YKK Stories

2019-11-04 Issue 121 – Fundamental Behavior 19 – Be proactive

November 4, 2019
Author: YKK
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“Proactive” – Adjective – “Creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.”

When one of my sons played on a travel baseball team, one of the coaches introduced the 5Ps to the team.  Proper (Proactive) Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.  His message to the kids was to practice on and off the field and to make the mechanics of fielding a baseball or hitting a baseball instinctive and not reactive. The coaches taught that if you have effectively and pro-actively practiced the mechanics of baseball, then that is one less thing you have to think about on the field and you can concentrate on your strategy instead. It was a very effective concept and the team ended up going to a championship that year.

Successful companies are good at proactively planning to meet goals and including change in those plans.  YKK just met one of its long term goals of selling 10 billion zippers in one year.  This plan was not achieved without first having a detailed plan that broke things into manageable and more predictable Midterm plans.  When we introduced our Industry groups and included sales engineers in the sales staff, the thought was to break things down into smaller and more manageable groups that could focus on a particular industry which would contribute to the whole.  We also included product and process engineers or experts in the groups that could focus on developing and promoting the products and tools needed for the industry group’s success.  It ended up being a very successful idea that we continue to use today.  We proactively planned to achieve our goals by changing the way achieved those goals.

Another very important part of our business plan that requires us to be proactive is safety.  YKK does all it can to make sure we have the tools, policies and training in place to insure we all go home to our families in the same condition as we arrived to work.  Proactively planning for safety requires us to predict what could go wrong and develop methods, tools or processes to reduce or eliminate that risk.  While it is impossible to eliminate all potential for all accidents in a manufacturing environment, it is possible to greatly reduce the risks through proactive preparation.  “See something, say something” is a popular proactive slogan at airports and many public places these days and it also relates to safety at the workplace.  If we all proactively contribute to safety by reporting or identifying potential risk, we could get very close to a zero potential for accidents.

Being Proactive does not eliminate events but it does prevent them from being catastrophic. Good, successful companies do this well and you can see it in their business philosophy and fundamental behaviors.

Proactive Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

Tom Munns
Director- Field Technology Services
YKK (U.S.A.) Inc.