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Contractors World International
2012 Vol 3 No 5
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Hitachi has no reverse gear! Page 3 of 4 >>>

Is the John Deere experience something to be developed?

I asked Paul if the experience with John Deere was something that could be developed in other markets or does he see other strategic product alliances of benefit?

“Of course”, said Paul, “we always look at such developments and analyse the positives and negatives and although there are some benefits in such alliances, I do not see it happening for HCM.

“Dealers like to offer a full product line up but I don’t see any real tangible benefits in such alliances For the same reasons I do not like multi-brand strategies. However, I do not rule out such a possibility in the future where it could be an option for strategical marketing benefits. We live in a world that is constantly changing and extremely challenging.”

Although Paul rules out alliances, in some respects, Hitachi has actually gone down this road but in a different format. Joint-venture product development agreement with TCM, Furukawa, Kubota and Sumitomo, for instance.

Paul Burger is also aware that sometimes such agreements are so tightly written that they can actually impede a company’s ability to grow - products or markets.

Operator safety and ergonomically aware comfort are part of HCM’s policy to deliver the safest machines.Social Responsibilities

A question I am asking a lot of companies because I think it is something that can easily get overlooked in the race to market product: to what degree is a company aware of its social responsibilities?

Operator safety and ergonomically aware comfort are part of HCM’s policy to deliver the safest machines.

“I can’t say that, other than the Japanese social heritage in the brand, we do not have any specific policy. We can sell a machine in good faith but once we have delivered it there is little we can do about applications it is used for, but I suppose there is a built-in cultural awareness. Especially in the areas of operator safety, where we have always built into our machines as much safety as possible.

“And we have very strict corporate guidelines on how we show machines. We will never use pictures that show machines operating in an unsafe situation and which is not compliant with typical personal safety regulations. And we emphasise to our dealers to only show machines in proper applications. We live in a dangerous industry.”

Hitachi in Japan is typical of many large manufacturers that their social awareness is very extensive. Employees and their families are provided with free/subsidised housing, schools, hospitals and social and sporting facilities. Whole cities can evolve over time.

Site safety awareness

During a discussion where I suggested that equipment manufacturers could help promote site safety by making available simple site safety kits, which also promotes the brand and safety.

However, as Paul said, “You can give site workers a basic safety kit - hard hat, high viz jacket, etc. but what it they wont wear them? That is what is happening. All contractors and workers know about safety. If you have seven days of rain, they will wear the safety kit but as soon as the sun comes out, the kit comes off.”

One cannot argue with this, for it is common to see such breaches in basic site safety in developed countries so what hope is there to achieve it in poorer parts of the world? Attempts have been made to regulate it but policing it can be difficult and expensive.

Environment awareness

An other area of social responsibility is awareness of the environment. What is Hitachi’s policy to developing more environmentally friendly machines?

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