Building relationships is one of the things that everyone, not just countries and regions, experiences in the process of growing in society, and the process is endless.
However, this process can be broadly divided into two types: “cases where you only build relationships with people whom you like” and “cases where you have to build relationships with people who have different thoughts and positions from you.”
In private life, just the former is sufficient, but it’s often the latter for business. I would like to introduce my experience in Japan, where I strongly felt the importance of “investing in relationships,” especially on this latter point.
When I used to work at a sales office in Japan, we had a lot of problems with the delivery date of woven hook and loop produced in Kurobe, and I received many complaints from customers as well as sales staff. My boss at the time ordered me to investigate the cause of this problem and move to the Kurobe Factory as a production manager in order to improve it.
At the time of my assignment, I was trying to confirm the cause with the biased belief that all the problems were with manufacturing, but as I talked with the people involved in manufacturing, I realized it was not entirely their fault.
Ever since then, I have taken into consideration both the positions of manufacturing and sales, listened to their opinions from a neutral standpoint, and proceeded with improvement activities while determining the best way forward.
For example, first understand both the opinion of the sales side, that shipment delivery delays occur frequently, and the opinion of the manufacturing side, that production cannot be handled according to the promised production delivery date. Then, reconfirm the production capacity of each production process and correct the problematic areas in order to set a realistic production standard schedule. This resulted in significantly reducing delivery delays.
I realized the importance of understanding that the way of thinking naturally differs depending on one’s position, determining what is most important among differing opinions, and thinking about ways to solve common problems. The important thing is not to have one-sided thinking, but to organize the information and guide it in the right direction, as people with different ideas communicate sincerely.
Of course, it’s not easy to change your mindset or accept other opinions. Nor does it mean that you should not have your own thoughts and always be willing to do what others say. It is important to have your own way of thinking, understand the way of thinking of teammates who have other ways of thinking, and then derive the correct way of thinking as a team over time.
YKK has long cultivated its spirit through the “Cycle of Goodness,” and each and every employee should be aware of its importance. In the future, as a “forest group,” I am confident that the “Cycle of Goodness” surrounding us will become even stronger as long as we keep this in mind and continue to move forward.
T&P National Marketing Coordinator
YKK (U.S.A.) Inc.