Yoshiaki Inayama: Managing Director, Toshiba JSW Power Systems

Managing Director, Toshiba JSW Power Systems

Sustainability and carbon dioxide emissions reduction are two major, long-term considerations in the power equipment market for Yoshiaki Inayama, managing director of Toshiba JSW Power Systems (TJPS). He knows, of course, that the expansion of renewable energy will also be important but, as he points out, the fact remains that 70 per cent of India’s installed capacity is thermal power and it will remain the most significant component for ensuring energy security. It continues to serve as the “cornerstone of the grid”, he says, because it provides stable energy output and reliable and affordable power. “In other words, the efficiency improvement of thermal power becomes crucial,” he says.

The introduction of environment-friendly supercritical and ultra-supercritical (USC) technologies-based fossil fuel power generation can not only provide reliable and stable power, but also ensure less impact on the environment.

Toshiba is developing technologies such as advanced ultra supercritical and carbon capture and storage to further contribute to a green economy. Demolishing and rebuilding the old, small and low-efficiency plants through the use of the latest technologies will allow more power output without increasing carbon emissions.

“In addition to that, proper maintenance of operating plants can balance power output improvement with a reduction in the carbon footprint. TJPS can contribute in this area by utilising Toshiba’s state-of-the-art technologies,” he says.

To ensure high quality equipment and cost competitiveness, the company is continuously improving the manufacturing ecosystem for locally sourced components by developing and expanding its vendor base in India.

Inayama would like the government to take the initiative to promote these technologies for new constructions and rebuilding of old plants as well as to promote measures to improve the efficiency of existing plants by applying proper maintenance solutions.

An old Toshiba hand (he’s been with the company for 30 years), Inayama started his career as a manufacturing engineer at Toshiba’s Keihin factory in Japan, which manufactures thermal, hydro and nuclear power equipment. “The main reason why I joined the power industry is that it was attractive to work in a sector that contributes to the quality of human life,” he says.

Later, he became head of the Division of Manufacturing, Production and Engineering and the Planning Department of the Keihin factory. He promoted the upgrading of Toshiba’s facility in Japan, including improving the manufacturing capabilities of nuclear steam turbines and generators.

Inayama came to India for the first time in 2006 to work at Toshiba HQ’s Productivity Promotion Division. At that time, Toshiba was planning to enter the Indian power sector market by establishing a joint venture company with an Indian partner.

In 2012, he became MD of TJPS. He sees his role as enhancing the company’s capability and expanding its business. The company aims to become a total solutions provider for engineering, manufacturing, procurement, construction and services (EMPCS).

In 2008, Toshiba Japan joined hands with the JSW Group India, to establish Toshiba JSW Turbine and Generator Private Limited (TJTG) in Chennai to manufacture supercritical and USC steam turbines and generators. In 2014, TJTG and Toshiba Thermal and Hydro Power Systems Division of Toshiba India were integrated to form TJPS to establish the new company as an EMPCS organisation for executing thermal power projects on a turnkey EPC basis.

It is currently executing USC steam turbine generator island packages for NTPC’s Kudgi Super Thermal Power Project (STPP) and Darlipali STPP, and Meja Urja Nigam Private Limited’s  Meja Thermal Power Project.

Simultaneously, the company is establishing itself as a spares supply and services organisation for thermal power plants by catering to the needs of the 4,000 MW ultra mega power project of Coastal Gujarat Power Limited (Tata Power) in Gujarat and the 1,000 MW Anpara B Thermal Power Plant of Uttar Pradesh Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (UPRVUNL).

“Last year, TJPS marked a significant milestone in its endeavour to offer customers state-of-the-art power generation solutions with the shipment of its first “Made-in-India” steam turbine generator. The 800 MW turbine generator for Unit 2 of the Kudgi Ultra Super Thermal Power Station in Karnataka was Toshiba’s first large-scale generation system to be manufactured and assembled with locally procured parts and systems, and tested in India. With this shipment, we embarked on our local manufacturing – from procurement to testing and shipping – for customers in India and neighbouring countries,” says Inayama.

However, there were several challenges along the way. The TJPS Chennai factory was heavily damaged during the torrential rains and floods in December 2015; the generator test facility was also damaged. “For months, all TJPS members worked together day and night for the quick recovery of the factory. Together, we were able to successfully manufacture and deliver our first Made-in-India generator. This was one of my most memorable moments in India as it exuded the camaraderie of determination to overcome any challenge and the relentless spirit of teamwork to achieve the goals,” recalls Inayama.

Another achievement that stands out in his mind is the first full EPC contract awarded to TJPS. The contract was for the Harduaganj project, awarded by UPRVUNL. “We established TJPS with the goal of offering a one-stop solution covering EMPCS. With this contract, we embarked on the journey of becoming the No.1 EMPCS company in India,” he says.

With the manufacturing facility at Chennai having the capacity to manufacture steam turbines and generators of 3,000 MW per annum, TJPS is geared to contribute to the government’s goal of providing 24×7 electricity for all. The company is positioning itself as a significant player in the sector and aims to participate in the government’s ambitious plans for the country.

So far, Inayama’s experience of working in India has been excellent. Moving to India presented a challenge, in that it entailed the setting up of a completely new thermal power equipment factory  – the company’s only one outside Japan. His career in Toshiba Japan up to the point he arrived in India proved to be a useful foundation.

Unlike some expats, it has been a smooth transition and an interesting cultural experience for him. “I am so amazed by the difference and the similarity in Japanese and Indian cultures. I am convinced that Japan has been much influenced by Indian culture, especially through Buddhism. Moreover, I respect Indian culture and am trying to better understand it, to foster mutual understanding with our Indian colleagues,” he says.

One of his tried and tested management techniques is to instill all employees with an understanding of the significance of customer satisfaction and the need to establish suitable processes and procedures for each stage of an operation. These attributes are not special, he says. They are common in the Japanese corporate world.

If he were compelled to name just one person who was a major influence on him while he was growing up, Inayama says it would be his father. “He was part of the middle class management of an automotive company in the 1960s and, to me, he always looked very keen to improve the productivity of the company. I am convinced there were many similar people in Japan at that time, and those efforts made Japan one of the world’s best countries in the automotive industry,” he says.

Inayama works at both the Gurgaon Engineering Centre and the Chennai factory. When he is at the latter, he tries to get out of his office and walk around the factory perimeter to get some exercise.

His wife and his son live in Japan. They communicate with each other at least once a week through video calls. His  son works with an IT company and “is a very good adviser for me on IT-related issues”, he says.

Inayama loves music. He has an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar and a keyboard in his flat. “I am at peace and enjoy the serenity when I play those instruments,” he says.

Looking ahead to the next 5-10 years, he says his first priority is for TJPS to become the No.1 EMPCS player in the country, especially in customer satisfaction. That means that it is very important for it to achieve good results from the projects currently under execution and he is determined to make that happen.