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2018-09-24 Issue 69 Fundamental Behavior 14 Invest In Relationships
In 1972, YKK was looking for a site to build a factory in the U.S. The team looked at several promising sites in a number of states. YKK was looking for a US home and was committed to developing a long term relationship with a community. The mayor of Macon, Georgia and his team also wanted this relationship, and both the community and YKK have benefitted greatly over the following decades. Then Governor Jimmy Carter and YKK’s founder, Tadao Yoshida, also developed a wonderful relationship in the process. This relationship has only grown deeper over the years as YKK continues to support President Carter, the Carter Center, and its efforts to ‘wage peace’ and eradicate disease around the world.
Last December, a week before the December shutdown, an important YKK customer was having a critical problem. They were a Levi’s contractor in Mexico and they were having trouble with our buttons on Levi’s jeans. Their production was in jeopardy, so YKK USA Snap & Button Division’s Art Rivas sacrificed his vacation to go to the customer’s factory every day of shutdown (and for several weeks thereafter) to help inspect product and to solve the problem. Many other YKK team members supported Art, and with a significant effort, resolved all issues. This experience not only saved an important business relationship, but it also strengthened the bond we have with the customer. This will provide the basis for deepening this already strong relationship.
Last weekend, 23 of our colleagues spent their days off working at the YKK booth at JapanFest in Duluth, Georgia. For two days each year, 23,000 people come to JapanFest to experience Japanese culture. Our colleagues set up fun games for the kids, handed out prizes, and reached out to the community to show them a little about YKK’s spirit. We know that by reaching out to the community in this way, we further deepen our connections in important ways.
Each of these is an example of investments we make in building long term relationships every day. We talk about being a ‘forest’ organization, and these investments are the fertilizer that feeds our deepening roots in society. These deep roots provide the anchor we need to withstand terrible storms that will inevitably come. Please consider your relationships with your staff, your vendors, your community, and your customers. Have you made any recent investments? They can be big or small, it does not matter. They are all important and they all contribute to our long term strength.
YKK Corporation of America