YKK Stories

2018-10-22 Issue 73 Fundamental Behavior 18 Take Ownership

February 19, 2019
Author: YKK
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What does “Take Ownership” mean? I think it means to have a sense of involvement and responsibility, to think about the role you play in various tasks, and to see things through to the end without giving up.

YKK Taiwan’s Zhong-Li Factory had undergone expansion several times since its founding and was an old and dangerous factory, one in which it was hard to streamline production, and it did not meet the latest earthquake resistance standards. But as the center of the garment industry shifted to China and Asia, the capital investment needed to restructure the factory, about $150 million, was very difficult to justify.

A project team for the creation of investment plans was formed in Taiwan in 2011 and a plan was prepared. However, at that time YKK Group was in a tough situation in terms of financial performance, especially YKK Taiwan, and making expensive investments was difficult, so the plan was abandoned. In March 2015, YKK Taiwan made a new plan and received approval, but was unable to acquire the planned site for construction of the factory and had to revise the plan again.

The team experienced great disappointment due to the repeated abandonment of their plans, but in order to deliver products more quickly and at lower cost as requested by customers, and, most importantly, to build a factory where employees can work safely, the team found new inspiration. Site selection and planning were eventually completed, and the first phase plan was approved in October 2015, and the second phase plan was approved in July 2017. Currently, the phase 1 factory is in operation, and the phase 2 factory is under construction.

I believe that the fact that the plan, which was developed over 7 years, was accepted and is now bearing fruit is the result of YKK Taiwan staff, especially project team members, thinking deeply about their responsibilities toward customers and employees, taking ownership, and not giving up, no matter how many setbacks there were.

YKK Group is said to be a “forest organization.” This means that each YKK Group member has the consciousness that “everyone is a manager.” Every single tree, while coming in many varieties and possessing individual characteristics, joins with other trees to form a forest. It is the idea that you will work effectively as you demonstrate your own abilities based on your skills, moving forward together without being controlled by anyone.

It is not necessary to do something big or difficult. Try starting from something small and easy by thinking, “As a member of the YKK team, what can I do for customers or for the company?” I believe that accumulating small wins will lead to a stronger and bigger YKK forest.


Thomas Takemoto
Vice President – Corporate Development
YKK Corporation of America