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Sun Noodle’s experience during the Covid-19 Pandemic proves that the Inamori Philosophy can help small business owners overcome disasters.
During the Covid-19 Pandemic in Hawaii, eating and drinking in restaurants was banned, and our company, whose primary business was wholesaling to ramen shops and restaurants, experienced a 50% drop in sales.
At first, we were worried because we did not know the substance and effect of the virus. Still, CEO Hidehito Uki gathered all employees and declared, “Our company will be fine because we have enough retained earnings to carry on the business. We will also protect our employment. Let’s keep working for our customers who continue to operate the take-out business.”
The internal reserves the founder had saved through his solid management were a great source of reassurance to the employees. We also already did retail business and pivoted our focus to this end of our sales.
Mr. Uki and I stayed in close communication. We use the Inamori Philosophy as the basis for our decisions, so there was no need for complicated or lengthy discussions. The Inamori Philosophy was already in motion, and we just needed to keep steering in the right direction.
We immediately agreed on a project to distribute free ramen noodles to local people in need as an altruistic act that is part of the Philosophy, believing we would make it through.
The Covid-19 disaster reduced production, but this gave us more time to work on pending projects. “Regular Philosophy Study Sessions” for our young leaders, and departmental profitability management using the RITAHX style PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) method, which began at Dojo RITAH, became part of our routine. Also, many new products were born from the ideas of young people in the company.
This combination of factors, all of which are part of the Inamori Philosophy, saw us safely through the pandemic. Last fiscal year, the company recorded its highest-ever profit margin of 15%. I am convinced that the practice of the Inamori Philosophy strengthened the management foundation of our company despite the Covid disaster.
I was born in Hong Kong as a child of a devout Chinese Muslim family, and thanks to my humbled but devoted and dedicated parents, I was able to study in the United States. I am also deeply grateful to have been entrusted with important jobs at numerous food companies. I am especially thankful to have the opportunity to learn and share the Inamori Philosophy at Sun Noodle. It has changed me personally as well as in the way I work. The practice of Philosophy has proven successful. I hope the Inamori Philosophy will be passed on from employees to their families and our global community, making the world a better place.”