Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
If only Extreme Cost-Cutting were a sport.
Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors today joined a growing string of automakers pulling out of cash-draining motorsports activities with an exit from the Dakar Rally. It’s part of the company’s attempt to squeeze out any cost savings it can, and it seems no effort is too small for consideration.
At today’s news conference to announce third-quarter financial results, the master of ceremonies opened with the following remark: “You may have noticed there are no refreshments at your seats today. This is part of our effort to reduce spending.”
Sound silly? Mitsubishi Motors is certainly not alone.
Japanese manufacturers are known for their fanatical cost-cutting ways – low ceilings to reduce air-conditioning bills, turning off the lights during lunch hours and double-sided printing with two pages to a side, to name just a few. These endeavours reach extremes when times are tough, and the anecdotes are endless.
I almost fell off my chair once when an employee at one automaker told me that back in the loss-making days of the 90’s, office workers had access to only two or three lead refills at a time for their mechanical pencils. It was meant to prevent waste. (Not to mention the odd case of internal stationery theft.) Another former worker at the company told me they used to cut erasers in half.