Yazaki Samoa’s days might be numbered but between now and its closure, the team there can celebrate another milestone achievement.
The Vaitele company has been awarded the Global Yazaki President’s award for outstanding performance and contribution to the global Yazaki family.
General Manager, Funefeai Oliva Va’ai told the Samoa Observer this is a very prestigious and highly competitive global award where Samoa has had to overcome competition from 43 other branches of the company worldwide.
“This is another world class achievement that the YES associates are to be extremely proud of as it is understood that only one other global Yazaki offshore affiliate has been able to achieve,” said Funefeai.
“Even though that we’ve now come to the end of Yazaki Samoa but being recognised at the Global Awards in Japan is an honour for everyone of us who has been with Yazaki Samoa for the past 26 years.”
Looking back, Funefea’i said he is humbled.
“We’ve come a very, very long way. It was a shock for us coming to a work place like this because we’d always been thinking domestic, we always think Samoa,” he said.
“When we joined Yazaki we had to talk globally, we talked about the world, being number one in the world.
“We were even challenged to be number one in Samoa, so I think those are the biggest challenges and sort of mindset changes from thinking small then to big thinking now. To be on the global stage in terms of a manufacturing plant, I am very happy.”
There are many challenges but Funefeai said it is about identifying what works.
“Our culture and concept of manufacturing really don’t blend that well,” he said.
“That is where we bring in our matai we try to work along like the village setting, looking from the community perspective whereby everybody helps.
“Yes we are a disciplined manufacturing place, where we are supposed to do what is being expected of us, we have to do our part and everything is documented.”
Besides, the operation is a 24/7 job.
“I think I must tell you, that I’ve been here for 24 years and it’s been a long 24 years,” he said.
“It’s a 24/7 job and I’m like the face of Yazaki...and it’s a good thing and a bad thing too.
“Sometimes, everybody comes to you looking for a job, everybody comes to you for cardboard boxes. Things can vary from the biggest thing to the smallest thing that you can ever think off.
“The good thing is that you get satisfaction by offering people jobs as the company representative here. The bad thing is when people come for cardboards boxes you’re busy but its still trying to hassle you.”
Funefeai said it still hasn’t sunk in to him that the company will soon close.
“Of course it still hasn’t sunk into my mind yet...not being able to come back to work here... well I suppose it’s a good time to have a good family life.
“Overall, I’m going to miss this workplace.”
Funefai has left for Japan to receive the award.
He has been invited by the President of Yazaki to be a ‘special guest of honor’ at the prestigious annual Yazaki Guest House Garden party in lkkuyso Japan at the foothills of Mount Fuji.
There, he will be congratulated for his services to the company.
Yazaki Samoa was first established in 1991.