Even after the construction started, problems piled up in quick succession: the selection of machinery, difficult negotiations, delays in the delivery of devices and machines, working in freezing temperatures of 20 degrees below zero and lower, securing accommodation and food for the engineers staying in Plastun, a town with not a single hotel. Ryosuke Nagai, who has been there since 2007 says, “We solved the problems in any way we could. We had to, because we had to make it a success.”
Finally in March 2009, two facilities were completed and started operation in April. Nagai explains how he could kept going, encouraged by the “calm manner of General Director Scherbakov, support from Terneyles and other team members, and the hard work of the Japanese engineers. It all helped.” He continues, “I am still in the trial and error stage of seeking ways to improve daily operations, so I try to communicate with workers on-site as much as possible.” Having already faced a mountain of challenges, the team is well-prepared for the next one.
Mizuki Yoshida says, “We never take a wrong turn as long as we keep making our decisions based on what is good for Terneyles.” She has been involved in the project ever since she first started working at Sumitomo. With Tomishima’s words firmly in mind, she has tried to work out what is good for Terneyles and do it.
“General Director Scherbakov is such likable guy that people are easily drawn to. He is our business partner, but sometimes I feel like he is my direct boss.” Such strong ties are undoubtedly affecting the project development in a favorable way.
“I want this project to continue for at least 100 years,” Yamakita says. (It usually takes about 100 years for a seed to grow into a mature tree that can be used for timber.) In other words, he wants the project to continue even after he has left the company. “For that reason, it’s not enough just to deal with current issues, such as improving the efficiency of the facility operation. To make sure the project can adapt to meet changing needs, it is important to maintain trust in all relationships. We never know what will happen in the future, so a firm foundation is important for dealing with problems that we cannot foresee.”
Tanaka recently had an encounter that left quite an impression. In Plastun on business, he was introduced to a new employee. “Nice to meet you,” he said, but was told that they had met before. The man was the son of a Terneyles’ employee who had been invited to Japan about 10 years ago as part of a fellowship event organized by the two companies, and Tanaka was the one who had looked after him during his stay. It was a nice reward, he felt, for his long devotion to the project.
In conclusion, through projects, management policies and environmental activities, we aim at becoming the leader in the timber processing market. Like our partnership, the Plastun forests are growing steadily. Another 100 years, 200 years—it’s not just a dream.
The native forests in the easternmost region of Russia are home to the Amur tiger, the largest member of the cat family. Once on the brink of extinction, with only 400 to 500 living in the wild, it has been reported that the number of Amur tigers is increasing in forests owned by Terneyles, thanks to the company’s painstaking efforts for environmental protection. This achievement was recognized by the World Bank when it invited Terneyles to attend a memorial forum.
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