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YKK Fundamental Behavior 17 – Practice blameless problem-solving

October 14, 2022
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YKK Fundamental Behavior 17 - Practice Blameless Problem Solving - Alejandro Obregon

The easiest thing to do within the organization when there are problems is to point the finger at a person or a team as the cause, but it is better to assume the shared responsibility that we all have for everything to work correctly. Looking for culprits drains energy that could be used for problem solving. It is better to review in detail the factors that are related to why things did not go well and work on solutions.

In this Fundamental Behavior message, I will give my point of view focused on the sales area regarding the first years post pandemic. After COVID, every industry in the world was affected to varying degrees. The textile industry was greatly affected—we saw how big brands went into Chapter 11, jeans manufacturing customers started to produce items such as mouth covers or body bags in order not to close their plants and/or stop their productions. After the first months, the textile industry reactivated quickly which caused an impact on YKK: lack of raw material to produce our products. Customers and brands quickly began to put on pressure to obtain products from YKK, the sales team had a big challenge, explaining to customers the situation, trying not to lose participation and more importantly not to affect customers.

At that time it was not useful to look for a culprit about the lack of raw materials. Now the main thing was to give a solution to our customers, from offering partial delivery of orders or substitute products in order not to harm our customers.

I remember in a business review meeting in Mexico I met Mr. Jim Reed, and in talking about this situation, he gave me some great advice that I applied with top customers in YKK: The solution was to make a Teams meeting with the client’s staff together with YKK staff where they could review the offer of substitutes, our offer of partial deliveries, negotiate the best delivery date and most importantly the client could see how YKK staff made up of production, sales and customer service personnel joined together to solve the current problem. These were 10 minute meetings where the client could feel that YKK was focused on solving problems, analyzing the situation and offering everything that was within our reach to solve the problem. In these meetings with the customer we left aside the search for who was to blame for the situation, and we joined customer – YKK as business partners to solve problems and strengthen our business relationship.

Alejandro Obregon
New Business Development Manager
YKK Mexicana S.A. de C.V.