Following is the exclusive interview with
Mr Hideki Okuyama, Managing Director of Myanmar Yazaki Thilawa.
Q: Could you please tell us the production volume and annual export for your factory?
A: Our product of export involves the automotive wire harness to the foreign market, which involves Thailand. We are targeting a sales volume of 10 million per year.
Q: Could you please tell us anything to expect about your business?
A: I think Myanmar is the right place to invest in manufacturing business because of human resource quality, but future growth is depending on us. In any business, the customer wants better quality and product as soon as possible, and as cheap as possible. If we achieve our target providing value to the customer, we can go for growth. It is a little early to judge at this moment.
Q: Please tell us about the technology transfer and capacity building for Myanmar workers.
A: Our business is a relatively labour-intensive type of business. One of the essential keys to success is how to motivate people. We have set a benefits programme in accordance with acquired operational skills. For middle management, I expect them to learn management skill through working at the company, and if we can leave talents in Myanmar as a consequence, it may call technology transfer, I think.
Q: How many workers are here, and how is the factory managing to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
A: Actually, we have 489 employees. My duty under COVID-19 is to secure the life and safety of our employees. So we are working with primary motto against COVID-19 as “protect yourself is to protect the others”. As you know, there are two infection routes of COVID-19.
One is through the small specks of the liquid, and the other one is through contact. We are implementing for everyone to wear a mask, of course. In case of a closed and crowded area, like on a ferry or a working place like a training in room, we require our people to wear industrial glass. For the contact, we have them frequently wash hands, disinfection and social distancing.
Thus, we are following the guideline of the Ministry of Health and Sports. Also, in order to capture the changing points, we require our employees to tell us about the health conditions of the family they are living together with.
Q: Could you tell us about the challenges and achievements of your company during the investment in Myanmar.
A: We are doing business here in Myanmar in order to achieve our corporate policy, which is a cooperation step with the world and the cooperation needed by society. In order to achieve the policy as a private company, we need to achieve sustainable profit.
So, the actual challenge is to achieve some of our productivity target for it. We have just eight months after starting our operation, our productivity is still low, but it’s improving day by day. Once we achieve those targets, we may go for the next step.
Q: How is your factory managing for the livelihood of the workers amidst the COVID-19?
A: Our employees are mostly coming to work and directly going back home. It’s just the home and the factory. I really appreciate our employees’ cooperation under Covid-19.
However, the number of tests being made are still low, and there is potential expansion.
Then, we will keep actual actions we are taking against COVID-19 without being relaxed. Taking advantage of this opportunity, I’d like to express my appreciation to the Myanmar government, for their quick and containing actions to maintain a relatively lower level of infection cases in the country.
Q: Please tell us your advice to attract foreign investment into Myanmar.
A: One of the comments on making investments in Myanmar is the lack of infrastructure, the lack of human resources for management, and the unclearness of laws. I’m sure the Thilawa SEZ solves the question of infrastructure. It is my mission to create human resources. So, in line with the advance of legislation, Myanmar would attract more investment.
Q: Would you like to say anything else for Myanmar?
A: I think Myanmar is a nice place to invest because of human quality. I like for my employees to experience the pleasure of growing and contribution through our company’s business activities. My dream is to contribute to the economic growth of Myanmar in future.