, a blessing in disguise. Apologies for the dirty laundry, but it is an honest opinion.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 - To the Tuesday, January 19, 2010 blogger:

A true reflection of the YCA management mind set. I quote: "if they donít like his management decisions then quit. Everyone is expendable and replaceable". If you are not a manager, you certainly qualify for the position at YCA.

It doesn't give me a good feeling to know that someone working at YCA has that philosophy. People can't just quit in this economy; they try to hang in and hope that they can help make a change. This blogging is a desperate attempt to encourage change. In YCA you cannot speak up. If the management doesn't like it or you have a question that may implicate management, and if that manager is a friend of the chief, you can bet you will have some misfortune fall upon you.

YCA problems are not just due to the economy; some of the problems were created by plain old bad management. You did get one thing right: the person at the top of YCA is to blame. Your comments on "business decisions" are laughable. You should list out all the great "business decisions" YCA has made since April 2005, then the status of those decisions and how they were based on customer trends.

Keep your pennies you may need them after April 2010.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I find it admirable that people give their thoughts on a company they hold so dear, yet I'm disappointed by the blatant airing of dirty laundry on the Internet. It's a love-hate relationship. I just wanted to share my thoughts on the matter.

Every company has its share of problems and internal politics. They are just rarely shown to the public. Just take a look at one of the other blogs on this site, like Honeywell or Siemens. Some of the problems there resembles the problems happening at Yokogawa. It's just the nature of having an organization with many conflicting mindsets.

If there is a problem, the first instinct is to blame the person at the top. He is the scapegoat. It comes with the job and he should accept it. People should also realized that they have a choice. If they do not like his management decisions then quit. Everyone is expendable and replaceable.

Yokogawa, like all business, exist to serve customers. Customers spend money. Take off all the smokes and mirrors of "employees first" and, ultimately, all that matters is serving the customers. Business decisions are made based on customers trends and not employees reactions.

Yokogawa is not the center of the universe. By reading some of these blogs, it seems to most people that it is. Granted some of these people here probably spend more time at work than with their families, but they all had to go home some time. If you were fired or laid off, move on with your lives. If you still work there, do the best you can to keep your job to support your lives at home.

Change hurts. It's human nature to resist change but it's necessary to move on.

And there's several pennies for my thoughts.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I am a current employee and wanted to make a few statements about the blogs on YCA, that have become popular within the company.

I have taken my time to carefully read the statements and have come to the conclusion that many of the comments are true, based on my knowledge of the company. The comments have raised the awareness of many employees on how wide-spread poor management is noticed within the company. The overwhelming comment from many of my fellow employees is: why isn't Japan taking any action to correct obvious problems? One of the previous bloggers said we shouldn't hold our breath; I am beginning to think that is right. I have heard that in the past Japan has stepped in and made corrections, but it looks like they are unaware of what is happening.

The current state of YCA has caused a great lack of enthusiasm from all the employees. No one I know will bring up any negativity to our President/CEO; this would surely result in being singled out and eventually dismissed by our direct managers, when the time was right. So I finally decided to write a blog.

The politics within YCA are present and troubling, in my opinion; they have hurt our overall ability to do business. Even though the products are great, we need leadership that can build a company and bring everyone together. I look forward to a time when things get better, but canít see the current management leading the way. This is just my opinion based on what I have seen and discussions I have had.

Friday, January 15, 2010 - Response to YCA Field Instruments colleague 13/01/10:

When I first read your comments I thought you were discussing the UK situation, the parallels are frightening. The instrumentation business in the UK as far as anyone can remember has propped up the systems group who lose money for fun it seems.

Only a complete moron could argue for taking a project at a low margin and expecting to recoup money later on MRO business. How many times have the system sales not even bothered to try and get instruments included as part of the project and then we find ourselves in a price fight with Emerson, ABB etc. Even if they do remember we actually make instruments, MRO actually means in the real world small additions that the customer initially forgot about at the project start. Most automation systems/instrumentation has an operational lifetime expectancy of at least 20 years and since we make the most reliable/never go wrong products in the world our MRO business is virtually zero. The same can be said to a large degree for our serious competitors, ones or twoís on a plant per years is a reasonable normal expectation for MRO so that philosophy when examined by anyone with at least a couple of brain cells is dead in the water.

You could try the argument that our leader now prefers that you take the lifetime profit of all the service contracts on a project/add ons/extensions etc and over a 25 year spread, the profitability will be OK. This argument is flawed when our last 2 projects for BP and Exxon Mobil, lost over Ä4M, itís a lot of service and MRO business to make up for!

Most businesses are judged on a year on year basis, not a 25 year period unless you are a financial services provider and we all know what a great success they have made of things lately. The upside of management supporting the 25 year view is that most of them will have retired or left in 25 years when judgement day comes a-calling.

Despite it seems buying the h/w and s/w at a really good (less than it costs to make?) transfer price and using cheap but illegal engineering services and Iím told by my colleagues in the know at Amersfoort, that after receiving over Ä5M including monies from Japan and various recapitalizations due to the debts they had with Amersfoort, our business has only ever made an Ä80k profit over the last 7 years and losses of many millions, not bad for a company employing 60 people! We are also told that our MD is the worst performing employee ever employed by Europe and like the rest of us, are confused as to why he is still here. I wish I had his KPIís.

What is worrying is that despite all the global financial subsidies Tokyo have provided over the years, the business is still in a mess. Which ever way you look at it, propping up failing businesses, accepting loss making activities for so long, market pricing less than the levels in Japan, only spells one thing, dumping. All of us who have worked for other companies before have been naÔve in not acknowledging that Yokogawa works a lot differently than other companies in the pursuit of its objectives and should have seen this coming.

I agree what is really frustrating is that you invest a good portion of your career into the company, try to be as successful as you can be and see all your good work flushed down the pan because of the Forest Gump management philosophy preached and practiced by so many. It seems sometimes that we have been constructing the building brick by brick only to find that the foundations of the building (put down by management) were made of wet sand and sawdust and it all comes tumbling down.

For those bloggers calling for Japan to sort this out, donít hold your breath. Has it not occurred to you that if you have a poorly performing employee you should look at the person who hired them in the first place? You would think they would realise by now that all this slash/burn/restructuring results in shock, awe and eventually exodus of the people that make the business successful.

Personally, career wise, Iím going to do my best to reach a senior position within the company where I can live out the rest of my days in a state of true unconscious incompetence like the rest of them.

I feel better for this, itís been a cathartic experience and also itís the weekend.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 - To the blogger from Europe who wrote "Unlike Europe, YCA has been in great benefit of generosity from Tokyo......":

I assume that you're talking from the perspective of the Systems group? Field Instruments have long been profitable, until recently that is, and have carried the Systems side of things for years. They carried Japan when they went through their domestic and regional downturn a few years ago. I think the same can be said of T&M and Recorders more than carrying their own weights.

Yokogawa has excellent products from a technical standpoint, and used to have very solid technical people in the field to back them up. Over the last 6-8 years, however, any technical expertise has been culled, in favor of smiling bobble-heads who have no clue how this stuff works, but have a hell of a smile and are on Mr. Johnson's "A" list.

The Systems group has always been a "loss leader". The supposed rationale being: "Bring in the project at little to no margin and you'll make it up in MRO business." Again, it shows a complete lack of understanding as to the reality of the beast. So you win a 6 million dollar project. It does you no good if it costs you 9 million dollars to execute it. AND the MRO business never materializes.

The "Tell me who you are and I'll split my bet money with you" comment would be laughable if it wasn't such a pathetic attempt at finding out who someone is so that another "problem" can be eliminated.

As to "having an axe to grind", a "hidden agenda", etc. What the ex-employees who post here have to gain is - absolutely nothing. We've already taken our shot and reaped the "rewards" of Mr. Johnson's approach to correcting problems.

Am I upset? You bet! I put a lot of effort into making things work, only to have it laid waste by a management team who didn't have a clue, but knew how to spend money; and middle level management who didn't have the courage to present a unified front to the top levels in addressing chronic problems. I have friends who are still trying to make a go of it, with no cooperation, appreciation or direction from the anyone above them.

All that we can do is express our opinions on what is wrong and what needs to be done, to correct it for the sake of our friends and colleagues who are still employed at YCA. If we can improve the situation for them, so much the better. They have seen what happens when fellow-employees try to address problems "within the system".

That's my $0.02 worth and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 - To the blogger from Europe:

You hit the nail on the head. YCA was making it to be self sufficient, or at least looked as if they we were. What changed was the forced effort to be "Number 1 by 2010". The YCA management analysis called for unlimited and unjustified spending as a strategy to get to the lead position. I actually heard a manager say we need to spend more to get to number 1, and they would try as hard as they could, and did. Crippled by a small customer base, and management staff designed around loyalty to the CEO, it was doomed from the start. We can't forget to add up the new office allocations for Sugar Land, Mexico and Canada. What is really remarkable is that Sugar Land was in the process of spending more money to expanding the building until Japan put a stop to it.

It seems as if YCA management had no idea that a business should grow based on its own sales and the quality of its employees. It appears to some degree that the financing from Japan is being taken for standard operating income. This goes back to the comments on mismanaging, the qualifications of the CEO and the friendship-based (not qualification-based) setup headed by Dave Johnson and supported by Kaihori and so on.

I donít see how some of the employees let go from YCA can help clean up this mess. Short term, sure the reduced head-count can show a reduction in the loss on the books. Long term, can it improve the companyís position in the industry? Not likely. Sweeping changes need to be implemented by Japan to get YCA back on its feet. This includes a complete replacement of management starting at the top, and some across the pond. The end of the fiscal year is right around the corner, and I am sure a few of the so-called 'power elite' will be dusting off their resumes, if they haven't already done so. Since this is the same thing most of the staff is doing, I am not sure how much of a qualified company staff will be left between resignations and readjustments.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The recent blog activity from our colleagues in YCA would have been laughable if it were not so serious. Unlike Europe, YCA has been in great benefit of generosity from Tokyo with subsidies as far back as anyone can remember. It seems the entire business has been supported at the expense of investment to other Yokogawa areas and they still have the nerve to complain!

We too used to be a negative contributor many years ago, but guess what, we worked hard and used our talent to make it good again. I would suggest that you all do the same and as well as ëtalking the talkí (which you seem to do better than everyone else) start the walking also.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

This is the worst I have seen it at YCA. I donít care if Dave Johnson wants us to come into his office and discuss problems. It will put me between my manager and the CEO and I have to deal with my manager regularly. I am sure my managerís relationship with DJ is better than mine. It will also put me in the spot light and next on the short list, or at least a more favorable fit for the next readjustment. He should have thought about this before, but I guess he was busy mismanaging, budding up and all that playing executive stuff. Wish I had the courage to speak up in person, but I have seen what happens to people in this company that speak up. Thatís why I have placed a blog, after hours of course. Itís the only voice I have here. I think they should change Daveís title to CUO Chief Unemployment Officer, thatís the one thing he seems to be good at.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I worked for Yokogawa when Mr. Johnson first "ascended". On one of his first trips to Newnan, he wanted to meet individually with the employees in the PMK's (that's Yokogawa-speak for Product Marketing Groups). We were told to bring a resume with us for him to look at. As soon as they realized how transparent that request was, they dropped it. BUT, it was obvious from the start that he was sizing people up.

To pick up on another blogger's comment, again, take a look at who is on the recent list and you will see no managers, at least none that I am aware of. If you are in the "Power Elite" you have nothing to worry about.

On the other hand, some of the recent recipients of Mr. Johnson's business acumen are very long time employees in Newnan. They are, again, the ones in the trenches, the gears on which the inner workings of the company turn. They know the ins-and-outs of the products, the processes, the relationships in Japan and how to get things done.

In his wisdom, Mr. Johnson has further hobbled Yokogawa's ability to carry on it's day to day operations. The only thing worse than a CEO who makes bad decisions is a CEO who repeatedly makes bad decisions and is good at implementing them.

As usual, the views expressed here are strictly my opinion, yada-yada.......

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 - To the Angry Blogger from the Current Employee:

You are wrong in guessing my identity, but I note that you're off base in your comments about the company, too. You are clearly motivated to find destructive information and spin it to hurt YCA. You could be an employee, since you had access to the layoff date and some other YCA gossip. Most point to a couple of inside politicians, one who got demoted and deserved it, and one who had fantasies about becoming a manager and did not deserve it. That would certainly explain the grudge you have against the people you've attacked. I guess we'll never know. So, if I've guessed wrong, why are you so dedicated to attacking YCA? What's in it for you? If you will reveal your name and I'm right, I will split my bet winnings with you.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The bloggers that are posting positive comments in response to very detailed complaints have provided comments with no substance. Many of the comments on this blog are true. What you have heard in the message from Dave Johnson is called putting the spin on it. You have very detailed blogs that are to the point about the ongoing problems within YCA. Many of you may not have access to the real story behind many of the facts listed here. I donít think any bloggers assassinated Mr. Johnsonís character; the comments were directed at his inability to manage and how he has structured the chain of command within YCA. The politics in YCA are not like most companies, they are much worse.

The 09 fiscal year ends on March 31, 2010 and Newnan hasnít completed its move to Sugar Land. I would be skeptical of the propaganda provided in a meeting from the person (Dave Johnson) at the center of the problems that has his job along with his friendís jobs on the line.

At the end of June 2009 similar statements were made after that layoff. More layoffs occurred between July and up to January 7, 2010 with a more noticeable layoff on January 8, 2010.

The count of employees laid off in one of the Friday blogs is wrong. YCA has now had 3 different layoffs (excuse me, restructurings) during this fiscal year. The first and the third layoff near the end of the first and third quarter the second layoff was spread over the second quarter. The total is well over 200; plus or minus some employees that resigned. According to Mr. Johnsonís own statement; 811 people worked for YCA in May 2009, with the reductions YCA has had an approximate decrease of 25% of its staff overall. The remaining staff has more to do and will need to rely on a few to answer simple questions and get real work accomplished. This will become more evident over the next few months.

Pull up a copy of your organizational chart (org. chart) on the intranet. Of those laid off how many across the top horizontal lines (management) are still on the org. chart? How many of those listed on the vertical lines (workers) are still on the org. chart? What has changed? Answer nothing, if you are in, or a friend of the power elite.

Do an internet search on your manager or fellow employeeís name with or without the word Yokogawa. You will find almost all YCA management and a few friends of management with a posting on an employment website (linkedin.com). For some reason I could not find some of the managers and workers in Newnan on this site, although I was surprised to see a few names pop up. I saw so many names I started to think a posting on this site was a perk for working at YCA. If it is a perk why isnít everyone listed? Many of the managers have ìcareer opportunitiesî and ìjob inquiresî marked on the ìInterested Inî section of each personís posting. Do they know something we donít know? This is starting to sound like what happened at Enron around August 2000; investors and employees were told one thing while management had the inside track.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I want to begin my comments by stating that I am a current YCA employee. I am not a manager or a member of any power elite group that other bloggers have reffered to. Dave Johnson just addressed us in an all employee meeting and the man was a stand up guy. He explained how he made the decision to readjust the company size to fit current business conditions. He spoke straight to the point and told the facts. I am OK working for this guy. He invited us employees to come tell him our honest opinions, and I think he means it and will listen. While I am at it, I will add that there are politics in YCA, like most companies, and it is probably the politicians who are making most of the negative posts here. Much of what I read is pretty radical spinning of the facts. Most actual employees are not going to participate. It just looks like some folks have grudge to bear.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

YCA is having problems due to the policies and practices initiated by CEO Dave Johnson. Employees are divided; those brain washed by repeated claims of product reliability, others who are overcome with the fear of being laid off; and yet another group in fear of being asked to move to the Houston office from Newnan. If you could speak freely to the reduced staff they would tell you that they are leaving as soon as they find another opportunity.

Some employees will tell you that the products are good and YCA is restructuring due to the economy, thatís what they have been compelled to say. If you go deeper you will see that the company is not supported by its own sales. It has been propped up for years with financial support from Japan. This did not affect the over hiring and wild spending associated with expenses, conducted by many General Managers and underlings in the last two years. Apparently it was a spending free-for-all and CEO Dave Johnson looked the other way. This type of management should concern customers, investors, employees, managers and board members. As stated in a previous blog, an outside audit of YCA would be suitable at this time to track the funding provided by Japan.

The positive comments you see from bloggers are from Management and Sales trying to offset the negative comments. The comments that they place are aimed at preserving the hierarchy not solving the issues. Many of the comments from Yokogawa US and Europe on this blog were aimed at solving issues, exposing poor management and uncovering activities deemed inappropriate. Little has been done to change the companiesí practices, unfortunate for those in the trenches. Politics exists in all companies but YCA under CEO Dave Johnson has brought it to an all time high.

During the evaluation process to determine who would be laid off from what department, some managers created false chargeability for members of staff in an attempt to insulate themselves by retaining friends. Chargeability is normally defined as hours billable against available work measured over twelve months. However YCA managers artificially inflated hours associated with employees they viewed as friends to help preserve the buddy system. This did nothing to boost moral or retain qualified individuals it only confirmed the preferential treatment provided to managements friends. You can expect more changes between now and the end of the fiscal year.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I work for another company and read this blog. It has to make me wonder why a company like YGA is laying people off. If the products they offer are good and they say, have great service, who is going to mind the store? We continue to pickup more business from former YGA customers who were dis-satisfied with service. It would make sense to me to keep or hire more personal to keep the business going. It has been my experience when this happens, it was management not doing their job and one if not a few people were on the take to rob the company blind. I feel sorry for the people that were laid off, because the (management) was not doing their job. Good luck Yokogaw, and thanks for the business!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Why isn't management held accountable by Japan? Instead they are allowed to fire (notice I said fire) employees and blame it on poor company performance. What happened to a system of employee reviews, goal based performance systems with follow-up during the year. If the employee didn't achieve their goals, or were insubordinate, it was noted in their file. After two or three strikes... the employee was let go. This is not how it works at Yokogawa. Employees daily just do what they think they should be doing with no direction from their managers. With their job descriptions and duties left to total ambiguity, it allows management to say and do whatever they want when the workforce has to be reduced. The manager should be blamed on the employees lack or poor performance; not the employee. Job ambiguity is both a sickness and power tool for management. It allows the company to make hiring, promotional, and firing decision based wholly on personal opinions, friendships, cronyism. This is what is taking place at YCA.

Also, I believe it needs to be made clear that this is not a layoff. It is a reduction-in-workforce and firing of employees. They dangle the carrot of giving a weeks salary for every year worked and paying your health insurance for a few months if you agree to sign the paper that says you will not sue them and you hold them harmless. Sounds like blackmail to me. Especially for those of us that only have enough savings to pay the mortgage and bills for a couple of months. It also allows the CEO, the CFO, and VP's to sleep at night and convince themselves that they are handling this the "Christian" way.

What happened to telling the employee that "you have done a good job and we value you at our company. Because the economy has slowed and orders are down, we have to lay you off temporarily. We would like you to consider working for us again and would like to reserve the right to call you back at a latter time. We are sorry that this has happed. Unfortunately we do not know how long this will be and that you may never be called back. Thank you for your service." I am sure they will hang their hat on some legal reason for handling the downsizing in this manner.

YCA is "shooting themselves in the foot" and the skilled employees will never return. I know I will work in Home Depot to make a living before I would return, just because of the way they have handled this. A little "sour grapes"... maybe, but I am a realist and know that companies must take this action sometimes. What happened to professionalism. It just goes back to poor personnel and operation management of should I say, the lack thereof.

Friday, January 8, 2010

It's interesting that the "airing of dirty laundry" does make one feel better, but it is doubtful that anything really changes in a company unless comments are taken serious by a company's decision-makers. Yokogawa's problems are deep and systemic.

  1. To begin with, YCA is not much more than a big distributor in the US. It purchases both complete products and parts from Japan at various xfer rates. While some manufacturing is actually done in Newnan (almost the same amount as 10 years ago) and many of those parts are purchased domestically, the rest is bought from Japan. Japan doesn't consciously "dump" products in North America, moronic decisions by management allow the products to be sold below that xfer cost. And Japan treats YCA like a customer! Not much more than that. Day-to-day support from them is desperately needed but still not there even after 20 years.
  2. There is no real engineering at YCA. While there are many "system engineers" that configure the DCS hardware and systems HMI interfaces and control schemes, there are only a couple field instrument engineers in service, technical assistance, and marketing. Support is provided by technicians. And there is a skeleton staff of them in certain departments. As a matter of fact, marketing does 10% marketing, 30% insides sales, and 60% applications engineering. There are a few manufactuing engineers in Newnan that keep the product assembly and test department operating but that's it.
  3. Operationally, from a human resource standpoint YCA is broken. There are no more performance reviews, no annual goals, no day-to-day leadership except fire fighting, and no management training programs. The only continuing education reimbursement is for undergraduate degrees and the $$ is pathetic. Education is not valued, respected, or encouraged. Only a few upper management personnel even have bachelor degrees. Many of the upper managers have been with the company for 20 years or more. Like one of the original bloggers pointed out below, many "don't even know what they don't know". This was referred to as "unconscious incompetence". That description is very accurate.
  4. As previously stated, there are only skeleton department numbers in certain areas. Management is still under the assumption that marketing personnel should know how to do everything (and do it) from enter an order to shipping the product out the door and all tasks in between. This thinking is valid in a "Mom and Pop" operation but in a $250 million operation?? This is not efficient nor cost effective. Tasks and job duties should be defined and segmented. How can a company scale up or down its resources??
  5. Account managers, managers of account managers, and senior managers continue to be hired at ridiculous salaries. Today was the first time an account manager or regional manager were let go. But this takes place while middle management and hourly personnel suffer with the 5% pay-cut and no cost of living raise in several years. As another blogger pointed out, the "good ole boy" network prevails. Mr. Johnson has promoted or hired only the people that tell him what he wants to hear. The CFO, VP of Marketing, and GM's have put in place their friends at various levels. If you are viewed as negative or do not subscribe to their method of management, you might as well say goodbye to your job. And for goodness sakes, don't have Human Resources report to the CFO. That could be a major conflict of interest!
  6. Yokogawa's independent Rep force have both strong sales personnel and weak sales personnel. Some are also strong technically and weak technically. Yokogawa Gulf Coast (the former Yokogawa Southwest organization and the former Dixon Engineering organization) also have similar attributes. But this inconsistancy is a major drag on Yokogawa product and system sales and service. Yokogawa does not have the infrastructure to support the technically weak sales personnel. The manager of Yokogawa Southwest had the opportunity to hire real sales engineers when the independent Rep was fired. Instead he hired the former Dixon personnel that were very weak technically. That was the easy way out.
Yokogawa has been able to "hang its hat" on the quality of its products for many years. But things have changed dramatically even on that front as stockholders have demanded higher profitability and higher returns on stock. The quality of certain products are now in question.

So how can Yokogawa be fixed?

  • First, the President needs to step down, or be removed along with 2-3 of the VP's and possible 2-3 of the GM's. Unfortunately, Japan must take control, but only until qualifed personnel can be found.
  • A six-sigma or Lean element for Office must be introduced. An operational consultant will have to be used unfortunately, to help Human Resources revamp and implement a goal-based performance, review, and incentive program. Job duties should be documented and then redefined.
  • Applications, inside sales, and marketing should be segmented and personnel hired. They should then come up with a real objective at the top and drive it down.
  • Re-evaluate the Global Major Account objectives and perform a cost analysis. Sales at any cost is not a wise business plan for a company that is no more than a big distributor.
What happened to being satisfied with 5% incremental growth that is sustainable? Is building a business on windfall project orders sustainable in a bad economy? I think not. Hey, E & H seems to be doing just fine and they don't have a DCS!

Friday, January 8, 2010

I've worked in both Newnan and Sugar Land for Yokogawa since the 90's. All in all...a good place to work.

A company that added 500 staff over the past 5 years and has to cut 50 in this economy is not the scum of the earth. I think all of our competitors laid off a much larger % of their staff.

It's also entertaining that both happy and unhappy current/Ex employees have tried to disguise themselves as customers!

One last comment of support from a previous blogger... Do we have to keep sharing our blog with Omron? Surely all this hand-wringing merits a blog of our own! (no offense to our Japanese cousins at Omron).

Note: This is now the Yokogawa weblog

Friday, January 8, 2010

The layoff did happened as predicted, which would make one think that someone is an insider with the knowledge of the ins and outs. If they do what they did after the last layoff, they will bring in temps to replace some of the ones laid off. They were already very short-handed before. I would be surprised if we see Yokogawa much longer. Current management is running the company into the ground. Morale has dropped even more, leaving the remaining empolyees wondering if they are next.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Short personal barbs aimed at employees and customers that have identified problems within YCA that have resorted to blogging as a last resort, are usually answered with arrogant statements by management further adding to the impression nothing will ever change. This type of attitude is nothing new for Yokogawa management and is at the root of the problems created by the leadership of YCA. As the company continues its downward spiral, management continues to attack everyone outside the power elite. It sounds a bit narcissistic.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Perhaps the former Yokogawa employees, now fiction writers, are being joined by a few trolls from competitors. Doesn't smell right to me.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The products are fine the management and internal issues are the problem. It doesn't matter how good the products are if the company is not functional. Yokogawa has lost presence in the field and in front of the customer and they don't plan on any replacements.

Yokogawa has long lead times and has been dropped by long time users for this. If you have a catastrophic loss call YCA and ask for replacements in large quantity. A situation like this just happened in Georgia close to the YCA plant. Why? Because they ship the equipment in from China and keep stock to "just in time" that is never on time.

Lack of skilled local presence has always been a problem and continues to be today. Many customers are pulling Exaquantum and replacing it with Pi. Why? Lack of support and the price of support. A Japanese company in the southeastern US dropped Yokogawa and replaced the system with Delta V. More Japanese companies to follow just ask the competition.

If you are looking forward to this Friday January 8, 2010 I would call out sick.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I've been using Yokogawa products in the US for many years, and the reason why is that they offer the most reliable products I've ever used, as the previous blogger pointed out. In addition, I've received top-notch support over the years.

Yes, a few times over the years an issue would come up; but in every case Yokogawa has bent over backwards to take care of me and my operation. I can not say the same thing about most of the other automation vendors. Furthermore, contrary to the previous bloggers comments, I've always found Yokogawa products to be one of most, if not the most, technologically advanced products around. A lot of vendors disguise weak core measurement and control technology with extra and often useless bells and whistles, which does fool many users. But for me I've always sided with highly accurate and reliable measurements in products that outlast the competitors. No company is perfect, but in my opinion Yokogawa is certainly better than most.

Thursday, January 7, 2010 - In response to the January 7, 2010 blog on YCA:

I donít see you disputing any of the facts, but confirming the reduction in the work force at YCA. Further confirming the "restructuring", or as you call it, "managing tough economic times".

Restructuring was repeated in every management statement ever issued, blogged about since 2002, and in every Yokogawa press release, including that from Kaihori in his message to investors in July of 2009. (http://www.yokogawa.com/pr/IR/pr-ir-message-en.htm) I suggest a change from "Vigilance" to "Restructuring" as the Yokogawa motto.

I suspect you are one of the "power elite", trying to appear loyal to keep your own job. You have only demonstrated your lack of understanding by calling facts "fiction" and you need to reconnect with reality.

Current employees care about the company and see the lack of support for staff and favoritism within management. YCA's problems are also recognized by customers and potential customers. How could you be so blind? Maybe that's how you helped YCA get to this point. The only coincidence in the blogs about Yokogawa (domestic or international) is that the employees and customers have had enough.

You are the epitome of the YCA "power elite" and can only see and hear what you want to. If for some reason I have mistakenly called you this and you are not, you have successfully passed the test and are now fully qualified.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

There is no doubt Yokogawa is a good company and its products are good. Unfortunately what users have blogged about Yokogawa America is true. I have been using Yokogawa for more than a decade, and didn't find anything to complain. The products are not that technologically great compared to American counterparts, but run for a long time, troublefree.

Engineering was a real mess and Yokogawa America doesn't know how to use the proper resources. They sent few inexperienced folks to site, even though they have good experienced people. What n trusted insider tells is that they have started laying off few top brass on 6th January, 2010. The laying-off spree continued today for some middle level and contractual employees. But what the trusted sources comment is that the gala event would be this Friday, 8th January,2010.

It appears that Yokogawa North america leadership failed miserably and couldn't set the company back on thye right track. Other Automation companies have recovered and are back on track. One of important thing that the insider told me was that it appears everything is on a friendship basis, and many inexperienced folks are being given a lead position at sites, which is really pathetic.

As a Yokogawa user, I feel really sad about how North American management has messed up, and assume this blog would be read by their Japaneese counterparts in Japan. The fact in Yokogawa America is that they are not capable of grabbing a project and are losing to competitors.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I see an obvious cooincidence here between a company that is performing reductions-in-force to manage tough economic times, and the number of blogs with extreme comments. I suspect that a few former Yokogawa employees should exercise their real talents and pursue new careers in writing creative fiction.

I know Yokogawa reasonably well, and see a large degree of poison-pen work in this blog. The work of "customers" and "insiders"? Not very likely. I take many of these comments with a grain of salt. No, make that a pound of salt.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I was just referred to this blog by a contact within the industry. After reading some of the comments here, I can see I am not alone. I wanted to express my frustration with Yokogawa/YCA somewhere, and will try to limit my comments. Fortunately I was able to remove them from our vendors list due to a consistent lack of responsiveness; I am sure they donít even realize it. When I needed help I couldnít even get a return phone call, so we found help elsewhere.

I had heard from other vendors that Yokogawa seems to be in a constant state of flux, but I did not believe it at first. My relationship started out very positive with YCA, on the initial sales level, but I need action not words to support my plant. I can receive more responsive and personalized service from one of my other vendors or a smaller company that has more on the line. I only found out late in the game. I intend to spread the word about this blog to any other YCA customers I hear of, and suggest that other readers and bloggers do the same.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

As a recent prospective customer of YCA, it was very interesting to read the various comments on this topic here as some of these comments were experienced during our evaluation process for a significant project.

Initially we were quite impressed with YCA, as the many meetings with Sales, their Mid-Level and Senior Management staff was such that we had a clear preference for Yokogawa at the end of the bid stage. Their proposal was straightforward, and the highest quality of those received.

Only when we began to interview former and current clients of YCA at the urging of our management team did we uncover problems. We expected to receive a few negative comments regarding past performance as no vendor has an unblemished record of performance. However each and every YCA client interviewed by our team provided the same story. While fully impressed with the quality of their equipment, the unanimous comments were with regard to YCA's inability to deliver projects in a professional manner. All interviewed clients expressed an extreme degree of dissatisfaction with YCA's project execution and project management staff totally unexpected and previously experienced by our team members.

As a result, we were unable to recommend a decision to purchase Yokogawa to our management team based on these negative referrals. Based upon our initial opinions of YCA, we can only hope that they are able to correct their project execution problems quickly.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Does anyone know what is going on at Yokogawa Corporation of America (YCA)?

In May 2009 in an interview featured in Control Global, current CEO Dave Johnson said "We have had NO layoffs." Here is the link:


    "We are now $320 million in YCA. Products are $140 million, systems and engineering $160 million, with services at $20 million. We have 387 employees in Atlanta, 370 in Houston, 47 in Canada and Mexico, and 73 others (our regional sales people). We have had NO layoffs."

Immediately after this interview in June 2009 over 60 YCA direct employees were laid off and the joint venture between Yokogawa and Maverick (YMAC), used for Chevron projects, lost over 100 engineers and closed down. Was this a surprise to Mr. Johnson? Rumor is Chevron is now concerned that Yokogawa no longer has the capabilities to support them.

Layoffs occurred between June and December 2009 with an additional loss of more YCA direct employees. This was kept quiet and performed sporadically so customers would not be alarmed.

December 2009 ended the YCA third quarter with more bad financials resulting in additional layoffs scheduled for January 2010. Mr. Johnson will need to make major modifications to both his FY09 year end financials and employee count for the next interview.

The layoffs are apparently aimed at removing most of the experienced staff and firming up the power/friendship base in the Sugar Land office with new less experienced personnel. This was a strategic move to confirm the perceived position of management as a knowledge base.

In the same article Mr. Johnson indicates the official corporate office will be relocating to Sugar Land (Houston) Texas. Not a surprise, this has been in the works since the Sugar Land office opened. As stated previously, Human Resources, Finance and Legal are the first groups to be "requested" to move to the Houston area from the original Newnan Georgia location. This has left the Newnan staff depressed and demoralized; these are the people that helped build YCA. Rumor is the Newnan move will be accelerated in 2010 and you will also see a restructuring of the engineering center.

But we need to look closer at the rise to power of Mr. Johnson. During the reign of the previous YCA CEO, Shuzo (Shu) Kaihori, apparently Mr. Johnson made himself invaluable to him. As we all know Kaihori structured his current rise to CEO and President of Yokogawa Electric Inc. (YEI) and placed his friends in positions to support him. Unfortunately the process industry looked at the selection of Mr. Johnson as one of the least qualified individuals to hold the helm at YCA. I am sure the board of directors is taking a closer look at both Kaihori and Johnson, they canít continue to blame the economy with the decisions they make.

The Senior Vice President (VP) of Sales, a former Invensys/Foxboro employee; adding to the "home for Ex-Foxboro" comments made by the industry and internally named "Foxagawa" by YCA employees. You would think that anyone in a position of this magnitude would have more to offer to the sales staff then a berating to meet the numbers; obviously limited in his sales abilities and mentoring skills. I will say his skills are enhanced only by his overall lack of understanding of the departments he "inherited" after the abrupt departure of the former Senior VP, at the hands of Mr. Johnson.

On 8 December 2009 a press release was issued by YCA:

In this press release the VP of YCA Sales is commenting on the new tool for remote monitoring YCA will now provide. Seems a little due diligence would have shown a similar tool is in development from Japan. Maybe he only glanced over the information and someone else wrote the statement attributed to him in the press release. This press release was pulled at the request of Japan and the partnership agreement with NextNine is no longer.

I understand that the board of directors and senior management of Yokogawa Japan are reading this blog. Not surprised since US employees forwarded or brought copies to Japan. This being the case since Mr. Johnson and his "power elite" (quote from previous blogger) took over what has changed within YCA? I know the Sugar Land office is nicely decorated and the same old customer base is impressed with it; but you can't be blind to the strangle hold Mr. Johnson and his "power elite" have on this regional office. Although Japan has deep pockets, investors and board members need to begin questioning financial allocations made to support YCA. Go beyond SAP and take a closer look at how the allocations are distributed and what the backing is actually used for; an outside audit may shed some light.

I have seen the rumor on this blog noting that a person from the US (YCA) may be added to the board of directors. I hope this is just the sake talking.

Recently Human Resources (HR) sent a request to all personnel asking them to verify that your spouse is really your spouse. Seems as though some employees signed up "friends" for medical benefits; how was this discovered? Guess we will never know as long as you are a friend of the CEO. This does give new meaning to the old term "friend with benefits".

Recently the General Manager (GM) of HR in Sugar Land was "requested" to move to Newnan Georgia and the HR Manager of Newnan was "requested" to take over in Sugar Land as GM. It is well known within YCA that the former Sugar Land GM of HR was from Finance and had little experience heading the HR department for the last two years. Again another friend of the CEO, this person did little to help employees and the company but did get the CEO to create a management position for her son-in-law.

As you can see from the many blogs on Yokogawa the problems are not limited to regional operations. Could this be the result of the direction set by the supreme leader and Chairman of Yokogawa, Isao Uchida? Maybe he started as a humble instrument salesman but he is a legend in his own mind now. He has lost touch with the employees and is unaware of the problems within his management. Remember his statement "Yokogawa will be number 1 by 2010". This was not based on any logical business process or reasonable percentage increase over time. It resulted in an international assignment of quota to meet the expected financial results necessary to be number 1. The problems are complex and are compounded by the ineptness of YEI leadership.

If you are one of those hit by the layoff samurai in January 2010 don't forget to ask HR and Mr. Johnson about the sayonara party that includes open bar and fine steak dinner, similar to that provided to Mr. Johnson's girlfriend when she was asked to leave by Japan.

Happy New Year?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - Re Border Agency/Corruption:

I know for a fact that these blogs are reviewed by HQ in Tokyo and Kaihori and his underlings have been asking questions to Amersfoort and itís caused a big stink. What I donít understand why has nothing been done about it and all of those Directors (MD, FD, Projects etc) not been fired for bringing the company into disrepute? Donít they care about the companies reputation or are they just interested in lining there own pockets by using cheap and illegal labour? Or more than likely UK management has lied to HQ or Japan are hoping it just blows away.

I remember the projects director in a budget update meeting that had been presented to top management in Amersfoort, showing us a copy of all the engineering resource proposed for various projects and clearly it showed GTS were being used for 1000ís of man hours of work in the UK. Was Amersfoort stupid, negligent or complicit in all this?

This really does not set a good example to any employee and management should not be two faced if employees take small advantages. Someone (from Holland I think) asked if our managers were also our MPís?, I can go along with this as they all seem to have the same standards after reading what they are claiming for on their expenses.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - Re: Yokogawa/Border Agency (blog Saturday, December 12, 2009):

The blogger is correct in what he has found on the GTS web site (probably to be removed shortly!) but previous blogs were incorrect to say the GTS engineers were in the UK on visitors visas, the were here on a business visas, which gives you the right of stay for 6 months to conduct your business i.e sales/business visits for your employer.

I remember a memo from the UK financial controller that confirmed that he was aware of how GTS were entering the UK and thought they/we couldnít get away with it any longer by saying the GTS engineers were in Runcorn for business meetings when in fact they were working over here illegally. Another question is why didnít any of the customers question what was going on (BP, AMEC/Shell, BBL, Kent Enviropower etc) as they must have been site inductions and identifications checked? Did our management lie to their clients about all this as well?

The rules were and are very specific ñ ëThe skilled worker category (Tier 2 General) is for people coming to the United Kingdom with a skilled job offer to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker.í Yokogawa must have acted as a sponsor and confirmed to the Border Agency that these skills did not exist in the UK, which is totally untrue of course.

A previous blogger commented about ëif anyone was unhappy, they should LEAVEí. Totally agree - if I wasnít working for a company that has no morals or ethics and deliberately lies to a government body at the expense of British jobs. So Iím staying, doing the best I can, looking forward to Friday, dreading Mondayís and now my loyalty lasts until I can leave when I chose to. Is this wrong, probably; but not as bad as what Yokogawa are doing, and Iím not harming anyone.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - Re non Japanese on main board of directors:

There are only 2 runners and riders - one from the US and the other from Europe. Donít know anything about the guy in the US, but he sounds like another compliant management clone. Europe is struggling badly, but the US business seems to have disintegrated; so itís probably the US guy who will join!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - UK budget - From our usually reliable source:

Systems ñ 1 systems position to go, as no short to medium term business can be relied on for next year. Sales manager to work key accounts mainly in North (Scotland?), Aberdeen office to concentrate on selling services with review in 6 months. Questions over Irish office to be discussed at budget meeting.

Products ñ Netsol products to be sold by IA team. Netsol sales team to go - possibly one integrated and re-trained. Inside sales, 1 to go. Admin. under review with 1 position under review. Product managers role to be discussed, key account responsibilities? and possibility of Netsol and T&M tie up. All outside sales to have minimum target of Ä1M (£1M). Service and projects to be discussed in separate meeting in January, Amersfoort HR to assist in discussions/redundancys.

Heard the new HQ FC is pushing for big changes for immediate and sustainable profitability. As usual, the chiefs are safe but the Indians are to be banished from the reservation.

Looks like we are due to have another Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - Re 'Moral High Ground':

This guy really grinds my gears. Does he not realise that there are international laws against behaving this way? I canít say that Iím surprised though. When I was a global account manager for an automation vendor in the US (who didnít behave this way or condone these practices), no one was more surprised than me when Yokogawa won the Chevron account from us after a 20 year successful global relationship with very few problems. There were all sorts of rumours that the Yokogawa account manager was paid a $1M bonus for landing the account. I knew this guy from years ago at Foxboro and I heard a large amount of what was paid was compensation for ëexpensesí he had incurred in winning the business. How the hell do you stop these practices?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Just heard that Euro HQ IT is spending a lot of time analyzing network traffic, especially people logging on remotely. Wouldn't be surprised if the next move is to recall laptops for an 'upgrade' of the anti-virus program to make sure itís blocking the now famous 'JimPinto.com weblog virus'. Good housekeeping/cleaning is always good practice on a computer...

Monday, December 14, 2009 - Re Yokogawa and ICI:

I remember this situation, but more detail is that in 1988 (I think) when they were awarded the contract, there was only a small office in Middlesex with 2 Japanese salesmen and not much else in Europe. The criteria for selection, as I remember, was a physical presence in the UK for at least 10 years and an installation in at least 1 ICI plant, preferably 2 or 3. I worked for Honeywell at the time as a service engineer and we had lots of references + local support offices, but didn't even get on the final list. Shameful as 2 of our offices closed down and the staff laid off.

Looks like this was the 'entry tactic' to gain a foothold in the UK. Came from nowhere and looking like going nowhere now, unless of course these desperate times make them 'resort to type' even more so than it sounds like how they have been making gains in the UK over the last 10 years or so.

Monday, December 14, 2009 - Re Yokogawa and corruption:

Why all the moral high ground stuff? Anyone with an ounce of business savvy knows that 'when in Rome, do as the Romans do'. This is why GE probably teamed up with Yokogawa to enter the Japanese market as they knew how to do the business there and what is required; unfortunately they got caught out.

Anyone who has worked for a Japanese manufacturer in whatever industry knows this is how they operate. They pay to ensure success and increase (totally) the chances of winning an order. Yokogawa are no different than a lot of companies including European ones, they are just better at it as itís in their cultural DNA to do business this way, they donít see anything wrong with it.

Ask yourself this question, would you pay a customer to make sure you won an order and kept your job and your family secure along with those of your colleagues, or would you embrace a period of unemployment for the sake of a few misplaced 'holier than thou' principles?

Monday, December 14, 2009 - Yokogawa ñ From a British 'resting' project manager with 20 years experience in process automation DCS systems, subject; Corruption & hiring of illegal workers:

If Yokogawa have done this, they deserve to never win an order again. Totally disgraceful, a morally bankrupt company, should be reported to the authorities.

Monday, December 14, 2009 - Re the ëLarge giftí to a Shell Engineer:

I remember this from when I worked at Shell Chemicals for 6 months commissioning the TDC3000 on the Carilon LDPE project. I know the engineer concerned and was told the 'gift' in question was a basic model Ford Fiesta. He had no idea what this was about and reported it to his manager.

Apparently Yokogawa firstly claimed it was a misunderstanding, but then denied everything when they were officially asked to explain in writing. The car had been registered in the engineers name and was parked in the staff car park for about 12 months before it was decided by the engineer and his management it could be auctioned off for a local charity.

I remember the engineer he said his wife was so embarrassed when it was delivered in front of the neighbour's as she drove a BMW at the time. Could have been worse, could have been a Datsun!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

OK, these are just my OPINIONs, but... It looks as though my 24-June-09 post has struck a nerve. I'm glad to see that my displeasure with management wasn't just a result of an individual experience. It seems as though this is cultural within Yokogawa. I am also very happy to see such a high level of input from the EC.

To the gents who commented "Please motivate yourselfs (sic) and follow the rules.", and "Most of this is just rubbish, and similar comments, I would say this: Mny of us have tried for YEARS to get these issues addressed. The lack of insight at the top, and middle management's reluctance to bring reality to their attention, are what has led to the demoralization in the trenches. If middle level management had addressed these concerns, people wouldn't have to resort to using this web site to vent.

In response to the 23-Oct-09 post regarding the MarComm memo, I would respectfully suggest that it's management who is damaging the company by not having the courage to bring chronic issues to upper level management in a forceful manner.

In a further step toward isolating itself, Yokogawa's top financial and HR folk are transitioning to Houston. It's obvious that there is no recognition of the fact that it's the talent in Newnan that has been carrying things in the States.

I was most interested in the comment that a "Non-Japanese" is rumoured to be joining the board. If this person is from the States, this will bring the myopia to the very top levels, if it is not already there.

All of this is, of course, just my personal opinion.

Saturday, December 12, 2009 - Re: Yokogawa/Border Agency:

As a British engineer who is currently out of work, and who has recently applied for work and told there is no work at Yokogawa in Runcorn, I am incensed at the way they have employed workers outside of the EU illegally, in preference to firstly British engineers, but also EU ones for financial gain.

Having spent years at Brunner Mond being responsible for the Yokogawa DCS and being highly experienced, I was told there were no vacancies, I now realise why. Out of curiosity having read these blogs I checked the GTS (Global Technical Services) web site
and found these references:

    G.T.S. service engineers working with Yokogawa UK (YEF) for Commissioning and startup for the follwing projects:
    • Kent Enviropower, Energy from waste Facility, UK, 2008.
    • Chevron Nigeria, Nigeria, 2007.
    • Bp. watch farm CCMS & HMI Replacement project UK 2007/2008.
    • AMEC/Shell, BBL GAS Reception Project, Bacton, UK, 2008.
Having checked this, I know there is no way approval would be given by the border agency for foreign workers to work on commissioning and start up work unless they had been told that this was ëspecialised and uniqueí work. I invite someone from the Yokogawa management by way of this blog to justify the employment of none EU nationals over experienced British engineers experienced on Yokogawa systems to explain what reasons they gave to the border agency on this matter, and why indigenous engineers were refused work.

Also, I read on other blogs that the UK has made massive losses for the last few years, how can this be unless they are diverting profit from the UK to avoid paying taxes? They take money from UK companies and pay nothing back to the infrastructure. It makes me so angry! I now have to work overseas to feed my family and make a living.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I have been following with some interest the comments on Yokogawa and their 'market approach'. I worked at ICI Wilton in the UK during the period the DCS standards were being finalised, as part of the technical assessment panel. With no UK installations and no installations at any ICI facility worldwide, Yokogawa were all of a sudden the preferred DCS vendor.

I can't recall any engineer involved in the standards discussions either agreeing or understanding the decision made by the head of purchasing and supply; we were just told to accept the decision. Visits were made to Japan by the commercial team and one of them must have liked it so much in the Far East that he took at least 3 holidays out there with his family after Yokogawa were made a key supplier.

The first system installed was a micro-xl on the Monomer 8 plant that was OK. But all the ops manuals were initially in Japanese, again completely confusing as how they got on to the approved vendors list in the first place as none of the information met the required ICI standards.

After leaving ICI, I joined a major DCS vendor who was one of the losers in the ICI assessment. I was responsible, amongst other things, for the Shell account and when we were bidding for a project there in the early 90's, became aware of Yokogawa's interest. Fortunately, the Shell engineers were not stupid and resisted the overtures to visit Japan and one I know even sent back a large 'gift' sent at Christmas during the technical evaluation. The Shell engineers involved told me that he felt that Yokogawa were underhand in their approach and as a matter of principle found ways to reject their offer of a hugely discounted DCS. A lot of these engineers ended up at Shell in Aberdeen, which probably accounts for why they did no DCS business up there for years.

I think this business culture/approach has probably served Yokogawa well over the years and may account for their rapid increase in market presence. Most projects/accounts that I have lost to Yokogawa have all told me afterwards they regret their decision, but it's then too late as most DCS's have a lifetime of 20 years+ and the damage has been done. The other issue that people may not know is that the Japanese government 'funded' overseas activities by incentives etc. to break into and develop overseas markets. I'm not aware of any UK/US/European government offering similar incentives, so it's not exactly a level playing field.

Something's worked out though. The head of p&s at ICI took early retirement about 10 years ago and immediately walked into Yokogawa as their head of purchasing in the UK. Don't know if he's still there, but it was lucky for him there was a vacancy. Don't know where he takes his holidays these days though.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A question I would ask would be, apart from supporting systems on their bids, what is the point of product sales? The world has moved on and customers want solutions not products. What is the reason for supporting this activity with the size of the current salesforce? I can understand the reason for keeping pressure and temperature products as 90% of our bids use these instruments. But, who buys recorders these days? Outdated thinking and a new approach is required.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Anyone else heard that Kaihori is stepping down at the end of the year? Replacement is supposed to be Yamamoto, with Uchida playing a mentoring role, all due to lack of shareholder confidence. Also rumoured a non-Japanese will be joining the board.

Friday, December 11, 2009 - Subject new sales manager:

It's clear there is no long term plan for the business. There are internal candidates with experience that haven't even been considered. So much bull about a company 'that always looks from within' and promotes the philosophy of career planning. It's a joke. A friend of mine was approached about the job by a headhunter months ago. He was told that the plan was to reduce project execution capability even further in the UK with Amersfoort still taking the larger project orders away, but a network of integrators was to be established (Tenet, ONG etc) to handle any UK work. He said they wanted someone who could run a lean and mean operation and not afraid to make difficult decisions. I think Runcorn is being run down - as commented on in earlier blogs. Another great move by the UK Damaging Director.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I have contributed to these discussions before, about the lies told to the UK Border agency and the corruption that went on with GTS. Having read the criticism of the projects group from people who really should know better, I feel I must put the record straight.

When I joined there was no QA systems for projects in place apart from the high level stuff you get in ISO9000:2000 which if the management understood the standard would realise was none prescriptive. With no detailed procedures in place and no leadership on this issue and deadlines to meet with customers, PMís did what any professional would do and used their experience to sort out the mess. We tried to co-ordinate between us but as soon as something went wrong we always got blamed.

What was never explained is why we had a contractor PM who had been there for years who refused to use our own engineers in preference to agency engineers he kept hiring. He did this with the full knowledge of the management who knew we had our own engineers with little or no work. His boss and my boss knew about it but I didnít work for him at another company before so thatís probably what made the difference!

What nobody understands is that this contractor PM who was responsible for the Bruce project with BP was paid a bonus for his work on the FEED study. They were his estimates of man hours and risk but he was was not removed/fired after the project man hours were out by thousands and he didnít warn anybody until it was too late.

Anywhere else you would be out so why were management right up to the top protecting him at this time? I came across many irregularities in my time there, some were oversights but others had the smell about them.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Just heard that the new UK Sales manager is from Invensys and more recently Honeywell. As our new manager is in his 60ís, sort of perpetuates the myth that this is a retirement home for these guys. On the bright side, his previous experience in doomed companies should serve him well here. The Invensys mafia strikes again and looks after their own as always.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I would observe that most of the bloggers on the Yokogawa UK site are either employed in projects or product sales. What I donít understand is the role of the product managers. They are supposed to be marketing strategists, but apart from a few adverts placed originating from European marcom, there doesnít seem to be a lot of activity in this area. When I talk to colleagues about the inside sales team, they seem to know all there is about the products and have little or no need to interact with the product managers. So that leaves a few people in the outside product sales team who should know all about the products they are selling anyway, and if not, why not? In systems sales we donít have legions of product managers in the UK, but always manage to make our bids technically and sales wise OK. Every time I visit Runcorn, the product managers seemed glued to there desks, and from what I understand hardly ever visit customers. This is unlike other companys within Yokogawa Europe, who seem to get on fine without this role, or the product managers are proactive and always visiting customers. They seem to have got themselves in a position where they have a special category regarding company cars (high range BMW's etc) and presumably paid a lot more than a senior sales person. Only a guess, but could be possible to save over £250K p.a. by removing this function, training up the outside product sales more and adopting what other Yokogawa companies do. Every where else in the company we are being encouraged to question how we do things, so perhaps this is an are that needs attention.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Just found this March 2009 article on the "Automation Insider" website, discussed earlier in another blog.


    Yokogawa top brass take 40% pay cuts as third quarter net loss tops $400m and orders plunge by 25%
    Triple whammy - This dramatic change in policy is the result of Yokogawa finding itself the victim of a triple whammy comprised of plummeting domestic demand, rapidly contracting overseas markets and a soaring yen which has appreciated by some 15% against the US dollar since September.

I thought my company had problems before I read this, they really are in trouble. Still aiming for number one though!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 - Re - Yokogawa Projects:

I used to work for one of the major contractors in the UK. They had won a couple of projects about 6 or 7 years ago for a client based in the middle east. Our DCS vendor of choice was ABB, we knew the ABB system from previous projects, knew the project team really well and had some good pricing in place. After we were awarded the contract, we came under pressure from the client to change to Yokogawa from ABB.

Yokogawa's first quote was overall more expensive and we had severe doubts about their execution capability and experience on our first fieldbus project. Negotiations took place and the revised pricing was submitted. The new prices were unbelievable. We informed the client that something had to have been missed off but, due to the structure of the contract, we had to be 'guided' by the clients wishes. After we started the project it all became clear they were trying to pull a fast one.

I think the expression used in an earlier blog is appropriate, 'Caveat Emptor'. The whole project was hostile from the start and we were sure that Yokogawa was influencing the client behind our backs to pressurize us into accepting Yokogawa's claims for the extra work they should have bid for in the first place. The project was very late and caused many problems with our client. I know of many other UK contractors that have experienced similar problems with the UK operation. Some of their ex engineers now work for the contractors and have some interesting tales to tell as well. Good kit but not a good company.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Has anyone heard anything about what is to be happening with Euro T&M? There are stories about an integration and downsizing, but now it is quiet again and the budgets season are being made but with no feedback this time. Also why is the mw100 being recalled quietly with customers? Is it a hardware or software problems?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I agree with the comments about Emerson being a great place to work. I work in the UK, and since I joined a few years ago I have enjoyed everyday I have worked here. The systems and people are first class and the customer service delivered is outstanding. Sure there are problems like any other company, but there is willingness to sort them out together.

I was interviewed twice by Yokogawa over the last ten years. The first time I was told verbally I had the job but no contract ever arrived and no explanation. The second time I met with them you could see that nothing had actually progressed in the organisation. Talking to a few customers and ex colleagues about their experiences with Yokogawa led me to not discussing any further, even though they wanted me to work for them. Yokogawa werenít even aware of my previous situation with them.

I was lucky that Emerson came a knocking. Like all buys, it's not only how the system performs, it's whatís behind it and what support you get. It appears that, unlike Yokogawa, Emerson people enjoy where they work so that there is no need to whinge and complain on these blogs.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I worked at Yokogawa UK a few years ago in the projects group when we had an audit by a Manchester contractor to determine our suitability for work in the pharmaceutical industry. It was a joke and only lasted 30 minutes as it was so obvious that even a basic quality system for project management didnít exist. The audit team made strong comments that Yokogawa were only interested in price and that the pre-bid quotes they had made were significantly cheaper due to the fact they had missed out some major parts and didnít understand the risks or the project requirements. I notice that the UK has signed an agreement with Tenet Consultants as they know there own quality systems would not stand up to scrutiny by the nuclear industry. Anybody who is thinking of buying from them should ask to speak to customers on their last 10 projects to get feedback of how they perform!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Colleagues who have blogged previously keep missing the point that dissatisfaction and 'despair' arises from believing that you have been sold a pup career wise, when you left a promising career elsewhere for the opportunities and future you were promised at Yokogawa.

Once you realise there is no prospect of advancement, that there are no annual pay increases for the foreseeable future (you should ask your manager what's been put in next year's budget) and all your hard work and contributions are actually worthless because other parts of the company are so unprofessional and ill disciplined, it does get demoralizing.

Do I feel guilty about blogging, complaining and admitting Iím hanging around until something better comes along? NO I DON'T because I'm sure as hell my boss doesnít lose an ounce of sleep worrying about the promises made to me and others when he convinced me to join 'Jokeagawa UK.'

Monday, November 30, 2009

The problems in the UK engineering group seem never to have been solved, and have been worse over the recent years. The issue is that almost every project with a global, important customer has developed a bad customer relationship, and engineering badly managed. The system sales people have only won their business due to global agreements won by others with the EPC happening to be located in the UK. The number of projects where Amersfoort was forced to intervene (Seagas, BP etc) became all too frequent. When we tried to help after customer insistence, the UK management behaved always like it was not their problem and we were faced with stresses from both the customer and the UK. We only became involved because the UK engineering could not provide solutions to customer concerns. If the UK could make successful projects, our involvement would not be there or needed. The UK engineers we dealt with are good, the problem is always from PM in the upwards direction.

Professional companies demand professional competence. Amersfoort management are also sometimes to blame, as they know it is the same people causing problems on each project. To have contractors in senior decision making positions is not a good idea. This is why the man-hours are always excessive. With the new facility in Amersfoort, I think the solution is, for now, based on experience, that all but the smallest projects are handled here, as we now have the experience and respect of the UK customer.

Sunday, November 29, 2009 - Response to, "Well said Mr William Gibbons" - Tuesday Nov. 24, 2009:

Most people I work with 'do care about taking the company forward' but are frustrated by the lack of professional management by people who obviously have no doubt about their own abilities. I think this is referred to as being 'unconsciously incompetent'.

An alternative proposal to leaving would be to remove the source of their feeling that they are in a 'pit of despair'. This would involve:

  1. Remove any project director/manager who has not run a project to on time and on budget over the course of their employment with Yokogawa UK. To make it fairer, after an analysis of all the projects they have been responsible for, the net result should be a profit
  2. Any systems sales person who has not made his target at any stage over the course of their employment and has not even covered their own costs should also be dismissed.
  3. Anyone in netsol who has not made his target at any stage over the course of their employment and has not even covered their own costs should also be dismissed.
  4. Remove any director who has not made a net profit over the course of their employment with Yokogawa UK. To make it fairer, the cumulative losses should be <£4M over the last 6 years.
Once this has been achieved, replacing these positions with competent, capable and enthusiastic people would go a long way to ensuring a higher and closer matching of capabilities within the organization and a better feeling that the company can move forward and the rewards of success would go to the people that deserve it, and more importantly, take away the feeling that we are in a 'pit of despair'.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009 - from Larry Bolton [larry.bolton@emerson.com]:

Re: Sunday, November 22, 2009 "Has anyone read any of the other blogs? The only company no one seems to complain about is Emerson, perhaps they are the perfect company to work for."

I have worked for Emerson for 8 1/2 years, after 22 years with Honeywell. I love it here. The company is dedicated to customer service, customer satisfaction, engineering and shareholder value. Do we have our problems? Absolutely. But everyone is commited to fixing them from the top down and the bottom up. I'm in sales and nowhere is there a company with better, more innovative products addressing customer needs. When you stop the politics then a company can shine. I'm proud to work here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Well said Mr William Gibbons! Yokogawa UK is a great place to work. I find it incredible that a number of bloggers on this site have not taken time to read past posts, as they do indeed seek to identify and comment on a number of people outside of the management.

There is though one simple answer to the unhappy individuals ñ LEAVE. Please do not hide behind 'there are no jobs around'; if you spend time looking, you will find good engineering staff are in demand. Maybe you doubt your own abilities.

So it is simple really, go and work for someone else and leave Yokogawa UK to the people who care about taking it forward.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009 - Re: Bill Gibbons blog:

Bill has fallen into the trap of being righteously indignant in front of his management and then being challenged to do something about it if he felt so strongly about it. It would have come across better if he hadn't criticized his colleagues in the way he did. To pick up on his earlier comment about 'having confidence in the systems and services he sells' it's a great pity he didnít actually sell more, so projects would have at least something to do. People who live in glass houses...

    JimPinto Note: It adds credibility when a people choose to use their name. And, it's too easy to criticize anonymously.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

BP again. A friend of mine who works at Yokogawa told me that the BP manager who flew to Tokyo to test and approve their system took early retirement shortly afterwards. He set himself up as a consultant and made a presentation at a Vigilance meeting in Germany in 2007 for which he was handsomely paid. Now I understand Yokogawa is a good customer for him. Nice work if you can get it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I respect the right of everybody and anybody to hold an opinion, regardless of whether I agree with them or not. It's a pity Bill Gibbons doesn't understand this, and resorts to criticism of his colleagues who hold different views.

Most people who blog here are expressing real concerns. From what I can see and hear, they are obviously concerned at what's happening within Yokogawa. Unwarranted attacks on your colleagues and veiled threats of 'while it is possible to recognise individuals I work with, from the descriptions of their home life, job title or even bids they have won or lost' may give colleagues the impression he will, or more likely has, expressed his suspicions to management of which colleagues have been contributing to this blog. That is why this blog remains open to anyone who has an opinion but doesn't feel confident or chooses not to be identified. Long may it continue.

The best advice I can give him is to print your comments from the blog and have them inserted in his personnel file for his next review. Might take the heat off explaining his sales over the last three years.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

If Bill Gibbons took the trouble to actually read the comments that have been made, he would realize that nobody has critisized any work colleagues (apart from the PM) either in the UK or overseas. The comments are critisizing management and the policies. Perhaps he would have more credibility if he responds by making a statement in full support of his management and the way they are conducting business.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

As a former customer of Yokogawa on one of those not very successful projects mentioned previously, I now fully subscribe to the old saying 'Caveat Emptor'. Systems are great, engineering technical competence and delivery the worst I have ever experienced. You won't get fired for buying Yokogawa, but neither will you get a promotion afterwards.

Monday, November 23, 2009 - from Bill Gibbons [bill.gibbons@uk.yokogawa.com]:

I have worked for Yokogawa twice; I rejoined after a stint with an American competitor some 3 years ago. I came back to Yokogawa as I preferred the culture of cooperation and integration that exist here, compared with what I experienced elsewhere.

There are too many topics on this blog for me to attempt to comment on them all. However, I will say this: while it is possible to recognise individuals I work with, from the descriptions of their home life, job title or even bids they have won or lost, what I cannot recognize here is the company I work for.

I enjoy working at Yokogawa and I find the willingness of my colleagues both in the UK and overseas to assist me if requested, refreshing when compared to my experiences with previous employers.

It would seem to me that huge amounts of this blog are written by no more that a handful of current and ex-employees, who seem intent on trying to drag us all into the pit of despair they inhabit. I for one like the company I work for, the job I do, the people I work with and I have confidence in the systems and services I sell.

Monday, November 23, 2009 - Re: "Has anyone read any of the other blogs?"

Sounds like a Yokogawa Marcom comment to me. Perhaps this bolog is serving a purpose in exposing what it is really like to work here at the moment. If the blogger took the trouble (and had the time, but if you work in marcom you will have) you would see there are plenty of negative comments on the Emerson blog but obviously not as many as we have. Maybe it is something to do with how our company is managed?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Has anyone read any of the other blogs? The only company no one seems to complain about is Emerson, perhaps they are the perfect company to work for. Or perhaps the Emerson blog is edited. An ex-colleague of mine and member of the Emerson sales team did add negative comments on to the Emerson blog regarding the management of the sales force. For some reason these comments are no longer on the blog. Just thought to mention it.

    Jim Pinto Note: I do NOT edit any weblogs - no reason to. I do exclude specific names (except for CEO-level) and blogs with un-necessary foul language.

Friday, November 20, 2009

What sort of company does the 'BP Account Manager' work for if he thinks he will lose his job after losing one order? I bet there were other factors involved; presumably he's still there?

Friday, November 20, 2009

I have worked for both Yokogawa and Siemens. I was at Siemens when all the bribery stuff kicked off in the telecoms group. Didnít notice anything funny in the Siemens PA section on overseas bids but Yokogawa definitely had some strange pricing agreements overseas. Perhaps the Japanese are more subtle/clever? UK bids were straightforward, from what I understood, most if not all of the losses on UK business was down to incompetence in systems/projects. Good systems but not as good as they claim.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Most of this is just rubbish. Check out the following and stop reading this garbage. Does this sound like a company just trying to survive?

  • November 10, 2009 Differential pH sensor features sealed reference cell for long life and stability
  • November 4, 2009 Yokogawa Releases Enhanced Version of CENTUMÆ VP
  • November 2, 2009 Yokogawa Releases Enhanced Version of ProSafe-RS Safety Instrumented System ñ New modules for large-scale plant applications.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Re - Wednesday, July 25, 2007, Yokogawa wins a BIG Chevron order away from Honeywell on the Yoko blog. "Yokogawa said it has received an order from U.S. energy company Chevron Corp. for an oil refinery management system estimated at US$813 million; euro606.6 million).".

Yet another lost account for us the competition. If you look at the Yoko web blog on here, market share is still the aim by dumping with key global accounts but there may be other factors we had not thought about. If you Google for ëYokogawa + GEí you find lots of info on how they have won business in the past.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

If that's true about managers claiming for fictitious customers visits and subsistence, they want shooting or firing at the very least. It's a disgrace. I too hope someone from HQ is reading this. My blood is boiling!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The editor and journal referred to in the 6/11/09 blog is Andrew Bond of AUTOMATION INSIDER (not Auto information). I donít think he was a pain; he just didn't get sensible answers to the questions he asked. On the Vigilance roadshow at Brands Hatch a few years ago, he tied 2 of our Directors up in knots over the defence of the Number-1 statement. Everybody from Yokogawa was cringing at the explanations given. It's all in the past now as we have other things to concentrate on, like survival!

    JimPinto Note: This posting is based on an article in the April 2003 issue of the Industrial Automation INSIDER newsletter. This has been substantially modified and includes comments by the blogger not found in the original text.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

As the Account Manager for BP for one of the unlucky competitors who nearly lost his job after losing the BP Bruce account/project, after reading the Yokogawa blog I now understand what I was competing against. There is a world of difference between competing fairly and pricing so it inevitably means the customer has no choice but to accept the lower bid (I hesitate to use the phrase dumping). If is true the h/w and s/w cost less to buy than make, no wonder it is not a level playing field. A financial search on the UK operation shows massive cumulative losses over the last 5 years. So how much other business was won by these methods? Now the economic climate has changed the foolishness of how Yokogawa operates, is there for all to see, you canít support activities like this indefinitely. The comments from the blog of the 6th November re Yokogawa getting caught bribing university professors (it's also detailed in the novel by Micheal Crighton ñ Rising Sun) are probably not appropriate for me to comment on, apart from that old saying that springs to mind about 'leopards not changing their spots'.

On the positive side, I find that Yokogawa's reputation to deliver on time to customers expectations in the North Sea have suffered badly and my accounts hopefully realise that buying the cheapest is not always the most sensible option.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

From the blog of the 6th November, literal translation of 'Snoeien' is to cut back dead stalks to allow new flowers to grow. As the MD of Marex has been spending time in HQ lately perhaps it means changes soon for UK. It may be that Marex is closed to there old business which is more or less in Tokyo anyway and becomes new UK sales office also with London sales office, providing old issues with GKN pension fund can be hidden successfully from the trustees.

2 Country Managers are not normally required and the Marex MD is very popular in Amersfoort. Is everybody aware that Runcorn is the only office that is owned by the company in Europe as all others are leased and is currently valued at Ä950k? Watch out for the for sale signs and a new boss.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I think the respondee to my missive of 21st October misses completely the point I was trying to make. Discussion and an honest appraisal of our current strengths and weaknesses are the only way to move forward. If our sales force isnít adequate, then it either needs more training until it is, or new hires. Since I joined, my frustrations have been many, but hopefully our Japanese colleagues will read these blog comments and speak to us directly without involving the source of everybodyís frustration i.e. Amersfoort and Rota.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A few observations on the financial results for H1 which are now available and make for interesting reading. Orders and Sales up from initial forecast, and operating losses held at -$27M, net loss improved to -$161M for H1. Seem to be guilty of late? Re-evaluation of assets/investments, but presume there was a limit to how much bad news could be reported in 2008.

The ratio of where the business comes from hasn't really changed that much, with Japan at 47% (but market saturation at home) and the market they really need to break into, the US, languishing behind with a $6M loss for H1. These ratios haven't really changed that much since 2005, so it makes you wonder how we were aiming for number 1 with so low a market share in key areas. Can only assume those super intelligent investors spotted this, or not as the case may be. As has been said before, if this were a US corporation, the execs would have been exited a long time ago and the stock flung in the can.

One subtle change seems to be the re-classification of product groups where Industrial Recorders sits in the control domain now and not T&M. Recorders used to produce 50% of the profit and now presumably make the control group look healthier. A move to lessen embarrassment at the top?

Year end forecast is now $2.9B (Control only) sales and a net loss of $222M, not bad for a company employing 18,000 people. Much worse sales/employee ratios than the competition, but that's another story.

Ironic that Invensys is growing and in profit and out of all the majors, we are the worst performing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Earlier comments about Electrofact hit the spot accurately. From the day of the takeover, HQ in the old Amersfoort building was always most profitable. The funds from the analyzers helped to pay for all the recorder business and systems business. We broke into new markets in the US and strengthened our position in Europe. The money we could re-invest to R+D was always limited which is why our product range always looks old in the end. When transmitters (not flow) joined the camp in the early 90's, it was always analyzers which funded the development. Sure we had some new product disasters such as the 150 but this was a joint activity with Tokyo who always in my opinion had the hidden agenda. We had our own MD and when he had to leave, the structure and spirit changed and disappeared. Next we lost the transmitter business to Tokyo. Sales are down, market share decreases year on year over the last 5 years, this must be the reverse midas mentality/strategy. You never recover from such mistakes. Ask our competition.

Contributors on the other blogs say that their top management monitor and read these blogs. I really hope ours do and do something about it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

To our friends on the island with the funny currency, do not despair. Since the pay freeze, your managers not in sales have been making so many customer visits and claiming the mileage and meals, we are sure your business will be back on track soon with all these activities. Last 2 years no visits made; now so many you cannot believe it. Perhaps your managers are also your MPís. SAP now gives you so much detail you should take a look yourselves.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's nice to know that the person (from 21st Oct. blog) with experience of both Emerson and Yokogawa thinks that the Emerson sales people in the UK "are of better quality (experience, education, etc)." We must try much much harder to convince him otherwise. Very motivational.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I thought long and hard about posting here, as I believed there had to be a better way of expressing your concerns and frustrations. Unfortunately, I now realise there isn't, and join my colleagues who have already posted earlier.

I joined Yokogawa UK, not because of the products/benefits/nice car etc. but because I believed in my manager, his team and what he wanted us all to achieve. We had a great team spirit and took pride in achieving together the fantastic success that we had. We had support and felt valued.

Despite all this, the man in charge always managed to make us all feel insignificant and isolated. The previous blog about him turning up at our sales meeting and demotivating us, is totally true. Almost every sales person (including foreign colleagues) has a tale of how negative he is against the company and his managers. Even his boss doesn't appear to like him, but nobody can understand why nothing is ever done about it. All the sales engineers know the story of Harry Hauptmeijer at the Netsol meeting in Manchester telling them that, if this person didn't perform he was out. Nothing happened and that was 3 years ago.

We knew the writing was on the wall of how things were going to be when the first cuts in April took place in the most successful group, yet system sales, which loses all the money, escaped intact. We just know that if the results continue as they are, we won't be given 6 years to turn it round; we will be out without so much as a thanks.

People (especially us) aren't respected anymore for who they are, what they have contributed and what they achieve. HR is just a tool of management, and I donít know one individual in the company that trusts them or feels they can approach them. Complaints/concerns are just ignored. I don't recognise the company anymore and with all the stories of corruption, hiring illegal workers, staff turnover, etc. I now understand why my manager probably chose to leave. I would too if I could.

The company has definitely lost its moral compass in many ways. Somehow, we still manage to keep our spirits up. But when the economic situation improves, believe me, there will be an exodus so fast it won't be believed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

These messages are too negative. We have many successes and are failing less than our competition. We have new DCSís and upgraded world class safety systems, new instrumentation with 2-wire magmeter. We still invest for all our futures. Be positive.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I have worked in the UK for many years and it saddens me to see what is happening. In a company of only 60 people, it is wrong that we never see the md. I can think of at least 6 people, all with over 10 years service, who have left over the years, and not once did he make any effort to be there to personally thank them for their contributions. We used to know where this company was going and were motivated by our manager; but now there is nothing, only gloom and day-to-day drudgery.

The md made a bad impression almost since he joined. After a meeting, where we were told we had exceeded again all our targets and everyone was given a thank you present from our manager, he joined us afterwards and completely demotivated us by saying that the company was in a bad way and that we were selfish to celebrate our success in our silos. He didnít even appear to know how many people worked in our department. Nobody believes him when he offers explanations for our current situation. Most think he doesnít care.

Since I joined, the problem has always been the systems/projects group. They have always made losses and nothing has been done to correct this. Other departments have always made money but never enjoyed bonuses from their efforts because the losses have always been so huge. The outside sales guys are again demotivated and always complaining about things, but donít have the guts to say to the manager what they say amongst themselves.

If I could afford to leave or retire now, I would.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - First comment from Yokogawa Belgium.

If it the truth that our offices are to close, we to can blame our manager. Here also the morale is bad and the manager has done nothing for years. He comes to his work office at 11 am every day and leaves at 4 to go to his home. This behaviour is since he was not made regional manager 5 years ago. He complains to everyone that the company is going nowhere and makes a bad atmosphere everywhere. Our customers will not like dealing with Amersfoort as we offer the best service.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Latest rumours are: 30 more Amersfoort HQ jobs to go, no details yet. Tokyo requested much details of glass electrode making (back to investigating automation of process again?) Subs in Benelux and UK to lose offices and people under restructure of NW area, more Account Managers at HQ to cover job cuts in subs. Tokyo insisting on big price increases across range and insisting profit forecast remains same or improves.

What planet are they on? Competition is reducing prices everywhere, discounts to our customer are already highest ever. Does anyone know what 'Project Snoeien' is? a few hushed management conversations in the former Norit hatchetmans office are picked up.

Friday, November 6, 2009

George Orwell has been mentioned in a previous comment and it is true. The goal setting, 'To be Number 1 in the process automation world' is like what happened in the other novel by this famous Englishman, Animal Farm.

You have to go back 10 years to Mikawe's idea of ETS or Enterprise Technology solutions, to realise where the seed of this ridiculous objective of being a global first was made. After Uchida became President, he did so after many years of working in the US. He sees himself as a Japanese version of Jack Welch of GE. He knows Welch from the GE-Yokogawa JV which ended in shame with several Yokogawa Directors being arrested for bribing University professors. Colleagues in the US will state what a strange man he is, and nothing really progressed when he was in charge.

All was told to him (which was true) by the salesman was that Yokogawa was 'Yoko who?' in the market, and there was no branding of Yokogawa anywhere. This was the birth of a new campaign called internally BEAT (Beat Emerson and Triumph).

This work started in 2002 and John Berra from Emerson heard about it. Berra and Uchida had dinner at Berra's country club and (according to Uchida) he refused to sit down with Berra until Berra admitted that there was an internal program called 'Kill Yokogawa' which Uchida found grossly offensive and Berra was forced to cancel it. BEAT had then to become 'Vigilance' in case Berra found out. Vigilance was a big internal success, the people were motivated but more importantly, it was felt that at last something was happening. But typical Yokogawa, Vigilance was not for all. It didn't affect T&M, Netsol or services, so much for one company.

After the disastrous result of 2005, Uchida felt he had to do something to silence the normally passive shareholding institutions who were not satisfied with the overall performance. This made the 'Number one by 2010' statement. Here in Amersfoort, nobody from the president down could offer any help on how this was to be achieved. It meant overcoming Siemens who are 3 times larger, and Emerson who are 2 times as big. We had to grow between $3-6Billion in 5 years to become the number 1, depending on which criteria was used to say who was number one.

In 2007 the 'Animal Farm' strategy started. What Uchida meant, but did not explain, we were told was that we would be number one in only the fields we operated (Four legs good, two legs better = number 1 good, number 1 in what we do better). Even internally we couldn't understand this. Number 1 at least meant being bigger than Emerson. We used to receive an industry newsletter from and English editor called Auto Information. This man became hated in HQ as he kept asking the same questions as we had done, but everything that was said to him made it worse. When we again asked the same question of managers about this questions, we stopped having copies of the magazine soon afterwards. We used to think the press were so stupid, along with the shareholders, as none of these objectives were possible without buying a big company and Japanese companys don't do that.

Between Uchida's statement in 2005 and the collapse of the goal in 2008, nothing actually changed. Apart from a small analyser company, no companies were bought. Normal growth happened, but nothing to bridge that $3-6Billion gap. Most now think this was Uchida trying to save his neck, or being on some doctors medicine.

The original internal message of Vigilance was that we are all one global Yokogawa, everybody counts, everybody is valued, we are all in this together. The result is that now people are fired to cut costs but the Presidents and managers that took us down this route to save their own necks are still here. It is clear that 'ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS' when it comes to paying the price for Uchida's mistakes.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Why the panic? We are not like the banking industry whose managers canít cope because they have never experienced anything like this before. We have all these experienced Foxboro guys who have been through this type of situation before many times and come through it. It's easy, either cause or be a part of the problem, let your natural 'unconscious incompetence' take over and pretend (or believe you can) to do something, then wait a while until you can join a mirror image company of where you once were to start all over again. You can also watch endless re-runs of 'groundhog day' but don't forget not to learn any lessons.

The Invensys blog is so bad they even have to archive the stuff. On second thoughts, let's all panic because there are probably more Invensys people on their way over here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The whole issue of MBAs running (ruining) the process automation majors are a topic that our masters in Yokogawa Japan ought to study carefully. Taking Europe as an example, the current President had no real experience apart from a fairly anonymous career as a project engineer, then working in a sales office. But hey, studies for an MBA and heís an out of the box business expert.

Wrong, the problem with the MBA is the same as any new graduate with say a Masters in engineering. You know the theory, had some practical exposure but the competence bit comes much later when you can demonstrate you are actually good at what you do and put into practice what you have been taught. The problem seems to be that the MBA is seen as an immediate passport to running for higher office, competence and capability are seen as read. The saying the devil is in the detail is so true when running any type of business, equal concern for customers, shareholders and employees make a successful business, mutual dependability is the key.

Perhaps we need to turn back the clock to having savvy engineers who know the business, can talk the customerís language, have credibility and knows what it takes to run a process automation company

Friday, October 30, 2009

Yet another Yokogawa expected financial results press release from 10/27/2009.

Losses for H1 only $153M! Still aiming for number 1? Don't think so. 20 years ago, Yokogawa was number 1 by a mile but has not been for years. Why isn't this viewed as a decline similar to what happened at Foxboro, Honeywell etc? Poor management and a strategy stuck in the 1950's are to blame. Thank goodness for patient and understanding shareholders!

Revision to FY09 full-year forecast:
After a careful review of the negative impact on sales of the change in photonics business strategy, the strong yen, and other factors, the revised full-year forecast will be announced on the same day that the FY09 1st half results are announced (expected announcement date: November 10, 2009).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Yokogawa UK is not the company I joined and now is not a nice place to work. I would estimate that over 60% of the workforce has left in the last 3 years, including the best managers. When will the MD and his toothless minions realise that motivation is more than a few rah-rah words at the staff company meeting twice a year? There are still people here who have never met him, or know who he is. The comments earlier about subprime management are oh-so-true here.

Also, what ever happened to the great Yokogawa team building exercise in the UK, and the wearing of the coloured hats? Remember the MD was a yellow hat - isn't that supposed to be an inspirer? (lol) How much time was wasted on that? I wonder if the colour of your hat was a factor when you were chosen to be made redundant? Just imagine the process, all colours "in the hat", except yellow please.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Perhaps the UK PM with extensive experience of Emerson and Yokogawa should spend more time doing what he is paid for rather than composing egotistical drivel or working on the RAMCON-I project in BU07.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Yokogawa Europe just heard that marcom are discussing what to do about the blog activity. Options:

  1. Memo to staff to say they are damaging their own company by blogging here.
  2. Set up an internal (positive comments only!) blog on the intranet for all the HAPPY employees.
  3. Marcom to blog on this weblog with a positive view of the company. Meeting called by the Foxboro exiles.
Wow, it's 1984 come to life. Georg Orwell is a true prophet. Keep on blogging, it's safe and secure.

Friday, October 23, 2009

As a new arrival from Invensys, I can say that it will be our experience that guides Yokogawa Europe from the crisis and save you from yourselves. Please try doing your daily jobs better rather than posting on this blog. Unhappy and unsuccessful people at Invensys only post on their blog page because they can't do their own jobs correctly. Yokogawa will become a true leader in automation. Please motivate yourselfs and follow the rules.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Up until the problems of this year, we were always told that we are a company going to the top and, we will be number 1 by next year. This was told to us all by Harry himself.

Analyzes of the facts are opposite. Our sales in Europe are no more than Ä350M. If you removed all the international projects works (Saudi Kayan etc) the true value of the business is more real like Ä130-150M with nearly 1,000 peoples. This is nothing, and is where we came from 10 years ago. Our normal business in Europe is very low and our competition knows this. A friend of mine in competition says we cause fear in their salesmen due the advertisings, but after a while everyone realizes it is back to the normal Yokogawa.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Yokogawa Europe's obsession with hiring ex Foxboro people has caused the problems we have today in the products BU. The first arrived in the mid 90ís and had no clue as to the modern market conditions, thinking that Foxboro was still Nu.1 in transmitters and flow, and that ABB, Endress, Khrone, etc. were 2nd rate players. For sure the business took off in some areas, but it would anyway when you promote with salesforce and expensive adverts/promotion, that is a natural happening.

When he became ill he brought in his friend as marketing manager who never did the job fully as he returned to his old job. When analysis merged with flow and transmitters, he went to marcom and another manager, not from Foxboro, who had no experience of our customers and markets, was brought in by Harry. He had no support from the Foxboro mafia (I like this term).

So far we have from Foxboro Harry at the top, Country managers in Italy, Benelux and GB (tried 2 both failing). Senior positions in IA marketing are now influenced by ex-Foxboro people brought in by Harry. All the valuable experiences of people is no longer here, as they have either left or been removed and nobody can understand why. The current BU manager is Harry's friend from his time in France and he only does what the Japanese want and not what Europe subs need. We are thinking here that the next step is to hold Foxboro reunions here, to save them the monies on traveling. There is plenty of space shortly in the area where they make the project engineering.

Friday, October 23, 2009

We at Rota-Yokogawa are also like Amersfoort, in crisis for our flowmeter making activities. Last few years have seen big investments in our plant, but now we hear that, due to the crisis at YHQ, many things are possible. Some time recently we had a visit from a senior chief from Amersfoort and a customer from the company Danaher. We were told that this visit was to introduce as a possible OEM partner. After a meeting in YHQ, our collegue was told privately that Harry is trying to sell Rota to these people. YHQ would not move on the 12% R+D fee we have to pay on our best selling digital Yewflo, and want to manufacture Rotamass in China, and are to bring in a new ultrasonic technic. Harry concludes we have no real business futures at Rota, so we must go. He uses analyzers as example of why it must not cause problems, he says it works ok. All existing products parts for flowmeter-making will be at the modification centre, like transmitters and analysers are and standard delivery from China. Danaher would get the plant and the Rotameter, nothing else. We should MBO please.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good news for Yokogawa. Since we have so many Foxboro employees working within the company already, it is great to learn we have hired one more who just left Invensys (Foxboro) to join the team. I hope he can figure out how to make things work around here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I am a 25 year veteran of Yokogawa and have worked in both Europe and the US.

The issue of the connection with Yokogawa and Foxboro is more perhaps an emotional and cultural problem than anything else. Since the 50ís, when Yokogawa first manufactured Foxboro products under licence, there has always been a Foxboro comfort blanket. Even the GS sheets were copied directly from Foxboro. The EJ/EJA/EJX pressure transmitters are a copy of a product that Foxboro couldn't manufacture, the resonant wire sensor. Yokogawa are not innovative in process automation, they are copyists and a copy is never as good as the original.

This is why they also hire so many Foxboro people; it makes them feel as they still are connected to their roots. In an attempt to be more global, guess whose organisational model they adopted: surprise, surprise, Invensys/Foxboro. Most of the Foxboro people in HQ still carry a torch for the good old days at Soest. The Foxboro mafia lives on.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Some more detail from the blog of 16th October re Yokogawa UK, GTS and the Border Agency. It was the customer services dept that first became concerned about the engineers from GTS in Egypt working on the South Hook project. This project had been taken away from the UK and was being built in Holland at SCE and the UK MD was not happy about it. It seems it was agreed with SCE that the UK could commission the system but it was on a fixed price basis. This is why the GTS company was used. The GTS engineers were travelling to the UK on visitor/holiday visas, not work visas. To avoid detection, they used to fly to different UK airports every time and the UK service engineers had to pick them up from the airport. A bit of an inconvenience to meet someone at Newcastle airport and have to drive them down to South Wales!

It was then decided to use the GTS engineers on the BP Wytch Farm and Bruce projects to reduce costs and supposedly increase profits. It was around this time it was discovered by a project manager that GTS did not have the correct visas and would not be able to obtain the Tier 2 approval from the Border Agency as the work they were doing was not of a sufficiently specialist nature and the skills to carry out this work were already present in the Yokogawa UK workforce or local temporary labour could have been used. At first, the UK management said it was GTSís problem but then realised it wasnít as they were aware of the visa irregularities and also there were company insurance liability issues that they were ignoring. What brought everything to a head was when GTS realised that their costings for hourly rates were based on 12 hours/day, 7 days/week utilisation and site were insisting on 3 weeks on/1 week off shift patterns.

Faced with GTS walking away in the middle of a project, it was agreed that the 1 week idle time would be spent by GTS in Runcorn working as engineers on projects, again standard type of work. None of this work was offered to staff engineers with the result there was no work for them and one by one slowly they were let go. It was then the projects director/service manager/financial director under the guidance of the HR manager made a declaration to the border agency that these GTS engineers were needed as their specialist skills were unavailable internally and elsewhere due to a skills shortage, completely untrue.

At one stage, due to the costs restraints imposed by the GTS management, their engineers were actually living/sleeping/eating at the Christleton court facility as they had no money for hotels/decent level of subsistence etc. A few misguided staff tried to feed them until it was pointed out they were stealing work from staff project engineers. If you google the web for ëYokogawa and GTSí you will find plenty of CVís from GTS engineers that have details of their time spent working in the UK for Yokogawa. The blog of October 19th re the current service manager may or may not be correct, but more likely is that as he and the projects director know where the bodies are buried, they may be immune to a period of unemployment, unlike the rest of us, hence the cushy jobs they now enjoy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Having worked for both Emerson and Yokogawa in senior product-marketing roles in the UK, I can offer a unique insight into the approaches to market of both companies.

Emerson has the widest range of Industrial Automation products in the market place. They are an American owned company which have had, and continue to retain, a very dominant market share (~60%) in the North American market. However they have evolved as an organisation to develop products and supply channels to meet the needs of the global market. Although their global market share (~35%) is lower than in their local market, they are market leader in the Industrial Automation global market.

Although Yokogawa has a smaller range of products than Emerson, they represent the closest competitor to Emerson in terms of product quality and performance. Yokogawa have also become the dominant market leader (~60%) in the Japanese market. However they have so far not been as successful in the global market as Emerson.

In Emerson, employee involvement and empowerment are essential to increase motivation to improve product quality and customer service. The first stage in the process is informing the employees of their value to the company. The future direction of the company provides both security and opportunities for the employee to develop within the organisation. Short term SMART goals are set during an annual appraisal. Regular monitoring allows feedback and rewards to the employee of their progress to meeting these goals. Through this consultation process a partnership between the employees and Emerson is formed and benefits are distributed evenly throughout the organisation. Finally successful employees are empowered to execute the plans developed at the strategic level. Increased morale levels leave individuals feeling part of Emerson rather than just being employed by the company. There is no similar process from what I can see within Yokogawa.

The benefit of this approach is that employees are motivated, as well as the company achieving its objectives. However there is a very real danger that employees will take this as a subversion strategy to tell them what to do. There are already clear indicators that some employees within Emerson do share this theory. Employees can react by taking the attitude of doing what they are told, rather then thinking for themselves. This statement goes totally against the principle of empowerment. If this trend continues, the morale of employees will reduce significantly. An indirect outcome could be that disaffected employees will appear arrogant to customers, as they doing too literally what they are told by Emerson.

The corporate culture of Yokogawa has developed and been tailored to meet the needs of their domestic market. The Japanese economy is very complex, with many Japanese companies holding small financial stakes in other Japanese companies and each other. This is of course illegal elsewhere globally, but not Japan. This policy makes it very difficult for companies outside Japan to penetrate their domestic market. The outcome is that Yokogawa has a similar market share to Emerson in their respective domestic markets. A dominant market share within your domestic market provides an opportunity to maximise profits through higher pricing and reducing costs. In the industrial automation market, particularly in Japan, customers are more willing to buy products from local suppliers at a higher price than from foreign suppliers, typically 3-4 times the price elsewhere. Whereas Emerson has transitioned their strategic planning to the global market basis, Yokogawa is still aimed at their domestic market. Consequently Yokogawa does not have a similar approach to set the strategic objectives for the organisation.

Yokogawa does have world area marketing groups (Europe, North America and Asia Pacific), but the relationship to corporate planning is very difficult to qualify. One very basic problem is language. Although most Japanese people with Yokogawa do speak English, they are more comfortable speaking their local language. Consequently there can be considerable noise in the communication of their messaging. Mis-interpretation in the meaning of these communications creates confusion and great frustration with the world area marketing groups.

In the past Yokogawa have developed me-too products, based on the designs from Emerson. This strategy has reduced the element of risk while launching products in the Japanese market where Emerson has very little presence. However Yokogawa have had to revise this policy to establish themselves in the global market. Due to their connections in the electronics industry, Yokogawa have had access to brand new technology which has the potential to transform the industrial automation sector. Although some customers have seen the benefit of this new technology, the majority have stayed with the tried-and-tested technology from Emerson. However an interesting development is that Emerson is looking at using a similar technology. So Emerson could be following Yokogawa with a me-too product range. This scenario will have a major impact in the industry and propel Emerson to even greater heights of market acceptance.

Although innovative product development will propel Yokogawa into the market, the process of existing product enhancements is very tortuous. Again, communication or language, is a major factor, and the corporate culture does not help. Yokogawa has a very introverted approach, compared to the market-led strategy from Emerson. Their main driver for product enhancement is whether it can be done rather then asking whether it will be something customers want to buy. However once they decide to do an enhancement, the development process is completed very quickly. The net result is that the enhanced product generally gets launched to the market in the same time.

Yokogawa tend to be less successful than Emerson in their marketing strategy. Emerson focuses on the strengths of their product range to develop a benefits message to customers. Coupled with their market leadership position in the market, this has created a very strong corporate identity. On the other hand Yokogawa are less selectable in the marketing and present both their strengths and weaknesses in all their product messaging. Although some customers find this novel approach very reassuring, by far the majority of the market still has the perception that Emerson is better.

The biggest gulf between the two companies continues to be the resource available to both companies on a global basis. Resource allocation is fundamental component of the control system to ensure the objectives of the strategy are achieved.

Although marketing activities, such as advertising, are useful it is essential to have enough sales people to visit customers, talk about this application and promote solutions. Most customers in the industrial automation market still buy products from people rather than the company. Emerson has approximately twice as many sales people in the UK than Yokogawa, and are of better quality (experience, education, etc). Therefore customers have more opportunity and time to talk to sales people from Emerson than Yokogawa.

The other main functional department where there is a massive gulf in resource planning, is Operations. Yokogawa delivers all itís product from a factory in China. China was selected to reduce manufacturing costs, but delivery times are longer than those from Emerson to European customers, sometimes approaching 8-12 weeks for standard product. Therefore if a customer needs a product in a short time, Yokogawa can rule itself out, even though it might already have a customer preference. Also the process of gaining local approvals is more complicated than Emerson because they are all centralised in one place and outside the region.

The process of generation of ideas for new products and product enhancements flows freely within Emerson. However it could be suggested that there are too many ideas or suggestions are overwhelming the development resources within Emerson. Also there is a danger that Emerson will dilute its marketing message away from core products to a more generalist supplier. As the old saying goes "jack of all trades, master of none". Another potential issue is that these ideas are coming from senior management. Although they will have considerable experience they might not be as up-to-date with the current requirements of customers.

Although I share many of the frustrations of my colleagues at Yokogawa, the way forward I feel is an intelligent discussion of what can be done to improve the situation in an ever competitive market place.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Don't worry colleagues in GB. If things were really bad, would your MD and his cronis spend over Ä3k visiting the Directors institution in London for a nice day out? Sap and gossip is a really good reporting system. Whose job paid for this?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The problems in the UK are not the making of Netsol, but the merger of YISS in 1999/2000. Ever since the merger, all the profit made by products and service disappeared due to the year-on-year failure by the systems/projects group. There is one salesman, sorry account manager, oops business development ñ power, who has been here for 7 years and not brought in one order. Have any of the orders in systems made a profit? I work really hard and stupidly worry about these things, I'm in the wrong job and will request a transfer.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Surely the Yokogawa GB OBN should go to the former Customer Service Manager. Promoted by the MD despite having no management experience, a period of blind obedience for several years gets him promoted to a systems sales role in Scotland and brings in probably the least profitable order in the company's history. No orders since though, which is probably a good thing. Apparently according to one of his ex-colleagues, his past experiences in sales included a bit of import/export.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yokogawa Europe T&M is in deep trouble. 2 years ago after losing Phillips as an account, sales dropped by over 50%. The T&M Top Gun now spends his time training everyone on blue sheets and responding to advertisements. Another great Harry hire, took over a growing and profitable business and then ruined it. Did he come from Invensys/Foxboro?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I have only recently joined Yokogawa UK and must admit it's one of the biggest mistakes I think I have ever made. The morale here is the worst I have ever seen. People do care, but there is no support or visibility from the management. I am told by our accounts dept that technically we would be classed as bankrupt/insolvent if it was a normal business as we can't pay for the goods from HQ most months. Part of a new-joiners induction is being told we are all "One European Organisation". This is laughable, as any reasonable sized orders are handed over to Holland as we are not trusted to deal with our customers. We are told we work in a democratic organisation, it is as long as it suits Holland. I think they all deserve one another in management but I feel sorry for the majority of the staff as they are talented people. Can't wait for the market to pick up, and I'm off!

Monday, October 19, 2009

I used to work in the services group in the UK and left around the time the 1st redundancies were announced. It was a bit of a shock to find your boss is being laid off, even more of a shock to him, as he was one of the really compliant managers. I spoke to him a few weeks later and was happy because his wife had sorted it out for him. Sheís Japanese and used to work at Yokogawa HQ in Japan. He reckons he won't get promoted, but equally so he will never get fired. Obviously it's who you know again. Wonder if this service will be offered to anyone else.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A good way to to reduce costs in GB is to stop product managers (analysis and netsol) riding round in 5 series BMWís. Most senior managers in HQ don't get this level of cars. The car policy is ridiculous. Also, why does the financial controller ride around in that gas guzzling, pollution emitting monstrosity? Does the car & environmental policy bypass him?

Monday, October 19, 2009 - Yokogawa GB blog:

Why is it not a surprise that GB has these problems. Every QA audit fails them and nothing is ever done. Poor quality of people (mostly at the top) = poor results. The solution is not to hire a contractor to do the work of the project manager and the services manager and still keep them on full salary. If they can't do the job, remove them. You should be asking also: What is the relationship with this contractor and the MD, and why was he not hired by HQ? There is a reason.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Nice to see this blog getting some attention at long last. I agree about what needs to be done to shift us from being an exporter to a global corporation. I don't think this will ever happen, due to the culture that exists with the parent in Japan.

Nobody robustness (Employeeís and customers alike) who has ever experienced Yokogawa Systems/Products will criticize them for their performance, and that is not the issue. The issue seems to me to be that we have lost a lot of the inspirational leaders at middle management level, along with really knowledgeable people with Industry and application knowledge, and replaced with 'sub prime management'. It is interesting that most of the senior new hires are qualified in Marketing and not Engineering. We are not talking about an engineers BS supplemented by a marketing qual, but people who have never seen a process plant before, let alone a pressure transmitter or control system. They all seem to know the "words to the song but can't carry the tune". This is a big problem for the Japanese. They see no limits to enthusiasm, the right things being said, but can't spot the BS.

This depletion of knowledge and talent will make us no better than everyone else. From the financial side, things have changed dramatically. The focus is totally on the bottom line, to the exclusion of everything else. It's the most simple equation there is: Revenue generated ñ costs = profit and shareholders pay back. Not enough revenue? Slash the costs and you don't need a marketing qual to understand that. The cultural difference is that in Japan, management foregoes bonuses/pay rises (really), the factory is put on a 3 day week (subsidized by the Japanese government) and in some cases salary reductions for general management (not the people we deal with). Over here and in Europe people just get laid off.

It has never before been more self evident that we are not a global "all for one, one for all" organization, but are only here to serve the interests of our parents in Japan HQ.

Monday, October 19, 2009 - Yokogawa is a good place to be:

This site obviously claims to serves a useful purpose, but c'mon guys - let's not get like the other competitor blogs that are just whining and moaning. If you have a genuine beef about anything, there are plenty of channels for you to get your points across. Bring it up with your supervisor, or post it on the company secure staff input mailbox. Let's not hang the dirty washing out in public. There are plenty of worse places to work than Yokogawa.

Monday, October 19, 2009

In Yokogawa Germany, we had similar troubles as GB. Our morale was low due to 3 leaders in 5 years; but our new leader is settled and supportive. He has a good relations with Harry, but also knows that Harry does not have the real power - it is the Japanese colleague who sits at the same desk. Your MD is so negative about everything, really with Harry. He is negative with all the sales people from everywhere at IA meetings and it cannott be believed how he should speak like this for Harry. We are told that the HR manager in Amersfoort knows why Harry wonít take the actions with him. You should speak with the Japanese friend.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

We are at the airport, travelling to the Yokogawa Europe latest Vigilante meeting. We have to pay for our own coffee but are grateful the company pays for our flights in our own time. Really good that most of us don't have a family to be with. Its our first team meeting of the day. Agenda is ñ 1) Why have you no orders, 2) Why aren't you working hard enough, 3) What can you do to make it better?

Going from "No 1 next year" (lol) to just surviving is strange. It is obviously all the Indians fault and not the chiefs, we should be ashamed!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Interesting comments about the SAP detail. Also, what is confusing is how we manage not to pay the European Community Common Customs Tariff (CCT) in BU 7, 11, 14 etc when they are arrive at Schipol and then freighted to everyone. Even seen this on direct shipments from Tokyo. Mind you with the exchange rates at the moment, I suppose we need every advantage we can have.

Friday, October 16, 2009

This is wonderful! Thank you to my ex-colleagues in the UK for directing me to this site.

I had to leave last year after discovering problems with the Egyptian engineers from GTS that Yokogawa UK were hiring. I used to stand-in for the projects director, and it was during one of these periods that I discovered the visa irregularities. And I was given information regarding possible conflict of interest/corruption regarding the owner (who is also a property developer) of GTS, and Yokogawa employee(s) who have taken advantage of "investment properties" in Egypt.

I tried, in conjunction with the FD, to correct the situation but it was too late. GTS had already been working for months on BP Wytch Farm, BP Bruce, Styrene and in various capacities in the Service Group. All this was originated by one Project Manager (in conjunction with the projects director, MD, system sales director, service manager) and he is one of the people that has purchased an "investment property".

All the UK management knew about this all along, and the hours for GTS were part of the years engineering budget, way in advance of GTS doing the work, so it was a deliberate plan. If Yokogawa pulled the GTS engineers off these jobs, the projects would be delayed and bonuses paid for on-time delivery would not be paid by the clients. The clients were fully aware of the situation.

I got told to keep my mouth shut, and in the end and I wasn't asked again to stand in for the PD. How they got away with this amazes me. At one stage GTS engineers were actually living on site in Runcorn last year. I complained to both HR and Finance and was told to leave it alone. The FD is a Director and should have known better. I don't know if it was him that provided false information to the Border Agency in the end about the status and history of GTS, but he was aware of the deception. The payoff makes me slightly less bitter.

Friday, October 16, 2009

There were rumours years ago that Yokogawa GB was going to close down Runcorn and move to High Wycombe. This was fuelled by the UK MD living near there and never visiting Runcorn. Wasn't he called the invisible man? T&M has nearly disappeared and left the High Wycombe offices some time ago and whatís left of them work from home. T&M and Recorders only sell £1M - £1.5M combined with 8 people. This is where the axe should fall first. Perhaps this is the future model: an office in High Wycombe and everyone works from home; quotes, finances etc. from Amersfoort. As most of the costs are staff-related, it makes sense. You would have thought that the offices in Aberdeen and Ireland are also under review, as no business seems to arrive from them. Ah well, who knows and who cares anymore about what will happen will happen, I suppose.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The blogger from Yokogawa in August is right. The SAP system did cause many problems. Fortunately in Europe not so many as we already had the SAP since 1998.

What is interesting now is that we can see into the heart of SAP and what prices are really paid by everyone. For our UK friends, this is very interesting as it seems they have been buying DCS hardware at less than it costs to make in Japan. The engineering costs for low-cost engineering from Romania (or less in their case as they use the services of Ghiza in Egypt) are only 15% of the GB staff engineering rates. So my question is this: With all these advantages, how do you still manage to lose so much money on your projects? Perhaps you should look inside yourselves before complaining about HQ.

Friday, October 16, 2009 - To my English colleague at Yoko UK:

Wrong, HQ in Netherlands already laying more people off, mainly due to your sections bad performances. Thanks!

Friday, October 16, 2009

I think everyone in Yokogawa UK is looking at this site now - not seen so much excitement for ages. If anyone is worried about security, send it from your iPhone! That can't be traced by the company.

Friday, October 16, 2009 - Re: Yokogawa Blog:

Wordwide number 1? We donít even have our own blog section on here, and have to share with Omron!

Friday, October 16, 2009 - Re: Yokogawa:

What a blog site! I didnít know this existed, but word is now spreading like really fast. All the competition is on here, ours has less contributions. Perhaps that will change now.

We, old Electrofact guys, used to call the place 'Yokoboro' due to the amount of ex Foxboro guys brought in. Includes MD's, Marcom managers, Field BU managers... Think it might be a retirement home for them.

Seriously though, most of them still live in the past and have tried to recreate the good old days of Foxboro here. What the Japanese never learn though is that these guys left (were asked to leave?) Foxboro after guiding them to near disaster. I think Invensys may know what they are doing after all.

PS: Be careful if you contribute from the office or from home on the VPN. They monitor all over Europe, who visits what sites!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

At least in Holland you have the benefit of saying where the work goes! At Runcorn (UK) we have had no new projects for nearly 3 years, and the ones we did win were taking off us because your management said we were incompetent at project management. Both projects cost twice as much to deliver as the customer was quoted and eventually paid for. No wonder we canít make a profit here.

If you think your morale is bad, you should try working in the UK. What project work there was, was farmed out to low cost engineering (Egypt) with their engineers working in the UK to the detriment of UK engineers who were laid off. When we complained to management about thier work permit status not being correct and they shouldnít be working here, some of us were fired for making a fuss.

We never see the MD, and the management is akin to the politburo. We renamed the internal magazine Yavda (Yokogawa + Pravda) due to its insistence on telling us how lucky we were to still be working here and taking pay cuts. The grapevine indicates more job losses soon. Bet they are mostly outside of Holland!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

If the writer of the blog "Yokogawa continues its downward spiral" thinks the problems are exclusive to the US, he should try working here in the Netherlands.

There is no substance in the company anymore. Opinion is divided, due to the hiring of so many failing Foxboro people in top management positions, to the failure of top Japanese management to understand the issues facing us. The Electrofact business is dead in the company; first the loss of transmitter production to Japan, and the profits that were produced no longer support Europe, and then the disaterous systems business which all the new resources were spent on. The merger of the Dutch companies is a joke. No one knows what is expected, and now so many people are beaten that they just don't care.

The Vigilance program was meant to make us number one (internally it is official called BEAT, "Beat Emerson and Triumph") -but that is just smoke and the mirrors. We are told we are a services company not a products company, but we have no idea what this means except for the products used to make us money. Too many top managers waiting to be fired, or to collect their retirement plans. When things improve, expect what's left of the best people to leave.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More changes at Omron Canada. Mike Snow, President has been terminated. Craig Smith, Director of Sales, has been terminated. Len Apps has taken over as the National Sales Manager, Jeff Neal is now the National Channel (Distributor) Manager. The USA is NOT taking over control of Omron Canada. This is a managerial direction change.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - Yokogawa continues it's downward spiral:

The downturn in the economy aside, Yokogawa's troubles can be traced to an overwhelming lack understanding in middle and upper level management. The uninspiring and uninformed management style has fostered an environment where the people in the trenches, i.e. the Sales Reps, Customer Service and Product Support/Specialists, are tasked with completely unrealistic goals without the tools or authority to do what needs to be done.

Since the "Power Elite" was moved to Houston, all Senior Management exposure to the realities of a manufacturing operation have ceased. Anyone who brings the problems that exist to management's attention is labeled a pessimist, or not a team player, and they don't last long with the company. The result is a further alienation of the decision makers from any valid source of timely or accurate information.

Middle level management is unwilling to stand up for their subordinates, who at this point are battered, bruised and completely demoralized. A current employee confirmed to me the salary cuts, at varying levels for salaried and hourly employees. Other overseas Yokogawa factories are apparently also working abbreviated schedules.

The SAP project is currently also a major source of problems. There was no transition or overlap from the old system to SAP. In spite of two years or more of preparation, few of the issues raised to the Japanese SAP Advance Team were addressed. The old system was switched off, and SAP was switched on. The resulting problems have led to huge delays in order input, manufacture and shipment. As the paperwork trail is also compromised, invoices can't be paid, and obvious other problems result.

All this from the company who boasted that they would be the top of the heap next year. One thing is certain. It's going to be interesting to see where they go from here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

No news on Omron acquisitions, but a bold move by Japan to leave America's leader in hands of recently hired American executive. High level of trust being built, strategies are right for the marketplace, economy will help with rapid growth in business as prior 2 years of work will pay off high reward. Still questionable on why there has been no integration of their STI acquistion in US, losing a lot of sales and channel leverage. This is bound to be their next move.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Any new news on Omron since changing the top level management? Now being run in the US by an American. Huge step for Omron Japan. Anybody hearing any rumors about acquisitions? It's about time. They need to acquire a strong business software company that can fill the enterprise level solution.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Like Rockwell, Yokogawa has cut salaries by 10% for 90 days, suspended 401K matching, and suspended executive bonuses. Business is down almost 30% from the same time last year. Adding to the depressed state of affairs, Yokogawa began preparation for switching over to a new SAP enterprise system over a year ago. The system was switched on the week of April 13 without running concurrently with the legacy system. They continue to struggle to get orders in and shipments out. This will eventually straighten out.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Yokogawa Acquires US Company with Unique Gas Analysis Technology

Yokogawa Electric Corporation announced the acquisition of Analytical Specialties, Inc. (ASI), a company with a unique gas analyzer technology. Yokogawa's North American subsidiary, acquired all the stock of ASI on April 1, 2008.

With this acquisition, Yokogawa is adding the TruePeak Tunable Diode Laser Gas Analyzers to its analyzer lineup and strengthening its ability to deliver comprehensive solutions in the industrial automation market.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lots of new upper management at Omron Electronics (2 top dogs recently hired were former leaders at a Rockwell/allen-bradley multi-million dollar distributor). Lots of focus on distribution and marketing. What can this mean for Omron's future in the US, where they've previously been weak?

Sounds like the company to watch for a complete automation solution - truly complete with Vision and RFID in addition to the plcs, hmi, networks, software (only need 1 package to tie it all together), sensors. They have the best quality products, making new investments and acquisitions, and are focused on customer needs from a product portfolio offering.

Does anyone have any news about their transformation? I've been an avid Omron user for several years, switched out my allen-bradley and siemens in the plant, and was wanting to know more about their recent changes. Very exciting times.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Omron's been going through a lot of Sr. Management changes over the past year. Do you have any comments on where you see Omron headed and whether or not this will make them a key player in the United States?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Yokogawa wins a BIG Chevron order away from Honeywell. Why hasn't this made more news??

    Wednesday, June 20, 2007
    Japanese major electrical machinery maker, Yokogawa Electric Corp., said Wednesday it has received an order from U.S. energy company Chevron Corp. for an oil refinery management system, estimated at more than 100 billion yen (US$813 million; euro606.6 million).

Yokogawa Electric Wins Chevron Order - Yahoo Finance

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Omron technology is extremely reliable, and remains undiscovered by most of North American. For hardware costs that are lower than major US based automation solutions, have greater open communication and flexibility, and significantly lower software maintenance costs (virtually zero), Omron is one company that should be thoroughly considered for total automation. For those who do not investigate Omron, thank you for leaving this valuable source of technology and support to us who enjoy currently use and enjoy it.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Responding to the previous weblog, what is there to comment on? I know of several major suppliers to the automobile industry that use STI safety equipment with Omron controllers for their presses and other equipment; it's just Omron trying to get a bigger share in that particular market. They (Omron) face major hurdles in growing in the U.S., but competition is always good.

Friday, September 8, 2006

I am surprised that no one has commented on the acquisition Omron made of the STI safety business.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Omron has great technology -- however it will never penetrate the North American Market. Most automation solutions begin at the PLC level. AB, GE, Square D and Siemens are marketed through Tier One distributors. A smart sensor revolution is about to take place and Omron could change the market landscape. But it will not happen from the Chicago's suburbs.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

I supposed with the explosive use of IPV6 and 4G communication technologies, with which Japanese companies have the upper hand now, we will see the power shift from US and Europe to Asia, in terms of building applications into control technology based on M2M. This push is lead by Japan and Korea (two manufacturing power houses, other than China). The US and most of Europe are still try to recope their investment in the "wired" world, where Japan and Korea will treat as traditional market leaders mainly from non-Asia players.

Friday, April 15, 2005

How can Yokogawa even hope of becoming the top Automation supplier with the current and long standing political anti Japan sentiment in China? China remains the biggest growth market for Automation and with the current strong anti Japanese sentiment in China leading to demonstrations and attacks on Japanese interest and visitors. The US base automation players like Emerson and Honeywell are doing far better in China than Yokogawa.

Monday, February 7, 2005 - Yokogawa targets the top-spot:

Proclaiming its intention to become the world's leading process automation supplier, Yokogawa unveiled it's new Vigilant Plant system concept, at the ARC Forum on February 2, 2005 in Orlando, Florida.

Yokogawa's President and CEO, Isao Uchida, openly boasted (unusual for the Japanese) that Vigilant Plant systems will win a leading market-share for Yokogawa by the year 2010.

Extract from JimPinto.com eNews, 7 February, 2005. This includes Pinto Pointers and commentary.

Click to read:Yokogawa targets the top-spot

Thursday, February 03, 2005

From the CONTROL magazine weblog:

We're coming to get you and we're coming on strong! That's the message Yokogawa CEO Isao Uchida delivered last night at the introduction of their new DCS concept, Vigilant Plant. Pointing out that this is Yokogawa's 90th year in the controls industry, Uchida-san claimed large sales increases "outside Japan": "20% sales increases outside Japan annually since 2000, so we are gaining market share. Some of the competitors in this room are not happy," he said, "but competition is...competition." Uchida-san declared his corporate intention to be number one by 2010.

Now, one can argue that combined with the sales decreases inside Japan, Yokogawa's recent growth rate is really about 10%, which is in line with every other major automation vendor, and in fact, one of those "competitors in this room" did argue that with me over dinner later. But the fact remains that Uchida has definitely thrown down the gauntlet to Emerson and the rest of the Big Six.

Click to read:CONTROL magazine weblog

Saturday, 22 January, 2005

From - JimPinto.com eNews #173, 22 Jan. 2005

Omron's total revenue in 2004 was $5.5B, with growth of about 10% and profit of about 5%, very healthy for a Japanese company. Omron has been consistently profitable over the years, recovered from a loss in 2002, with essentially break-even in 2003.

Omron's largest business segment (39%) is industrial automation at $2.2B. The company has a very broad range of products - PLCs, I/O, networks, sensors, vision systems, operator interface, temperature and process controls, printed-circuit-board inspection equipment, timers, counters, panel meters, power supplies, servo drives, motors and inverters; the list of products is almost overwhelming. Omron's supports this broad range with strong local engineering capability.

Omron's automation business has grown consistently over several years. About 50% of automation revenue is in Japan, with N. America contributing 8%, Europe 26%, Asia 4% and China 8%.

Other Omron businesses include Electronic Components (15%), Automotive Electronics (10%), Social Systems (traffic and financial services - 23%) and Healthcare (8%) - you'll find Omron blood-pressure monitors and thermometers in many US department stores.

Click to read:Omron sustains unique mission with profitable growth in 2004

Monday, November 1, 2004

News is emerging about a major reorganisation of Yokogawa Europe under the direction of the European President Harry Hauptmeijer. The changes will see a consolidation of operations and a strengthening of management in the Dutch HQ.

Has Hauptmeijer been talking to Van der Veer at Shell (a big Yokogawa customer), who also announced last week that it intends to consolidate management control of its operations into their Dutch HQ in the Hague?

Tuesday, October 5, 2004 - Re: Omron:

It would be nice to know what's really going on at Omron USA. Look at their new business strategies and talk to their long time, loyal employees. There is some real talent going to waste over there. It's a real shame....

Saturday, February 28, 2004 - from ARC Automation News:

Yokogawa Restructures: Focus on Measurement and Control

Yokogawa is accelerating its effort to restructure its businesses. This restructuring consists of a business reorganization focusing on the company's main business lines of measurement and control, the consolidation and merger of subsidiaries, and the redistribution of management resources.

For the measurement business, which includes communication, test and measurement, and automatic test equipment (ATE) segments, the strategy will be to focus on waveform, optical, digital, and wireless measuring instruments. The ATE segment has also been designated as one that adds high value and it will be strengthened. Yokogawa aims to become one of the top three suppliers worldwide in this segment by fiscal year 2008. In the ATE segment, the company is set on exceeding a 50% share of selected markets by fiscal year 2005.

In the control business, the company will focus on overseas markets, high value added products, and business solutions. China will be receiving particular emphasis. The company plans to introduce competitive products continuously. Yokogawa aims to exceed a 50% share of the Japan industrial automation market and to achieve the top share in the world industrial automation market by fiscal year 2010.

Thursday, September 25, 2003 - from: Asia-Pacific user:

According to my experiences in working with Yokogawa and other control companies, Yokogawa normally offers the best products with lower cost. Surely the local company can make a very minimal margin but in fact, the Japan parent company needs to absorb the loss. Some unfair competitive practices are used as sales strategies.

Many Asia-Pacific customers have found that they can buy a product with the cost of USD 8,000 if they buy with Yokogawa application package. BUT if they want to buy only a product to use with for example Honeywell / Aspen / OSI packages, the cost may eat up to 70,000 USD.

Think ahead when purchasing products that need to work only Yokogawa. Yokogawa tries to cut price when they need the job, and will mark up the price when you need maintenance.

Thursday, July 10, 2003 - from Gerry Shand [gshand@babco-electric.com]:

The three planks mentioned in a previous weblog (3 Feb. 2003):

    Yokogawa's basic business strategies are built on the following planks:
    • Bullet-proof hardware with exceptional reliability.
    • Software that may not be cutting edge, but actually works when released, without bugs.
    • Competitive price.
All of this certainly holds true for the Toshiba product lines I have sold, used, applied and serviced - whether it is their line of variable speed drives, vacuum contactors, vacuum circuit breakers, PLC's or protective relays. The result is they have been able to establish some key niches for themselves. It will be interesting to see how things will change there with time.

Friday, July 4, 2003

Harry Hauptmeijer is not the only ex-Foxboro employee. They have added John Lewis (released from Houston to APV NY and laid off from APV) as VP North America (April), and others from the Houston Foxboro Office, Construction and Supply Chain Management. This to help the struggling office cope with work from the Saudia job, as well as the newly aquired Shell work, after which Shell quickly noticed the weakness of the field engineering group.

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Yokogawa financials for the complete year ended March 31, 2003 are not available on their website. Does anyone know where they are available?

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Please make no mistake, Stardom is not a DCS. It uses Fuji PLC I/O and it does not have the integrated diagnostics - not the integrity you would expect from a DCS. Check its redundancy before you buy, you may concider the product redundant! This is why CS3000 will be maintained as flagship prodcut (their terminolgy) for a couple of years.

Some weblog refers to Hans Dik as the manager who maintained a reasonable structure in Europe. Hans has retired. His successor is Harry Hauptmeijer who is also ex-Foxboro Netherlands but with a strong engineering background only. Customers in Europe should be aware of a hidden restrucuring which has started under Harry's "leadership". Lay-offs are on a one for one basis and therefore not reported. Yokogawa has lost good and experienced sales people in the UK. The European system center lost their knowledge on Fieldbus, and is no longer allowed to provide services to the African territories. All handled from France. Yokogawa Europe in Apeldoorn survives on a long term contract with the Dutch Gas board, and left overs from the Middel East ONLY!. No meat on the bone. Think long term before you buy.

Saturday, May 10, 2003 - from a customer who is considering buying CS 3000:

  • Most DCS requirements can be covered by systems capable of 5,000 I/O
  • Yokogawa Stardom has an upper limit of 5,000 I/O
  • Stardom is much more modern than Centum (web based; small distrbuted controllers)
  • Stardom has a better cost position than CS
  • Yokogawa normally has the lowest sell price
  • There is no clear separation of functionality between Stardom and CS
  • If it is announced that Stardom is replacing CS, sales of Centum would decline quickly
  • Will the new Stardom (build in 2002) prevail over Centum (early 1980s)?
Comments invited from others in the industry.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Yokogawa sells only on discounts.The gentleman who is supposed to be from Yokogawa sales claims that they never sells anything below 50% discount; that is not correct. We have, as an enduser, bought Yokogawa EJA transmitters for $200/each, which is below 50% of their List Price. The Yokogawa sales engineer who sold this unit to us, told us this works out to be around 85% off the List Price. Can anyone dispute this price? We have heard that this level of discounting has caused the CEO of Yokogawa India to lose his job recently.

Sunday, April 20, 2003 - JimPinto.com eNews (extract):

Yokogawa loss grows - major restructuring continues

Yokogawa's results for the year ended 31 Mar. 03 have not yet been formally announced, but sources suggest that profits are much worse than the initial estimated net loss of $110m - perhaps $ 200-250m. This includes a special loss of $100m for restructuring costs at Ando Electric (Yokogawa controlling stake last year) plus $75m on reduced value of shareholdings. This on top of last year's net loss of $196bn.

Click to read: Yokogawa loss grows - major restructuring continues

Saturday, April 19, 2003

Two Japanese acquisitions comes to mind. One would be when Proface (Digital Corp) purchased Xycom a couple of years ago, and another when Omron bought IDM. With regard to the Japanese "complex" of being defeated when buying or merging with another company, it is of interest to note that foreign companies have been acquiring them for years.

A brief final note on the comments regarding Japanese and German companies, and the superior feelings they have over US management: It is exactly the same when a US company is operating in Germany or Japan; the US management looks down on them as well.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003 - concerning Pinto's comments about Japanese companies not acquiring/being acquired (previous weblog):

Tokyo, Japan - May 14, 2002
Yokogawa and Ando Join Forces to be One of the Worldís Top Three Test & Measurement Suppliers - Yokogawa Acquires All Shares of Ando through Stock Swap

Pinto comment: Yes, I know about Yokogawa and Ando - indeed an exception. This merger/acquisition did NOT have good results for either Yokogawa or Ando.

Does anyone know of any other Japanese acquisition, big or small?

March 20, 2003 news release :
Yaskawa Electric and Omron establish a joint venture company

Omron Corporation and Yaskawa Electric Corporation are joining forces to strengthen motion control product sales in the European market. A joint venture company will be established through each company's European subsidiaries, with joint sales activities to begin from April 1st, 2003.

Someone asked: "Do you believe this means any merger preparation? What is the backstage message?"

Pinto comment: Japanese companies do NOT acquire or merge - the Japanese culture is not conducive to successful acquisitions. The acquired company feels "defeated" and the acquiring company feels "victorious". In my opinion, this agreement between Omron and Yaskawa is just a business alliance, nothing more.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

The previous weblog (below) is naive and simply wrong! This person clearly has not been involved with or looked at publically available large-tender records, where Yokogawa's bid is as much as 50% to 75% or more below list price.

Monday, February 3, 2003

My employment history has been with Foxboro for many years, and two stints with Yokogawa, including the present.

Firstly, I have never seen Yokogawa sell a product below cost, even in the good years when prices in Japan were buoyant. So, through lack of evidence, I cannot agree with your inference that Yokogawa "dumps" products on the international marketplace. Maybe things are different in the USA, but I don't think so - most of Yokogawa's customers are multinationals and I can't see any of them letting Yokogawa get away with selling a product at a significantly higher price in Europe or Asia than in the USA.

Yokogawa does, however, sell at low margins, which are felt to be necessary when first penetrating a marketplace to establish some market share. I think that there is some sense in this strategy. Unfortunately, it gets to be a bit of a habit after a while, and it is difficult to get out of even in those markets where penetration has been successful - Asia-Pacific for example. Margins there are lower than they could be - driven by a combination of habit, competitive pressures, and customer expectations, all of which are hard to break.

These days, it is my experience that Emerson is most usually the low ball competitor - perhaps they are following your "long-sighted Japanese approachÖ..to come in low, eliminate the competition, and then slowly raise prices"!

Yokogawa's basic business strategies are built on the following planks:

  • Bullet-proof hardware with exceptional reliability (ask any of their customers!)
  • Software that may not be cutting edge, but actually works when released, without bugs.
  • A competitive price.
In a fast-moving new-age environment, concentrating on these fundamental concepts may or may not be a mistake - time alone will tell. But I hope that there will always be customers for these core values.

Extract from JimPinto.com eNews - 20 Jan. 2003

Yokogawa strategy: Good products + low price
With revenues of about $ 2.8b (automation about 50% of that) Yokogawa is one of the automation majors. Although there is a weblog on Yokogawa and the Japanese automation companies (Omron, etc.) and we have already published some articles on the company (see weblinks below), there have been many requests for Pinto commentary - beyond the polite, parroting press releases that proliferate in the trade journals.

About 70% of Yokogawa's total revenues are from Japan. Market segments are 50% industrial automation, 20% test & measurement (including a recent acquisition of Ando Electric), 10% information processing and 20% miscellaneous. With slumping demand in domestic Japanese markets, the company shows slim growth in foreign markets, though this seems to be generated through significant price reductions, contributing to losses (Y/E March 03). Yokogawa's market cap is $ 1.6b, about 60% of sales; its poor performance would not support its stock price in any other market than Japan.

Here are some objective Pinto business comments:

Yokogawa's products are good, especially the field instruments; but in a flat market there is little or no real product differentiation. So, Yokogawa's strategy seems to be to market penetration through low-price. In selected target geographies (including the US) they cut prices (often as much as 75-80% off list), and certainly not based on lower costs. Their aggressive pricing is far below the level of any US or European competitors, who simply cannot offer comparable discounts. For selected products, this makes operating profits woefully inadequate and ruins the market.

Recall that America was once the leading supplier of automotive, steel, radios, television sets, shoes etc. The reputedly 'long-sighted' Japanese approach then (and now) was (and is) to come in low, eliminate the competition and then slowly raise prices.

Historically, Japanese tactics have been helped by two factors:

  1. The lower profit expectations of Japanese stock holders and banks, with tolerance for losses - even extended losses. The Japanese government supports these tactics as long-term business wisdom, to counteract (in their view) American business short-sightedness.
  2. There is a price differential between products sold in Japan vs. the price outside Japan. For example, it seems clear that control and measurement products sold by Yokogawa in Japan have been priced as much as 2-3 time higher than those same products sold outside Japan. This price difference has been reduced somewhat because Japan itself is in an economic slump and the safety-net of high priced domestic sales has dwindled.
It must be recognized that it is illegal to sell imports below cost - that's called "dumping"! However, punitive action is always difficult to accomplish and slow in coming; it seems as if the complaints are simply about superior Japanese prowess. The steel industry was the only industry that ever got some action over price-dumping, but it was too little and too late; the steel business was already destroyed for US competitors.

Yokogawa will continue to be a major automation player, though their strategy is flawed. They still suffer from the outdated and mistaken perception that good products and low pricing is all that is needed. In a fast-moving new-age environment, that may be a very bad mistake.

Click Yokogawa's home page

Monday, January 13, 2003

Has anyone actually worked or installed a Stardom system? Any good? Any comments would be welcome. It is supposed to be a DeltaV killer. I only heard that some Food Flavouring plant in Indonesia has installed it.

Going by the brochures it seems ready to take on most conventional projects...

Thursday, November 7, 2002

CS3000R3 has been presented at the European Users conference. It includes XP and can co-exist with CS3000R2 in the same system. During the conference Yokogawa made very clear they will continue with CS3000 as their DCS solution.

Stardom is more intended for applications where you are now forced to use PLC because of cost/small size or a too large/expensive DCS cabinet because of control complexity.

Thursday, November 7, 2002

Migrating CentumV to DeltaV:
CentumV I/O will still be available for several years. If you overhaul the controller power supplies and buy a spare processor, Centum V should serve you many more years to come. The stuff never fails!

If you really want/need to migrate, see your Yokogawa sales guy and ask for 'Turtle' for CentumV. (CPU and bus converter kit). Without changing the I/O (though the card files will have to be lowered a little) you can turn your CentumV into CS3000R3. Step-by-step.

Reuters item - 11 October 2002

Yokogawa to shut 15 plants in Japan

Japan's Yokogawa Electric Corp plans to step up its restructuring plan and shutter 15 of its 19 domestic plants by March 2004, relocating 1,000 workers, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported.

Yokogawa will focus production on the remaining 4 domestic plants and 4 other facilities in South Korea, China and Singapore. The company said last November it would cut 700 jobs, or 5 percent of its workforce, by March 2002 and close up to 9 domestic plants within two years in a bid to weather a persistent downturn in the info-tech sector.

The paper said the 1,000 staff will be relocated to other facilities in Japan, without employing a voluntary retirement program.Yokogawa plans to close the first 3 plants this month, as part of the restructuring aimed at halving production costs.

Monday, September 30, 2002

Looks like the latest release is a features/maintenance upgrade fromtheri website. XP support but R3.0 released last year was Windows 2000 - wonder what's going to happen to the users that went to Win 2000?, FDA 21 CFR 11 enhancements and wide area remote I/O (via ethernet, I think). All these are for CS3000 only - maybe they will "kill" CS1000 and sell Stardom in its place. From what I hear from Yokogawa sales people, the division that "owns" Stardom is different from the DCS (CS3000,Cs1000)people. That may be why they are 2 different products except maybe I/O - Stardom I/O looks like CS3000 remote I/O.

Sunday, September 29, 2002

just heard the news that yokogawa has released some new version of cs3000? what are they upto? they are sending confusing signals to the market - one side releasing stardom and other side releasing new version of cs3000

Thursday, September 26, 2002

What's the real issue with Yokogawa? It seems they are unsure of what they want to do. Introducing new systems every three years and leaving users in lurch on continous investments towards keeping the older generation systems working. Typical philosophy - enter a really low price and reap benefits thru'out life cycle on services, supports, etc.. Hope better sense will prevail and users stop looking at Yokogawa as a reliable Systems Supplier.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

To the End-User with a Centum V - either way you will be faced with a hefty migration costs. Centum V to CS3000 will involve major controller CPU hardware upgrades as well as manually intensive software conversion (Yokogawa's utlities provides only partial "automated" conversion - there is significant cleanup to do). Stardom may not be mature enough for replacing a Centum V and there does not appear to be a Centum V-Stardom migration path anyway apart from a complete teardown and replacement. If you are in this position, then one is better off looking at other products out there - Emerson's DeltaV comes to mind. Think it thru ...

Monday, September 23, 2002

As an end-user, I have a dilemma of migrating existing Yokogawa's Centum V System to current version - Centum CS 3000 or Stardom ? What is Yokogawa's position worldwide - is it Centum CS 3000 or Stardom ? We would like to know, since, in Asia Pacific local Yokogawa office is hesitating to quote Stardom to customers.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Fuji used to be dominant force in the Indian market when represented by IL. However its is no longer active in the market. They seem to be interested in huge project requirements (200 - 300 Nos.). However when it comes to small volume requirement Fuji is conspicious by it absence and the other comeptitors are are having a field day.

Same is the scenario with Honeywell, understand that they have closed their Temperature manufacturing facility in France. Long time user are left in a lurch.

We are also not getting proper response for spares & services for Fuji transmitters in Indian market. No of fly by night operators claim to represent Fuji but unable to provide proper technical support. This will have far reaching repurcussions on image and reputation of company.

On Saturday, September 07, 2002 - this was logged:

Responding to fuji transmitters business, it may be true since in india too they have changed hands more than once in last couple of years.

We also understood from a rep in Thailand who is handling Fuji Transmitters for more than a decade,that Fuji are going to EXIT this non-core business of their's which is going down continuously in volume.

On Thursday, September 05, 2002, this was logged:

We understand Fuji Electric is existing from their Pressure Transmitter business as their worldwide volume has dwindled to approx. 15000/ units in a year and we are all using many of their old transmitters in the plant. Any info on this??

On Tuesday, September 03, 2002 - in response to the weblog about the departure of Dale Langham, a knowledgeable Yokogawa observer wrote :

"This is the old Measurementation in Houston, an analytical systems integrator. Their sales must be abysmal now and I suspect that there are a number of their folks on the street. If this is the case and you hear of any of them please let me know. These are by and large good people as I recall.

Their next move will be a change in management, to bring in one of the Yoko who can execute the superior Japanese management style.

It would be nice to know their 2000, 2001 and expected 2002 sales. It would confirm or deny my supposition.

On Tuesday, September 03, 2002 a Yokogawa insider wrote:

"The GM Sales (Dale Langham) of the Yokogawa America, Analytical systems integration group, Measurementation (Cold Springs, TX) separated from YCA last week. John Williams, Measurementation president, will serve as acting Sales Mgr. Is this a downward spiral, or what?"

On Thursday, July 25, 2002, Walt Rovira of Teledyne Technologies [walter_rovira@teledyne.com] wrote:

As a former VP and GM for Yokogawa America (resigned 3/02) I read your article on Yokogawa with great interest.

I felt the comments from Chris Carnavos (former VP of Yokogawa Systems) were a bit outdated. Yokogawa HQ now has US as the #1 growth market and requires Yokogawa America to make profit (#1 priority is operating income).

In the past few years they have experienced flat to negative sales growth. Yokogawa America has learned how to run a profitable business in spite of lack of growth.

An ex-Yokogawa-USA employee (name witheld by request) wrote, on Thursday, June 13, 2002:

Like Mr. Carnavos, I too am an ex Yokogawa employee. But maybe a middle management point of view is worthwhile. I worked as a Product Specialist for a couple of years in the Yokogawa Field Instruments group.

YCA has many strategic management problems which both directly and indirectly affect their success within the US.

  1. They do not seem to be able or are unwilling to learn how to market, sell and promote their products here. Selling through independent Reps is a "foreign" experience for them, (pun intended). Even after many years of utilizing this channel. Japanese management usually have little communication with those Reps, often giving confusing and unrealistic sales expectations. As was pointed out, gaining marketshare at any cost still continues to be a prevalent philosophy.
  2. Receiving test, marketing, and technical product information from Japan is like "pulling teeth". Helping their US counterparts with customer technical service is not a priority. Also, unless your job title includes the word "manager", there is a snide, condescending attitude and tonality to much of the communiquÈ. When help is needed in the US, There is an "art" to requesting information from Japan which can improve your chances of actually getting any information back. It is a daily struggle for the personnel in the US.
  3. Personnel management skills. While there are many excellent and competent managers in both their Newnan and Houston locations, like most companies there are several managers that are lacking in both business and personal interrelationship acumen. Those managers are allowed to practice their "personal agendas", going unchecked. Japanese upper management blindly supports them because they rarely take the time to really learn about their personal or professional skills. College degrees and past titles dictate their respect. Unfortunately, this negatively affects business decisions and the treatment of employees.
  4. Contrary to what many Westerners believe, the famous Japanese "humility factor" that they are known for doesn't seem to apply to their business practices. In the two years while employed by YCA, not once did I hear "We were wrong" or "We are sorry" for any decision that was made which proved incorrect or was professionally or personally hurtful.
As with many US companies, strategic planning is a thing of the past. Yokogawa is unable to manage their focus past each quarter's performance. After working as an Instrument Technician, applications engineer, regional sales manager, product manager, I can truly attest that Yokogawa's field instruments (pressure xmitters, temperature xmitrers, flow meters, recorders, analytical equipment) are the most robust and possibly most technically superior products in the world. Their major impediment to growth within the US market continues to be themselves.

On Monday, June 03, 2002, an ex-Yokogawa sales manager wrote:

"Yokogawa Corp of America tidbit - they are seriously planning to the bulk of their systems project and engineering resource from Newnan GA to Houston (Stafford). There will probably be some attrition as the I know some of the project and engineering people will not want to move to Houston. They have got some folks running live projects commuting between Houston and Newnan. Not a vert satisfactory state of affairs for customers and Yokogawa people if you ask me."

A sales manager (name witheld) who has previously worked for Yokogawa, wrote on Monday, April 29, 2002:

"Glad to see you finally wrote a piece on the Japanese automation companies in general and my former employers in particular. I must say you got it pretty much right on.

"Yokogawa in NA has been pretty much thrashed because of the JYC fiasco and the fall out that is continuing albeit to a lesser degree. Examples are the continuing Rep turmoil in the Chicago area, and the identity crisis with the Systems business and its multiplicity of products and sales channels.

"A lot of the overseas Yokogawa entities - I have experience with the NA, UK, ME and Asian offices - suffer from the rotating door syndrome with regards to their management as you describe. The exception may be the European operation, HQ in The Netherlands that has a local (Hans Dik, ex-Foxboro) as their head for a good number of years (~10). There they have a solid local personnel infrastructure and rotate the 2nd management tier expats. In my opinion, Yokogawa Europe is relatively successful because of that. Anyway, my nickel's worth."

On April 26, 2002, this exchange took place :

Q : Yokogawa was doing IA business in the US in 1984. Where were Emerson Electric, Invensys, ABB... (Rosemount, Foxboro, Bailey) in the 1980's?

Jim Pinto:
For a long time, Yokogawa was the largest IA company in the world. Emerson, Invensys, ABB - all grew by acquisition. Yokogawa did not (could not, culturally) make acquisitions.

Q: Why does Jim Pinto think Yokogawa is a flash in the pan (short term plan) while US & European based companies are right on the mark?

I never, ever suggested that Yokogawa was a short-term, flash-in-the-pan. They are indeed a long-term player.

Q: Why has Yokogawa survived (financially) if the global marketing plan was out of date?

Jim Pinto:
They have survived because Japanese financial expectations are low (compared with US goals ) - and the real financial data is well hidden (not disclosed). By US standards, the company is VERY BADLY managed, but continues to surive because of the Japanese financial sturcture and culture.

It is interesting that OMRON has overtaken Yokogawa in size and financial strength.

This is all my own opinion. I hope I have helped.

Ricardo Pessoa [ricardo@ibiseng.com]wrote about the similarities between the Japan and Germany approaches to business:

"German and Japanese cultures have much in common, specially regarding the view towards aliens and foreign cultures.

"Japanese countries cannot, as well as Germany, be clearly understood from a US-based paradigm. One has to understand how these cultures have evolved over time to avoid misconcepts and myths.

"I'd suggest a revisitation of one of the clearer books on Japanese culture written in the times when Japanese juggernauts assaulted the business world, initiating the TQM, TPM and other initiatives in manufacturing. It is "The Enigma of Japanese Power" by Karel van Wolferen."

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