YKK Stories

2018-11-05 Issue 75 Fundamental Behavior 20 Pay Attention To The Details

February 19, 2019
Author: YKK
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Nick Saban, one of the all-time great college football coaches with the University of Alabama, said, “It’s not human nature to be great. It’s human nature to survive, to be average and do what you need to do to get by. That is normal. When you have something great happen, it’s the special people that can stay focused and pay attention to details, working to get better and not being satisfied with what they have accomplished.” John Wooden, one of the great college basketball coaches retired from UCLA, said, “It’s the little details that are vital. Focus on the little things and big things will happen.”

Details are everywhere, both in our work and personal lives, and we are required to pay attention to them. I am not sure who originated the quote, “The devil is in the details,” but it is certainly true. No one is perfect, so mistakes will happen. Some mistakes are more costly than others, but regardless of how small the mistake is, it reflects negatively on both you and YKK. However, most mistakes can be avoided by paying attention to the details.

Paying attention to details is required in every department within our YKK companies. We need to ensure our customer orders are entered correctly, customer orders are shipped correctly, customer orders are manufactured correctly without defects, customers are invoiced the correct amounts, our orders to suppliers are entered correctly, suppliers are paid the correct amounts, all financial transactions are entered correctly in our accounting systems, new products and machinery are designed correctly and applicable for the customers use, communications to customers and the public are free from errors, etc. Suffice it to say, attention to details touches every department and every person within those departments.

Attention to detail requires a level of care, thoroughness, and accuracy when accomplishing tasks with a concern for others impacted by your actions. When mistakes happen, it usually impacts many other departments/personnel within YKK, our customers, and suppliers in an effort to identify the root cause and fix the problem. In addition to any financial costs incurred to fix the problem, a significant amount of time is wasted by YKK employees, customers and suppliers. That gives rise to the importance of the quote, “Do it right the first time.”

How do we do it right the first time? Stay focused, check your work, and follow procedures/rules that have already been developed. If no procedures exist, develop procedures and checklists to assist in completing the task completely and accurately (Take Ownership). If the task requires a lot of detail, there should be a review function by someone else to confirm it was done correctly.

Jim Reed, in his message on this topic dated May 14, 2018, indicated some helpful suggestions for staying focused in both your work and personnel lives, which bear repeating. I will not go into the details, but some of the suggestions included 1) get organized and make lists, 2) limit distractions and don’t multitask, and 3) exercise and take breaks.

Let’s all do our best to stay focused and pay attention to details so we can do it right the first time. Keep in mind all the other departments/employees, customers and suppliers that are dependent on the accuracy and completeness of our work.


Keith Meyer
VP Finance & Treasurer
YKK Corporation of America