Fundamental Behavior 4 – Make Quality Personal
The first thing that comes to mind as soon as I see the word “quality” in the title is to talk about our products and the amazing reputation they have worldwide. We are certainly very proud of it, but quality goes much deeper. It is also one of our core values.
I grew up in Lima, Perú in a very athletic family. My father had played soccer professionally at a young age. I tend to look at life and compare it to sports because it’s how it relates to me in most situations. I cannot even remember at what age the question “Is this my best work” came to mind. It had to have been very early. I think I’m not alone in admitting it is something we all ask ourselves often, if not daily.
Early on I learned that not everything goes as planned. Not every game is won. Not every goal is achieved even if you are trying your best. The usual cliché answer is “We’ll try harder next time.” I did not realize it then, but when I reflect on my youth, I was a very analytical kid. Instead of spending hours just playing harder, I always tried to find answers of why it did not work, what I need to do to improve, and then spent my time trying to develop a skill or work on a certain strategy with my teammates. I was spending quality time in trying to improve myself to help the team succeed.
It is no surprise my childhood personality traits lead to an engineering career. I spent most of my career at YKK in Research and Development and being analytical and inquisitive has been crucial. Through the years we worked on many projects. Many ended up in home runs but many also came up short. And, not to get off the subject, but we work for an amazing company whose other core value is “Do not fear failure.” It all ties together. Not all games are won, not every goal is achieved. We analyze the whys, we learn from them, and we play the next game expecting excellence by giving our best work.
In the last few years my responsibilities evolved into Sales Engineering. I have the opportunity to travel the North and Central America region visiting customers with members from the Marketing and Sales team. Seeing my teammates interact with customers and engage with our Customer Service and Logistics has given me a different perspective of the meaning of quality. I’m proud to say YKK makes excellent products, but competition is fierce and they are always trying to find an edge to get our business. In many cases the difference in gaining or keeping an account is not our products but the “Quality Experience” we can provide as a company. Every department is part of the team – Production, Engineering, R&D, Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Logistics, and so on. Customers today expect an excellent YKK product and an excellent experience with YKK the company. All YKK employees in every single department represent the “Quality of YKK.”
Last year was a very tough year worldwide and we all hope 2021 will bring normality into our lives. Due to the circumstances we spend a lot of time alone away from people. It is a great opportunity to analyze the whys, learn from them, and play the next game expecting excellence by giving our best work.
Senior Manager – Sales Engineering Textile & Plastic Products
YKK (U.S.A.) Inc.