Yokohama President and CEO discusses key tire industry issues

Tire industry overview Q&A with Yasushi Tanaka.


I was shocked to read “The Limits to Growth,” published in 1972, which warned that if current trends continued, such as population growth and environmental pollution, we would face major problems within 100 years. And that was 40 years ago! To mitigate this, we need to pay attention to the environment and realize natural resources are limited. It is the goal of humankind, and Yokohama, to continue achieving harmony with the environment.

 

Question:  What do you see as key differences between the Japanese tire market and the U.S. tire market?

Tanaka: In Japan, most tire distributors are operated and organized by tire manufacturers. However, in America, most of them are independent. Therefore, we are able to establish friendly terms with any distributors/wholesalers.

 

Question:  You’ve been here now for six months.  Are you getting used to living in the U.S.?

Tanaka:  Yes, I’m getting more comfortable living here, but there’s still a lot to get used to.  It has always been one of my dreams though, to live and work in the U.S. so I plan to use the time I have here to learn more about Yokohama’s customers and the tire industry, and build friendships along the way.

 

Question:  What’s been the hardest thing for you during the transition from Japan to the U.S.?

Tanaka:  With regards to living here, I’ve settled in very well as I mentioned earlier.  I would say one of the biggest areas of concentration for me at YTC is the company’s procedures and seeking opportunities to improve them. 

 

Question:  What would you say is the best asset you bring to YTC?

Tanaka: In the beginning, it will be to administer the corporate structure and connect it more with YRC’s activities. I can assist with both sales and marketing activities. I will help with cost reductions and eliminating waste, which are so important during these difficult economic times.  This will help increase profit. There are two ways to do this: increase sales or decrease cost. I want to do both.

 

Question:  What is the best aspect about YTC that you have seen so far?

Tanaka: It is well organized. Our sales network is efficient and of outstanding quality.  Our employees, of course, are our greatest asset and I’m excited to be working with them in continuing to build a Yokohama that’s even stronger in the future.

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