Global Programs Blog


​Garrison Lipscomb (JD '1​​9)
Legal and Internal Audit Department, Kobelco Construction Machinery Co., Ltd.
Tokyo, Japan

"Otsukaresama" / Factory Tours (07/13/18) 


I had the opportunity to tour two Kobelco factories and one Kobe Steel factory this week.

Kobelco’s Itsukaichi Factory in Hiroshima primarily manufacturers Kobelco excavators.

My biggest takeaways from the Itsukaichi Factory were the cleanliness of the factory floor and the technology their team uses at each step of the process.

Kobe Steel’s Kakogawa Works in Hyogo is a steel-making plant manufacturing a range of steel products. The sheer, massive scale of Kakogawa Works was hard to fathom from the outset.

My biggest takeaways from Kakogawa Works were the size of the operation and the plant’s emphasis on recycling as much material and energy as possible – the entire site is powered by recycled energy sources!

Finally, Kobelco’s Okubo Factory in Hyogo primarily manufactures Kobelco cranes.

My biggest takeaways from the Okubo Factory were the way in which the different assembly sections were methodically organized and the factory’s emphasis on safety at all times.

Observing the Okubo team assemble the component parts into what eventually becomes a gigantic crane was a fascinating to witness – expert welders, robotic welding machines, testing facilities, painting facilities, shipping, etc.

Overall, the factory tours were eye-opening as to some of the more nuts and bolts (literally) inner-workings of the industry.

The factory teams and tours are something I will not forget.

[Texas A&M Law Editor's note:  During the factory tours, Garrison was joined by fellow Texas A&M Law student Dameron Barron ’20 who is interning in the Legal and Internal Audit Department of Kobe Steel Group, a division of Kobelco. See Dameron's blog posts.]


“Otsukaresama” (at the end of the workday) ~ Something akin to “thank you for all the hard work today” or “good job today.” This is one of those phrases that has no direct translation and its meaning is based on context, but everyone says it to each other as they leave for the day.

Kobelco Itsukaichi FactoryKobelco Itsukaichi Factory, Hiroshima, Japan, 07/12/18
Outside Kobelco Okubo FactoryKobelco Okubo Factory, Hyogo, Japan, 07/13/18

Excavators before final paintingExcavators before final painting, Kobelco Itsukaichi Factory, Hiroshima, Japan, 07/12/18