YKK Stories

2017-11-13 Issue 23 Fundamental Behavior 22 – Take Pride In Our Appearance

February 19, 2019
Author: YKK
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I very much appreciate having this opportunity to share with you my thoughts about these Fundamental Behaviors. These messages have allowed me to share with you some of my observations about our company’s colorful history since 1973. In the months and years to follow, many of you will have a similar opportunity to share your thoughts with everyone. Thank you for your patience through the first round of discussions.

When we say “Take pride in our appearance,” we’re not trying to set some standard about how you should dress or act when you are away from work. How you look and how you act is your business. Rather, we simply hope you will take pride in working for YKK or YKK AP. That is the ultimate goal in these discussions about our Cycle of Goodness philosophy, our Core Values, and our Fundamental Behaviors. We want to ensure that you feel comfortable and safe in the corporate culture at YKK and YKK AP.

Regarding our personal appearance, the most important consideration is that our clothing be safe. Neckties, for example, are not safe around machinery, nor is long hair. I am reminded of something that happened years ago in one of our sales branches. It’s humorous only because no one was injured, but the results could have been deadly. A salesman was shredding some documents while wearing a necktie. Yes, it actually happened: his necktie became caught in the machine and his head was being pulled into the shredding blades. Fortunately he was able to shut the machine off and take his tie off his neck without injury. What a good learning experience that was for him and for everyone in our company! Now we are hyper-sensitive to anything that could become tangled in any machine, whether in our manufacturing operations or our offices. We learn, especially, from our near-misses.

Shoes are another area of concern. Steel-toed shoes are preferred, and flip flops are prohibited, for example. No doubt everyone is aware of the inherent dangers in our footwear, and we all should seek shoes that are comfortable and safe. Jewelry is another item that can quickly turn from something that makes us more attractive to something that threatens our safety. Common sense must prevail.

“Our appearance” also includes our work areas. The current state of neatness in all our departments and offices is very impressive. Two programs that have helped us achieve significant improvement are 5S and TPM (Total Productive Maintenance). Through these two programs we have learned how to organize our workplaces to be clean, safe, and efficient using methodologies that are uncomplicated and repeatable. When we take visitors on tours, they always ask if the state of cleanliness they observe was achieved on their behalf, and we always assure them that what they are seeing during their tour is identical to what they would observe on any unannounced visit.

A few weeks ago during a tour of YKK AP’s beautiful Dublin factory, my guest asked Don Garrett about the remarkable cleanliness and orderliness of the huge factory. He assured them that our wonderful YKK AP employees in Dublin and Macon take pride in the appearance of their workplace. He pointed out the connections among the cleanliness of our works spaces, the quality of our products, the safety of our employees, and the fact that all these things added together impact everyone’s morale. We want to live and work in a clean, safe environment.

Please take pride in yourself, your workplace, and your company. YKK has a 57-year history in the United States, and nearly that long in Canada and throughout Latin America. YKK was the first Japanese company to locate in Georgia, and now there are more than 600 Japanese companies in the state employing more than 35,000 Georgians. We can take pride in our company’s history. YKK came to the United States because of the apparel manufacturing that thrived here. Today, about 98% of the garments purchased in the U.S. are imported, but we still have a strong presence here because we have diversified into architectural products, and such disparate industries as safety, automotive, and liquid containment. Let’s show our pride by being thoughtful in our appearance and in our actions at all times. Thank you.



Alex Gregory
Chairman and CEO
YKK Corporation of America