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2018-04-02 Issue 41 Fundamental Behavior 14 Invest In Relationships
It is commonly understood that you must invest in your business. You must invest in equipment, you must invest in materials, and you must invest in your employees. One of the most significant reasons for YKK’s global success over the long term has been that we also make long term investments in relationships. Relationships are incredibly valuable assets that cannot be calculated on a balance sheet, but are critical to the success of any business. Our relationships open opportunities we cannot otherwise see, and those relationships sustain us in the lean times.
As I write this, I think about two things: 1) the relationships that sustain me, and 2) how I might invest more in those relationships. As you read this, I hope you think about those things as well.
While we make excellent products and do so very well, we are not always perfect. William Langley, YKK USA’s VP of Sales, told me about a recent trip he made to a customer to discuss a performance issue with one of our products. William had been making regular visits to that customer over the previous six years for the sole purpose of building a strong relationship and maintaining that connection. When this problem arose, the customer could have given our competitor the chance to provide a solution, and I am sure our competitors asked for this chance many times. But William and his team had invested in relationships with a number of people at the customer. The customer knew YKK through those relationships, and trusted us to find the solution.
Of course, we must also invest in relationships with our suppliers, our community, and with each other. How many times have our suppliers accommodated a rush order to help make sure we could keep up with our production schedule to satisfy our own customers? How many times have our trusted plumbers and mechanics come out in the middle of the night to make sure we could be up and running in the morning? They do this because you have built relationships with them. Thank you for building those relationships, and make sure to thank them for their continuing support!
YKK Corporation of America