YKK Stories

2018-03-05 Issue 37 Fundamental Behavior 10 Be Process-Driven

February 19, 2019
Author: YKK
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“If you cannot describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing.” This quote comes from W. Edwards Deming, the legendary professor and management consultant credited with helping inspire the Japan’s post-war economic miracle.

I have the great privilege to meet with YKK colleagues throughout the NCA region and around the world. I am always impressed with the passion and professionalism our teammates exhibit. I have noticed a pattern – our most effective teammates can clearly describe the processes they employ to perform their duties. They also appear more relaxed and happy! With these processes in place they can accomplish many important goals at once, including:

  • Ensuring they work efficiently;
  • Reducing risks of errors;
  • Improving on-time completion of tasks; and
  • Providing an objective set of standards to test and improve performance.

I think all of our manufacturing teams are exceptionally good at managing production in a process-driven way. Sometimes, however, mistakes happen or tasks are not completed on time. More often than not, when looking at how those mistakes were made or those deadlines were missed, you will see the work was done without the direction of a clear process. Of course, making mistakes or missing deadlines just makes life harder and more stressful for everyone involved. Those working in a process-driven environment, on the other hand, have a smoother, more satisfying, and less stressful work day. Processes simply help us enjoy our work more.

If I am honest with myself, thinking back on Mr. Deming’s quote above, there are areas of my work that I cannot properly describe as a process. And if I am really honest with myself, those are the areas of my work that are most difficult and stressful. I am inspired by my fellow YKK colleagues and will insert a bit more process in my duties. Please join me in thinking about your own work duties, and honestly ask yourself, “Can I describe what I do as a process?” If the answer is “no,” then do yourself and your fellow YKK colleagues a favor, and break those duties down to a process, and see if your workday doesn’t start flowing a little more smoothly.


Jim Reed
YKK Corporation of America