When I was first presented with the opportunity to put together a message for this week’s Fundamental Behavior, “Seek Improvement in Everything,” I thought of many different examples of how our Textile and Plastics team has benefited from this concept while working with our customers.
Many of those examples share a common theme. It revolves around our ability to share YKK’s technical expertise, knowledge and understanding of our fastening product performance as it relates specifically to our customers’ end use product.
It’s one thing to understand how YKK hook fasteners engage to our loop products, but learning how they perform and interact with other market materials is something quite different, and it didn’t happen overnight.
After relocating from our Central Region to our Marietta HQ office as Business Development Manager, I was given the opportunity to lead and expand our hygiene and medical business. At that time, the majority of our testing was conducted by our Textile and Plastics lab. Numeric results were shared with the sales team allowing us to compare YKK performance against our competitors.
This information was quite helpful, but the challenge came when we were presented with other non-YKK materials such as non-wovens, laminates and other fabrics that function as a mating loop. There are many application examples, such as adult diapers, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and lymphedema sleeves, compression garments and several others. Many of these applications do not engage in the traditional machine or cross machine direction. To complicate matters even further, many customers have developed test methods and procedures that vary from our traditional American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) methodology to measure peel and shear performance.
Recognizing the need to better understand the customers’ materials and testing procedures, our group was assigned an R&D textile manager to support these initiatives. Over the next few years, he visited and worked directly with our customers, learning more about their hook compatible materials and how they evaluate our products, allowing us to better replicate those methodologies in our own evaluations.
This R&D textile manager later transferred into our Textile and Plastics team, where he’s been able to spend more time in the field educating our customers and sales team on testing methodologies, technical solutions and product recommendations.
Every time I witness one of our team members engaged in a deep technical discussion with a customer or colleague, I know we can attribute it to YKK’s desire to seek improvement in understanding our customers, their products and our markets!
Director – Textile & Plastic Products
YKK (U.S.A.) Inc.
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