Weblog - Yokogawa

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Yokogawa is Japan's largest industrial instrumentation company, the largest Japanese automation company after Omron. Other major Japanese industrial automation companies are Toshiba and Mitsubishi though they are second-tier automation players in the US and Europe.
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Yokogawa exemplifies Japanese companies
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Weblog Comments - Yokogawa

Yokogawa weblogs discontinued, effective immediately

These weblogs were initially started with some success, and I continued this as a service.

The "anonymous" weblogs have been an experiment - allowing company employees to vent, when management takes no notice. Unfortunately, apart from the occasional positive blog, this has deteriorated to a mostly negative tone. I put in a lot of work and get nothing positive in return.

As someone suggested, "Negativity breeds negativity!". So, with very little in the way of positive results, I am stopping these automation company weblogs.

These are difficult economic times, and Yokogawa is doing about as well as most other industrial companies, perhaps better than most. I wish the company and its employees continued success.

Please feel free to send me an email: jim@jimpinto.com


Monday, March 26, 2012 - to the person contemplating emloyment at YCA:

Are you looking for job security?
Are you looking for career advancement?
Are you looking for a balanced work/life relationship?
Are you looking for a company to retire at?
Are you looking for more than just the daily grind?

If you answer YES to any of these questions, then you will understand why employees do not want to stay. Even though YCA is doing financially well, does not mean it is well.

Monday, March 26, 2012 - from a Prospective YCA Employee:

I've been contemplating employment at YCA for the last 6 months and I see lots of financial growth with the company. Nevertheless, I've heard several engineers are leaving to pursue other opportunities with other companies, and even competitors. What I don't understand is: if YCA is doing well financially, why don't their employees want to stay?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The blogger on March 24 exemplifies the arrogance and the ignorance that is Yokogawa. When confronted with problems, rather than trying to solve them, they pretend the problem doesn't exist and antagonize the person that brought forth the information.

The fact is there is very low employee morale and a very high turnover rate. Contrary to what the blogger suggests, that there are many "smart people just waiting for jobs", talented and skilled people are hard to come by since they, as well as some of our own employees, are being plucked by our competitors.

Shouldn't Yokogawa be more concerned with keeping employees happy than looking to hire elsewhere? It seems like employees are always expendable.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lots of people love to attack the management. Some or most of these people need to be the ones released from Yokogawa. They are so busy spreading lies about management and constantly complaining about how bad life is at work. Maybe management will get a clearer picture and make some much needed changes with their employees. There are lots of good, smart people just waiting for jobs. And it shouldn't matter how long you have been at YCA, if you can't get a good positive attitude and help make the company better you should turn in your badge and leave. And since life at work (YCA) is so bad for you, please don't think you should get ANY benefits. Unfortunately, you won't leave because no one else will hire you!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Yes, the previous blogger is correct. Middle management is expected to perform well and round up the troops, but without adequate support to do so. All Upper Management want is "Yes Men" who will do what they say without being challenged whether or not it is the right thing to do. Upper management is poorly aligned, and make illogical decisions based on Good-Old-Boy criteria. They also appear to do whatever they want, as long as it benefits them personally or professionally. It is also a shame that employees are fearful of reporting mistreatment and mismanagement of employees in general.

There are now whistleblower protection laws that would prevent retaliation, but YCA seems to believe they are above reproach in their management and decisions. It is time for change so that all employees and divisions could trust that upper management is looking out for the company and employees for a change.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The majority of middle managers at YCA are and have been very dedicated and competent people. The issue has always been that there is no comprehensive business plan that integrates their individual efforts into a winning program. Typically, they try hard to operate their groups well, but without a coordinated effort across all the groups, there is conflict and disfunction.

The few times that YCA tried to develop an integrated plan, one or more senior managers opposed it due to the risk of an integrated plan diluting their power. DJ typically relied on one senior manager after another to drive the winning play, but the result was always an erratic shift from one program to another. YCA could not focus on a single plan long enough for it to deliver results.

This confusion comes off as poor management to the employees, and they are correct. But the problem is not in the competence of the middle managers; it is in the failure of the President to drive a correct and comprehensive plan to fruition. You can't win the game if your team is playing ten different sports.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hold off on the praise for the representatives. YCA is posting a great financial year because the industry is having a great year. Emerson, Honeywell, ABB, Rockwell, Siemens, Invensys, etc. are all also having a great financial year. Everyone gets a participation trophy! When times were tough, YCA blamed it on the economy but when times are good, the representatives takes the credit? Typical YCA.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Most accurate portrayal of YCA picture in below blog. Just look at the figures. YCA will have one of the best financial year as the arrogant Japanese involvement is the least ever and they are gone. No surprise here. God bless the representatives!

Thursday, March 8, 2012 - Re: "clearly shows that it's easier to blame management than support them."

It's hard to support a management team that hasn't supported it's subordinates in close to a decade.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The most recent comment seems to comes from a non-manager, for what would appear to be obvious reasons, and clearly shows that it's easier to blame management than support them.

If you look at YCA from a historical perspective the common theme is that the direction comes from Japan. This was true with the Johnson Yokogawa Corporation (JYC) organization, Yokogawa Industrial Automation (YIA), and the current (YCA) organization. You can NOT tell me that ALL of these managers were incompetent; in fact, most were very successful before they joined Yokogawa.

The bottom line is pretty simple. A Japanese organization like Yokogawa that dominates its local market space simply can't figure out why those tactics don't work in the North American market. This is surprising, considering the excellent examples set by Japanese companies like Toyota, Sony, Toshiba and Mitsubishi that have done so well internationally. It's Yokogawa's apparent arrogance that has caused the company to fail here.

If it wasn't for the Sales Reps, this house of cards would have failed long ago. God Bless the Representatives!

Monday, March 5, 2012

I've said it before, I'll say it again. DJ was only the tip of the iceberg. His business and personal philosophies permeated the entire management structure. The only way to clean it up is to look at EVERY position with "Manager" in the title and re-evaluate whether they should be replaced.

Ask the people in the trenches who the competent managers are. Ask the product specialists and the customer service people who does the real work and who supports them when they need it. Ask the reps who the real heros at the factory are. I doubt that you'd ever get honest answers for fear of reprisal, but that's the only way to get a realistic sense of who's effective and who needs to go.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The prediction on the Jan 25 post is right. One senior Newnan manager no longer there. More to follow, with Japanese also going one by one.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

If there is 'truly' a big picture, perhaps a bit of transparency is in order to clarify the situation rather than let the employees drown in disbelief, despair and frustration. Just what is that accomplishing?

Monday, February 20, 2012

The problem with this "big picture" is that YHQ has been painting and repainting it for so long, they forgot the original objective.

Monday, February 20, 2012

People, please don't think that because the number of Japanese in the building(s) are less, that their influence on the business-model going forward, specifically with Systems, is not going to be the primary driver. Please understand there is a "big picture" that YHQ sees and although it may not be totally clear to all at YCA, it's clear to them! Have some faith or find something else to do.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Yokogawa Canada Japanese president got kicked back to Japan. All Japanese almost gone now. YCA can now fail or make it on their own using American management.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The reason Instrumentation and Systems can't coexist is because Systems wants their fiefdom! Not sure why upper management cannot see this. They want to do things their way, ethical business practice, or not. Newnan is tired if carrying them financially and watching Systems waste money and not make any! If cost projection of projects is a problem, then put those involved on a commission basis based on a word they are unfamiliar with: PROFIT- not just signing the deal.

Upper Management has the power to say some phrases to their EMPLOYEES and CONTRACTORS that could help, but never has: You Will, No, and You Don't Own the Company. Even loss leaders need to be managed financially. Would be nice with all of those degrees up top, that they could figure out what the $15.00 an hour employees know! Can we not get a President and some VP's that understand basic economics and business practice?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Frankly, I am just frustrated by upper management decisions that are made according to who you are in bed with, literally or figuratively.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - Re: "When Field Instruments are priced for profit"

Interesting comment, but I doubt that that type of information would ever be made public. It was, however, common to sell Field Instruments at extreme discounts on Systems projects. Transmitters could tolerate a 40 - 50% discount, Mags, Vortex, Mass Meters and others couldn't. The idea was to buy the project to gain market share, not generate a profit. The Japanese never could get their heads around the idea that they didn't dominate the systems business here in north America as they do in the Pacific Rim.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

When Field Instruments are priced for profit, I agree that Field Instruments are profitable. It would be interesting to see some data relating total instruments sold, and what percentage of those instruments were sold at or above a certain profit benchmark.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The rumor that YCA will close Houston has been around from the day that they broke ground on that building.

As far as the "Systems/Instrument" cycle, Field Instruments has always been profitable, and has subsidized Systems from day one. Systems problem has always been that they don't know what it will take to complete a project so when they do land one it's a money loser in the long run.

The new VP has no background in Field Instruments; remember, he inherited it. He's also one of the "Old Guard" who should have been replaced. Just my opinion.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I heard that YCA headquarter will move back to Newnan in next one or two years. Houston is losing money all the time

Saturday, February 11, 2012 - Re: At least Yokogawa is consistent!

But surely "consistent" is the wrong word. Maybe "locked in a repetitive loop, like a YoYo, and going nowhere" would be a better description.

The next stage of the loop has begun. If you Google for "site:yokogawa.co.jp 201203houkokusho-1h.pdf" (without the quote marks) you will find the Japanese "2012/3 (Smoke and Mirrors) report" PDF that Yokogawa has prepared for gullible Japanese shareholders. Although this report is mostly in Japanese, you can see from the images and English labels on p.3 that Yokogawa is bragging that it will move from an 8.5% global share and no. 4 position in 2009 to a 10% share by 2015 -- and eventually (in a few hundred years?) will have "global share no.1" in process control.

The picture on p.5 shows a visit to Kazan, capital of Tatarstan, Russia, to open a Technical Center. The chart on p.5 shows a huge surge in sale of Yokogawa shares in Feb. and Mar. 2011 just before the end of the last fiscal year. Could it be some insider (perhaps all the board of director members who were tossed out at the shareholder meeting last June?) cashing their chips before the results were announced?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Five years from now, another wave of Systems salesmen and managers will join YCA (again), make progress while the Japanese aren't looking, then get wiped out (again) when the Japanese try to climb on the bandwagon. YCA will then return (again) to trying to run both the Instruments and the Systems businesses through the Instruments sales model. This miserable cycle has repeated itself so often at YCA, it has almost become an industry tradition. At least Yokogawa is consistent!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I feel sorry for the Instrument VP who is being given the challenge of adding Systems sales to his current job responsibilities. Over the past 20 years this has happened at least 5 times and failed EVERY time. They need to just separate the systems and instruments groups into (2) separate companies and be done with it. Forcing an arranged business relationship is NOT going to work. The Japanese know this - or at least they should!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Details of restructuring: The VP of instrument business will be in charge of system sales also. As systems salesman are mostly gone, he will now try to sell DCS system using distributors.

Monday, January 30, 2012

As you can see from the Calendar on the Investor Relations part of the Yokogawa web site, the FY2011 3rd quarter financial results are scheduled for Feb. 7. Layoffs in the US probably mean continuing huge losses in Japan.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I disagree with the post from January 23rd on one point only. The second prong of the two-pronged strategy is not lowest price. It's below cost price.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Funny how these blogs only get the bad news... Maybe there isn't any good news to post. Hmmm...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Changes at YCA. Big time restructuring taking place. All positions in chaos. Buckle up for rough ride.

Monday, January 23, 2012

To the blogger on Sunday October 16, 2011 who said "Remember that the Japanese strategy is to gain market share no matter the cost, since the end will always justify the means".

You say this as if it's justification for not making a profit for 25 years while continually pouring money into the business. The truth is, it's impossible to make a profit with a two-pronged sales strategy of bribery and lowest price. And by the way, it has nothing to do with market share. Without systems they're dead and they know it. Systems is the only big ticket item they have that can get the attention of those who are on the take in places like the Middle-East, Africa, South America, Southeast Asia and so on. But as you say, "The end will always justify the means".

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The System Control Fair at the Tokyo Big Sight expo center was quite big, dwarfing the InChem & Jemima shows; attendance was about 72,187 over 3 days, compared with about 28,000 for Jemima and InChem. The combination of Factory Automation, applications, and communication buses seems to be a much bigger market than process control hardware. Mitsubishi (mainly focusing on PLCs, servo controllers, and RFID), Omron, Fuji Electric, and Hitachi had the biggest booths. Omron had a lady giving presentations in Korean in front of its booth, and Panasonic and IDEC were featuring their ability to provide support in China. Several of the exhibitors were demonstrating their servo control technology in action. Competing buses and standards were one of the major themes, with booths and/or presentations featuring SERCOS, (Omron and) EtherCAT, ISO 13849-1, PLCopen ISO 61131-3, Profibus Japan, (Mitsubishi and) CC-link.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

There's a big difference between the results you get by entering Yokogawa prefixed by "an/" i.e. "an/Yokogawa" (without the quotes) -- as per the example on the US patent office web site -- and the results you get by entering just "Yokogawa" (without the quotes). Entering just "Yokogawa" gives a lot of results that do not seems to have any connection whatsoever with Yokogawa.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The now tiny JEMIMA show (you can see Azbil (Yamatake) and Horiba sponsor logos here) and the much bigger System Control Fair and InChem shows start tomorrow (Wednesday) in Tokyo.

Yokogawa hopes that the Emperor will have new clothes by 2015 -- it is hoping to increase its Earnings Per Share (EPS) from its current ten-year average of under 4 yen per share to 100 yen per share by then -- but note that Azbil (Yamatake) has exceeded this 100 yen per share EPS for five or six of the past seven years.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

If you look at Yokogawa's annual report, you will see that Yokogawa particularly emphasizes (on p.13) its huge R&D budget and the huge number of patents registered in Japan and overseas every year (over 600 patents registered overseas every year). You can easily check most of the patents registered in America on the US patent office web siteby entering "Yokogawa" (without the quotes) in the Query box, for example.

The patent nos. of some of the "interesting" patents are 8,024,053 8,009,683 8,005,514 8,001,847 7,991,486 7,990,880. The number of Yokogawa patents seems to be far less than you would expect if their claims were true. Also the fact that something is patented does not guarantee that it works, that it can be manufactured, or that it can even be defended in court as being original and significant. Each Japanese patent apparently costs the company about 1M yen (13,000 dollars) in patent filing and patent attorney fees; US patents probably cost a lot more.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Guys, get new jobs and create futures for yourselves. Life is too short to drink bad wine or to work in toxic work environments. Move on!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I would like to address the "Bringing back the old guys" comments. For those who weren't part of the growth years, where YCA grew double digit, take a look at history. Some of these people took on the US market selling products, at that time, made mostly in Japan. A time when the Japanese had little, or no, position in the US market. A time when YCA sales were not much more than what is sold only in spare parts now.

Why bring back the old guys? They plowed thru the American system, increase the awareness of YCA products to the point that YCA went from Yoko-who? to - Yokogawa, our major instrument supplier, to - does your product equal Yokogawa? True, there were a few that shouldn't be asked to come back, somme who should be let go, but YCA has had some very dedicated, business oriented sales people, that should be asked to come back.

Instead, they are out developing sales and kicking YCA right out of some of their most loyal customers. So, you think that some of the old guys can't sell? Think again. If YCA isn't getting orders to pay the bills, those orders are going somewhere.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What the people on this blog fail to realize is that the source of YCA current problems did not end with DJ, but rather extends all the way to Tokyo. DJ was only a puppet for Tokyo to take risks without getting its hands dirty, which means they can back away when things starts falling apart. YCA current problems parallel what is going on in Tokyo. We do not hear about it since Japanese culture tends to be not as vocal as Americans. Check Tokyo's current financial report to see how much business and employees it has lost within the last 5 years.

For those that dispute this, ask yourself: How did DJ get the financial backing to aggressively expand to Mexico and Canada without the approval of Tokyo? Why is YCA constantly pouring money into its System Business when it hasn't made a profit in 25 years? Remember that the Japanese strategy is to gain market share no matter the cost, since the end will always justify the means. Even now, YCA is told by Tokyo to expand its System Business to maintain it's GMA business strategy.

Some of DJ business decisions were terrible, but without the approval of Tokyo he would have never been able to execute them. People on this blog wonder why Japan has not gotten involved - but Japan has always been involved. They have always been in the background, pushing their puppets to do their bidding.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A lot of time is spent on this blog discussing the problems of Yokogawa America, but no one has thought to discuss its subsidiaries in Canada or Mexico. I am a representative of Yokogawa in Mexico, and, like many others, I helped open the way in this country for Yokogawa instrumentation; instrumentation that we sold well due to the fact that they are made well, dependable, and require little maintenance. For years we knocked on doors aided by a great salesman from Houston; later, we entered control sales with the help of our Spanish-speaking friends in Houston, and this also turned out well. It was then that D.J. decide to open a Yokogawa office in Mexico City after seeing the opportunities of the Mexican market. This would be the beginning of problems with clients; problems that only increased by an enormous amount with the arrival of the new office director. He was an old acquaintance of ours, as he had previously been director of Invensys Mexico, a company with which 50% of the representatives in Mexico had had issues with and had changed their representation from Foxboro/Invensys to Yokogawa. Mr. He had problems serious enough with Invensys Mexico that the offices of the company in Mexico almost closed due to his bad directing. This led to his departure from Invensys.

His ex-Foxboro friends decided to give him the role of director in Yokogawa Mexico. As his first act, he took over every instrumentation and control request over $5 000.00 USD and to take over all our strong government accounts like PEMEX and CFE in such a way as to leave us without any percentage for creating the relationship. I had to make various visits to Houston to talk with Johnson in order to explain the situation, but he was apparently also good friends with this person.

After a few years, what has happened? Yokogawa has lost any and all prestige in Mexico, more than 60% of Yokogawa's reps in the country have changed companies, and those of us that remain do so only out of loyalty to our clients (who only buy some spare parts). I know for a fact that the office in Mexico has lost more than 10 Million USD, and is on the way to losing 2.5 more this fiscal year.

Is this the type of business Yokogawa is intent on doing? To destroy important markets such as the one in Mexico and to deteriorate the few Reps it has left? Yokogawa is worried about the illness spreading through its USA offices, but it has not worried about the decay of the one in Mexico. It is incredibly sad that, after having invested money and effort, we representatives have been completely erased from the picture, and that the market is now dominated by Honeywell and Emerson.

Let's see until when the new authorities of Yokogawa will keep wasting money through Yokogawa Mexico!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It is amazing to me that my disgruntled colleagues blame HR for substantially all things wrong with YCA.

The lack of orders, combined with expanding sales costs is the sole source of instability in YCA the past 5 years. Yet the blog never talks about the lack of orders being the source of the problem.

Anyone with any sense tried to put a brake on the ex-president's runaway spending and hiring during his failed reign. "The Biggest Army Wins" was the mantra he touted until the last day. Let's face facts:

  1. The ex-President put YCA in this position. He came from a sales background and inflated the salesman power, ego, and bonus. He even put them in senior operation positions such as engineering and service. Unless you could "swagger" down the hall in a copy-cat men's warehouse suit, you had no chance.
  2. But the inflated sales egos did not produce results. No orders came to YCA, even though Yokogawa in the rest of the world prospered in the same period. YCA salesman flocked around the major accounts and fleeced the company to get commissions for global contracts that had already been awarded. In the meantime, abandoning the local accounts that were loyal to YCA from the MXL days. The reps suffered too, and were unable to buy basic hardware for small projects that were within reach.
  3. The current management is trying to clean up the nightmare brought on by the ex-president's 5 years and his party train of incompetent salesman.
  4. HR did not bring these woes on YCA. The ex CFO, the lawyers, the engineers, the product guys in Georgia, the factory, did not either. For a fact, I know that they all tried to put a brake on the runaway party train.
  5. HR did not bring these woes on YCA and HR cannot fix them. YCA's reputation was destroyed by the Ex-President's (a sales guy) inability to bring in new business during the biggest energy boom in world history, and the emergence of Yokogawa a key player in the systems business. The rest of the company (including HR) all watched in agony as years of hard work and a good reputation were pissed away.
  6. Orders and stable project execution will bring stability and wealth to YCA Systems, and give the people and their families stability too.
  7. There are many 20 year plus employees in YCA that can attest to the fact that YCA is a good company, a good citizen, and a good employer. Most people in Houston never saw that side of YCA because most were hired during the party train from 2005-2010.
These are the facts.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why all the negativity? Because Yokogawa as a company may be great, competent, and caring. But Yokogawa as an employer is the exact opposite.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I find it interesting that Yokogawa is a yo-yo company letting people go and bringing them back or attempting to. Some refuse to come back. No wonder morale is so low. I heard of one employee being let go, brought back as a temp, let go again, and then Yokogawa tried to bring them back again. This employee was too good for the games and refused, only to find a better position with a better company. No wonder morale is low and that has an affect on the customers. Fix that and the company will grow. Companies succeed where employees love their jobs.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What is the main driver for all the negativity on this blog? Yokogawa has good and solid products, a pretty complete portfolio, combined with a customer oriented business approach. And the regions seem to have some empowerment. What I see lacking is a better focussed global strategy and clear decisions on what to pursue and what not to pursue. This is not uncommon with Japanese companies. If they can formulate a global strategy that is different than being the cheapest and execute on it, they can easily become the leaders in industrial automation.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

This company is way out of control. What ever happened to people being held accountable for their duties & responsibilities? Is Japan reading this?

Monday, October 3, 2011

YCA brought back the lawyer for third time, just brought back mother-in-law of VP-Finance as HR manger and when the CFO comes back it will be his third time back.

Monday, October 3, 2011

It would be nice if the person talking about bringing back the former GM of Human Resources would get their information straight before making their negative comments (such as, she is a temporary employee helping out while they recruit for their open position). You sound like a very unhappy person who looks for the bad in everything.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Today YCA did once again what they are famous for... The YCA Human Resources General Manager that retired is brought back. One has to ask the question of who is making these decisions. Everyone will agree that she is a "YES" person; so I would say no improvement made in that area. It is very clear that no one knows how to fix YCA. Once the previous CFO in Singapore returns to YCA the circle will be complete.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I am not optimistic about the future with the HR manager being let go. How many times have we been optimistic when another manager or executive type was let go? Wasn't it this time last year that the CEO was let go? Nothing changed then and nothing will change now. Yokogawa will stay Yokogawa.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I too am glad to see the HR Manager in Newnan go; that was a long time in coming. We need someone in HR that can serve both sides of the company - the company itself and the employees. Now it is time to look at the Sugar Land side of the HR problem.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The new YCA President stoped by for a monthly town hall meeting. He showed a power point presentation where he illustrated the fact that the System business had been losing money for the past 25 years, only to say that they were going to continue to throw money down that poor investment drain. No ROI after 25 years? Time to fall on that proverbial sword.

Now, lets talk about Canada. Why would YCA damage, or practically sacrifice, a 20 year relationship with their main distributor in Canada? I'm guessing that that their MBA mathematics told them that they might realize a 3-5% increase in revenue. Only if you don't anger the beast to the Great White North first. "Let's take a great partner that has been working with us for 20+ years, and providing us with an incredible source of revenue, and we'll go ahead and make them a Rep. They won't mind the huge hit to their wallet. "Hi, we're Yokogawa, and we want to drive the bus over the cliff at full speed." It's tough to make money when you offer discounts to the break-even point, just to make the sale. Plus, you also have to promise to deliver said products in an unfeasible amount of time. Is Worley Parsons the next company to drop them as a provider? Little birds are talking. Why is Yokogawa failing? Hmmmmm, let me think.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The recently departed HR Manager started out caring about the employees, but after dealing with upper management she eventually did what all managers at Yokogawa do. She went into the self-preservation mode.

People who try to do what's right and challenge Management's unrealistic perception of reality don't last long at Yokogawa. I disagree that it's a good company. It has many good products and many good people, but suffers from a total lack of direction and proper management.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I assume the blogger who dissed the Newnan HR Manager was a disgruntled employee. We know the folks in Houston do what they want, how they want to do it, without following any of the rules of the company. Not sure why they get away with it. You guys need to get over yourselves. You are not 'special' and you are running the company into the ground. I don't work there, and have no vested interest, but I know many that do.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I disagree with the last blogger about the HR manager. Actually she did an excellent job. Please focus on the business not individuals. This company is a great company!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Way to go YCA! About time you got rid of the HR Manager in Newnan. Now, lets start fresh. Are we really sure she resigned? I'm sure that's what everyone will report; but some of us know the truth. Good riddance...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The old CFO was bad. Once he ran over to Singapore, all his cronies are finding it hard and one by one going or fired.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The fix for YCA is to clean house with the existing upper management. Everything else has been tried. As for the firing of the HR General Manager in Newnan, all she did was what she was told to do. How long are the Japanese going to close their eyes to what is really going on.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Newnan human resource manager resigned. The President was seen here yesterday also.

Friday, September 16, 2011 - To the previous blogger: "It's really hard to sit back and continue to see all the negative posting about Yokogawa..."

I seek to differ somewhat a little from what you say... YEW has okay products, a pretty good service culture with a business model of selling cheap initially (in the past, using the Japanese market end-users to subsidize overseas projects) and re-claiming it back from service contracts. A similar model that works for YEW.

The secret of success about working for Japanese companies are that you have to be "a compliant worker", learn to say "YES" and to learn a little Japanese. Hierarchy and seniority still counts a lot. Of course, it is very very hard but not impossible to move into their "inner circle" via rank and file promotion.

That's why YEW is a little bit more successful in Middle-East & Asia-Pacific markets with their hoards of Indian, Pakistani and Pinoty "compliant experts" concentrated there.

As for North America - it is a different working attitude. That is why it would be good to see how the Japanese will successfully run the Canadian operation in the longer term. I guess, it would be always be staffed with "compliant experts".

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's really hard to sit back and continue to see all the negative posting about Yokogawa. The organization has excellent products, many excellent people, including the management ranks. Customers and competitors appreciate their honesty and have a healthy respect for the organization. The issue is so simple and ironic. Establish a business plan, stick to it and stop frustrating the employees with continual revisions. Japanese companies are thought to have long-term plans and staying the course. Get back to your roots! The employees will really appreciate it and get their confidence in the organization back.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Canadian office does not need to wonder because soon it too will be just like the American office, filled with "experts". Experts who know how to take orders without question and not do much else.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

YEW is aggressively hiring for its first big time foray into the Canadian market for the ConocoPhillips Surmont Oil Sands project.

How will the YEW Canada office be run? It will be interesting to see if Japanese culture be used in Canada? Or will it be fully staffed with Indian & Filipino "experts" from the Middle East & India, who want to come into Canada?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Isn't it amazing - 99% of the posts on this elbow are negative from Yokogawa America? That would be because we are useless Yokogawa America.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Yokogawa used to be a good company. Not anymore.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Yokogawa is a great company!

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Japanese Annual Report has been posted on the Japanese web site. As you can see, it's only 30 pages -- half the size of the English one -- and mainly product propaganda, rosy predictions of future system sales figures, photos of the directors, and the like. As you might expect -- unlike the English Annual Report -- it doesn't show that virtually all of the red ink is in Japan, that they have funds to cover only half of projected future employee retirement money payments due, and that they have some big loans due for repayment in the near future.

Saturday, August 27, 201

North American business is going down. Things are worse than what the report shows. YCA corporate counsel recently resigned. YCA senior sales executives and vice president sales has resigned and some were laid off. System business is loss-leader at YCA for ever. Instrument business is profitable but not growing. Test and measurement business planned to be spun off soon. Future of Mexico and Canada office looking bad also.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Indeed, p.66 of the 2009 Annual Report and p.68 of the 2010 Annual Report both show a 4% shareholding by Yokogawa, but p.57 of the 2011 Annual Report doesn't.

From a strategic point of view, a 4% shareholding might tip the balance of power if there were a takeover bid. It seems feasible that this past shareholding was money held by the company as provision for future employee retirement payments (see p.40-41 of 2011 annual report), and that in the past it was invested in company stock so that the company could use these votes to try to ward off a takeover bid. From a financial point of view, however, an investment in Yokogawa does not make any sense: Yokogawa is losing money and not paying a dividend, so the share price is likely to continue to decrease: this was a money-losing investment. So it looks as if these shares have been sold and the money invested more profitably elsewhere.

As you can see from p.39 of the 2011 annual report, Yokogawa has some large loans due for repayment in the next few years, so surely cannot afford the luxury of unprofitable investments. On p.22 of the Financial Fact Book 2011 you can see that Yokogawa's debt/equity ratio was nearly 90% in FY09.

The "treasury stock" item (number of shares held by the Japanese government) on p.57 does not appear to have changed significantly.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

In earlier annual reports, in the list of Major shareholders (usually last page) 'Yokogawa Electric Corporation' used to appear with shareholding ratio around 4%. This year this is not there in the top 10 list. What does this mean? The number of treasury stocks also used to appear below the list. This year it is not available.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The 2011 annual report has appeared at:

Mouse Annual Report 2011 - For the year ended March 31, 2011

I had time for only a quick look, but noted:

On p.12, there are two different graphs labeled "Non-Japan Net Sales", so one of these surely must be mislabeled.

On p.42, they say that they only have money to pay half of the projected future retirement benefits. Tables on p.54 show that overseas branches are all profitable, except for North America (loss is equivalent to 1.7% of sales), however the red ink for Japan is equivalent to 6.4% of sales. Asia and the Middle East are the most profitable.

Unlike some companies, Yokogawa does not show a breakdown of employee numbers outside Japan, but it would seem that deep staff cuts in profitable overseas branches such as Europe would just as likely result in decreased sales as (or rather than) increased profitability, but I haven't checked the numbers yet.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

According to Yokogawa, the English-language version of the annual report is due to go up on the website on August 24th, however the Japanese version is not due until several days later. It will be interesting to see the differences between the two versions.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yokogawa's annual report for the year ending in March usually comes out by the end of the following July, but there's no sign of it yet.

It's interesting to look at Horiba's Annual Report. Like Yokogawa, Horiba is in the semiconductor test business (as well as process control). But (unlike Yokogawa) it seems that it is not downsizing or pulling out of its semiconductor test business. Also, as you can see from page 8, Horiba - like Nissan and Sony - believes in diversity and recognizing talent (even "foreigners"). Incidentally, Horiba is advertising for reps in the USA.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Of course YCA Systems has consistently lost money. How could it be otherwise - given the direction mandated by YHQ towards a GMA-centric business model where the YHQ contracts result in an average 10% net loss on every dollar sold by YCA to the GMA companies. With 80% of YCA Systems business coming from the GMA accounts, it is impossible for the non-GMA segment to offset those losses. Moreover, the inconsistent non-GMA sales model has made it impossible to cultivate the long term customer relationships necessary for success, especially so given that the Systems portfolio is comprised of "greenfield project" solutions that do not fit well in what is mainly a "brownfield project" market.

The previous two years have been nothing less than a death spiral for YCA Systems, and Chet Mroz was brought in for a two year period to be the change agent for the business transformation that YHQ desires. The resulting Systems business will be nothing more than maintenance of the GMA business that YHQ requires for global business, and the non-GMA business is being transitioned towards being a product provider to Reps and Integrators.

While it neither right nor wrong to move in this direction, this change will result in requiring far fewer employees, and far fewer offices to yield far less business overhead and risk.

The change is already here, and it does not stop with Systems. When you think of how to reduce SG&A in Products, it doesn't take much thought to see how the business transformation will effect the entire company, and the future of those who have contributed much to YCA.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Didn't hear about the 5 being fired, good to know. I hope it is our HR staff. Someone said that they were going to bring someone back that worked in HR and was let go in Jan 2010; good move for the company. She'll get us back on track. She is a true HR professional, not sure how you did it but good move on YCA's part.

Saturday, July 23, 2011 - Re: "YCA will be selling instruments as it is only profit making business."

Sorry to break it to you, but Systems has never been profitable in the US.

Friday, July 22, 2011

YCA system business is going down. Two senior sales execs resigned and today they fired five more. YCA will be selling instruments as it is only profit making business.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - To the June 25th blogger about pay grades and bands:

Do you really think that YCA cares about posting jobs so employees can advance themselves? The HR office knows what everyone makes and the special few are informed of promotions. They promote who they want to promote.

I do have to say that someone that is blogging really understands how YCA's HR works. It is a sorry group of people. You bring in old people to run our payroll and they know nothing about payroll. I think whom ever is doing the hiring wants to make sure nobody is brought in that has any sense. We already got rid of out smart people in HR. Fat cats keep getting fatter, while we need to be able to put food on our table.

Friday, July 1, 2011 - To the April 15th blogger: "Heard it from my HR Friend":

This is exactly what is wrong with the HR office. The people in HR are not truly HR people; they don't know how to keep things private. They go out to lunch with "friends" and tell them confidential things.

I agree with a previous blogger that we need to change HR. HR is the foundation of our company. To move forward we need a strong group. The layoffs in early 2010 really hurt our HR organization. We finally had someone that was working in HR that knew what she was doing. The new HR VP is forced to deal with the people he has. I'm sure he cannot get a new group. Let them all go, start fresh. We keep bringing back people that use to work for YCA. They were let go for a reason; don't bring them back.

Friday, 1 Jul 2011 - Salaries and Staffing at Yokogawa and Yamatake:

Levels of tenured staff & their average salaries (as of Mar. 31, end of FY) at Yokogawa & Yamatake for the past 3 years (as reported to shareholders):

Yokogawa FY2010 4,723 employees; Yen 7,554,273 average (about US$93,920)
Yamatake FY2010 5,198 employees; Yen 7,201,054 average
Yokogawa FY2009 5,713 employees; Yen 6,853,230 average
Yamatake FY2009 5,297 employees; Yen 7,165,347 average
Yokogawa FY2008 4,848 employees; Yen 8,494,685 average
Yamatake FY2008 5,429 employees; Yen 7,534,579 average

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A report on last Friday's Shareholder Meeting may be of interest:

Responses to shareholder questions were mostly the usual "we will focus on control, where there's not so much competition; concentrate on petrochemical plants, energy, and developing countries like India and China", and the usual blaming of the exchange rate for continuing losses and "Lehman shock" for the company's decision to pull out of optical transponders and related businesses (which probably means abandoning the new Sagamihara factory).

There did not seem to be any concrete plan for dealing with this (sale of the Sagamihara factory) or with the possible collapse of the test instrument/semiconductor tester business. The test instrument factory in Kofu is quite large, mostly quite old (except for management offices), and far from anywhere -- it's in a country area with virtually no public transport.

Someone criticized the lack of new product announcements, and the response was to cite the use of microprocessors for self-diagnostics and temperature compensation in flowmeters as a "new development". One shareholder commented that Yokogawa successes in the past "came from learning from the best technology overseas, and from listening to what users want".

The Agenda Item 1 proposal to "relabel" retained earnings from overseas subsidiaries, so that they can pay a small dividend even if they continue to lose money, appears to be a strategy to appease ignorant shareholders who will be satisfied with a small dividend even if the company continues to flounder, lose money, and wipe out its assets. However, as you can see from the "No" vote totals on the Yokogawa web site, an ever-increasing number of people are looking for a change in the present management.

One of sons of the former-president of Yokogawa, who used to work in Yokogawa, asked many intelligent questions; these questions, and Kaihori's responses, took up about 25 minutes -- Kaihori couldn't very well interrupt him or tell him to sit down and shut up. The questions started with the apparent huge ongoing spending on "IT infrastructure" -- did the company have any clear objectives; had they considered the risk of failure, and done proper cost-benefit analyses? The answer--that this is about integrating disparate systems, and "last year was America, this year will be Japan" -- suggests that this is probably an SAP system implementation (but they seem unsure of what they are trying to achieve or how much it will cost). The son was also concerned about division of responsibility and division of workload among board members. He mentioned that none of the new internal directors are listed as being responsible for critically-important CFO, CIO, or R&D duties. Nara is named as executive director responsible for "Solution Sales", Kurosu as executive director responsible for "IA Marketing", and Nishijima (who is formerly from Hokushin) is executive director responsible for the failing Test Instruments subsidiary.

The son claimed that company law requires "executive directors" to be named as directly responsible for such important duties; responsibility cannot be transferred to company executives who are not directors. Such executive directors are supposed to report progress towards milestones to the board of directors at least once every three months. He thought that a company of Yokogawa's size should have two representative directors, not just one, and two more internal executive directors -- and it's surely time for a new, younger generation. Although Kaihori answered that he will be responsible for CIO duties, he appeared to be evading the questions, and confirming the son's suspicions that the company is quickly turning into a one-man band that's doomed to failure.

The past five years have seen many decisions that have proven to be incredibly stupid: Ando Electric was purchased for about $120M in 2001, their layoffs in 2002-3 cost another $60M, a new Sagamihara factory was built for what has become the failed optoelectronics business. Flowmeter manufacturing was transferred from the remote Mie district in Japan to China in 2003-4, the YHQ HR head, with no factory experience, was appointed president of the Chinese manufacturing subsidiary, and this shambles wiped out about one year of production (a new factory was built for about $70M); a new 12-storey factory was completed in Singapore in 2007, but YHQ had a $7M negative cash flow and had to get an emergency bank loan to remain solvent and pay salaries. From 2007 until the present, YHQ has been floundering in red ink.

According to last year's annual report, all overseas operations have been profitable -- except for relatively small losses in the US. However it appears that overseas subsidiaries are being squeezed for even more profit, and are being forced into layoff after layoff, to try to compensate for the huge losses in Japan. The 2010 fiscal year annual report, due in July, may well confirm that this squeezing of profitable overseas operations, and laying off of experienced and dedicated staff, has been grossly counterproductive. First-rate Japanese companies like Sony and Nissan are comfortable with diversity, and a talented employee may rise to company president even if not Japanese. Companies like Yokogawa, and dictatorships, are not comfortable with diversity -- cronyism aces talent.

Up to now, every year, after the shareholder meeting, shareholders have been shown the "Decision room" display of Yokogawa products, the adjacent "Global response center" full of pretty-girl trade-show models, then get to have tea or coffee and snacks with the directors in their penthouse palace. During the shareholder meeting, one shareholder commented that the "Global response center" is surely a sham, a once-a-year pantomime, and not a "24-hour, 365-days-a-year Global technical support center" at all. After this shareholder meeting there were about four large bouncer/football quarterback types blocking the routes past the "Decision room" and "Global response center", and shareholders were each given a small box of cookies and shown the door.

The day after the shareholder meeting, the company mailed out a fact book listing current parent company employee numbers as 4,723 as of March 2011. The numbers were 4,848 as of March 2009 and 5,713 as of March 2010 -- so they've dumped nearly 1,000 employees, about 20% of their workforce, over the past year. Surely the only way to explain these numbers is YHC. (Kaihori kept interrupting, and wouldn't permit the subject of YHC to be brought up at the shareholder meeting.)

Labor law says that dispatched employees who are ordinary office workers, and not in a few "specialist" categories, must be hired directly after three years employment as dispatch employees. One such employee, who was dispatched from the YHC subsidiary to Yokogawa for three years, asked to be hired directly in 2009 -- and the Government labor office directed Yokogawa to hire her directly. Yokogawa's response was to not renew her contract. When she sued the company, YHC was promptly shut down (Feb. 2, 2010 "Dissolution of a Subsidiary" notice on web site), as otherwise it would surely come out that many ordinary employees have been falsely labeled as "specialists" and subcontracted from YHC to Yokogawa for many years -- YHC would surely have its business license revoked, and maybe fines or worse would be imposed. So these numbers suggest that most of the YHC employees were hired directly by Yokogawa on one-year contracts, then fired. (It's not possible to sue for damages going back more than two years, so these employees would have no recourse.)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

It's interesting, the mention of pay-grade. I wonder if anyone can actually interpret what the pay grade number actual means to them at Yokogawa?

In most progressive companies, pay-grade numbers are part of a particular salary band. For example, pay-grade 1-4 may be part of salary band 1. The range of salaries (low to high) within a band is usually know by all in the band. Of course a salary band 2 has jobs that pay more than any salary band 1 position, and a pay-grade of 5 has greater financial compensation than a pay-grade of 4. The same is typically of hourly employees.

Job postings are typically posted in public view, and also include a pay-grade number and salary band number. This seems to make the most sense because if an individual wants to advance their career, they can look for postings of positions that have pay-grades and salary bands higher than their current status.

Unfortunately, this is not the standard at Yokogawa. This is an HR function that needs to be corrected. If not, employees have no way of determining whether a posted job is an advancement. This is not meant to be a rant about Yokogawa problems, but maybe some constructive advice to HR if they are willing to listen. I believe most employees would find this information important; I know it is to me.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Yeah good luck with the promised pay raises. All the sorry HR office does is put people in a job with a pay range and then some people get told they have maxed-out within that range. For a chosen few they will add another grade on to the existing job, no changes in job description (even if they have one on file) just a different range so the select few can have a raise. Raises are going on in HR, again for the select few just like always.

HR Director/VP look at who you have Managing HR. I know we've pulled former secretaries out of HR and made them secretaries again. Is the current HR Manger a good pick? Though not your pick, find someone that can do the job and do the job successfully. We need to bring back the "Human" in Human Resources.

I personally have faith in the HR VP and know he can do it, just with new staff. I do agree with the previous blogger that we need to bring back a few people that were let go. I believe they got caught up in the typical YCA hiring "friend" mess. They could have been good for the company.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I believe from all the comments made on this website that it's time for all the employees who feel that Yokogawa has lost its direction to come together and talk to the HR Vice President and the new President.

It came to several employees attention recently in Newnan that their pay grade meant nothing by the jobs posted on the board there was a 2.00 an hour difference in their pay from the one that was posted. An employee who has been with the company for 7 years was turned down for a higher paying job, according to the manager over the department, that the temps were already farmilar with the job. There is no need to bid for jobs, the managers already know who they want qualified or not. I thought that everyone needed a HS diploma but apparently not, if you are a group leader and the manager of your department likes you.

Where is the merit increase that the HR Vice President said was in the budget, when will we get our other 2.5% back? I have not had a raise in 5 years and I guess as far as Newnan goes, the money that was set aside is going for the Manufacturing VP's new office. They think more of the building than they do for the employees. I would like to see them do without for a change. But the "IN CROWD" is alive and well in Newnan.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 - To the 6/11/2011 Blogger:

What a shame about what you wrote. I think I know who you are talking about and she was let go in 2010 not 2005 as noted in your blog.

I did hear about this story and I don't like how they treat women. I have to say that it isn't just women; you won't see any minorities in the higher ranks either.

I honestly thought it was amusing to hear that HR is working on Performance Reviews. Why make yourself do that? Don't you promote based on "who you know" not "what you know?"

This was a good company for many, many years. I guess after DJ ran it in to the ground and while he was head honcho we brought back several undeserving people. We need to focus on the future - even if we have to bring back employees that worked for the company and were later let go for unknown reasons. I bet most of the good people have found jobs elsewhere, but it is a total shame that we let them go in the first place. Sounds like HR is scared of the competition.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Yokogawa has posted an "Opinion on ISS Proxy Services' Recommendation" dated June 17 under News on the top of the web site.

You can find the general ISS 2011 policy guidelines for Japan here:

Mouse 2011 Japan Proxy Voting Guidelines Summary

Mouse The Notice of 2011 General Shareholder Meeting

The Notice of 2011 General Shareholder meeting reports on p.5 that Yokogawa ("The Company") has wiped out almost half of its net assets between FY2007 and FY2010. Note also the "limited liability for outside directors and auditors" clause at the bottom of p.14 (mentioned on p.12 of the ISS policy guidelines); also note that there is no vote on annual bonuses or the huge retirement bonuses which Uchida-san and the others who are being retired will be getting, despite having wiped out half the company's assets (see p.13-14 of the ISS policy guidelines).

The reason for Item 1: Reduction of Capital Surplus and Retained Earnings (on p.39 of the Shareholder Meeting announcement) does not seem to be explained and justified, and ISS apparently opposes it. In its response,

Mouse "Opinion on ISS Proxy Services' Recommendation"

Yokogawa says that it "proposes Item 1 to offset the negative non-consolidated retained earnings, and increase the amount that can be paid out for dividends", so the company apparently intends to pay a dividend out of Yokogawa group retained earnings, even if Yokogawa itself continues to lose money.

The apparent ISS opposition to Item 3 (Mr. Katsumata's selection) may be due to his being on the board of Sapporo holdings. Sapporo is apparently privately held, and so not required to provide transparent accounts. When a merger between beer giants Sapporo and Kirin was proposed, it failed -- apparently because of the lack of a fair way of appraising Sapporo's true value: Sapporo apparently will not consider going public.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Why didn't the qualified female get the job? My goodness, haven't you been reading these blogs. YCA hates females that are smart and confident. A good friend of mine that used to work in HR left a major company just to be close to work and have a family; she was later terminated for a having a baby close to our Healthcare Open Enrollment timeframe. After they called her in to terminate, they later decided that it wasn't a good idea (duh!) and retracted the termination. So it was a critical time for her position, our Open Enrollments have been a mess for years, and my goodness, she was having a baby! This person that I'm referring to was actually let go during our early 2005 layoffs. Again, good female, doing a great job, employees loved and trusted her. We don't have that trust in HR and it seems like we never will. I see now that she didn't fit into the group. She was smart, funny and knew how to do HR work. If you came to her with a problem she helped you and kept it to herself. She didn't go out to lunch with co-workers and tell them all the secrets in HR.

Come on Dept. Of Labor - why can't you do anything about all this? Employees are STILL crying out for help. They don't want to lose their jobs - help them now!

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