2017-07-10 Issue 5 Fundamental Behavior 4 – Make Quality Personal.
Anyone who has worked with our customers at YKK or YKK AP knows how critically important quality is. In almost every instance, our YKK and YKK AP products are components of something having considerably more total value than the cost of our product.
But in every instance, the quality of the expensive product the consumer purchases depends upon the quality of our product. Because of our brand reputation for the highest quality, our larger customers often advertise that they have carefully selected YKK or YKK AP products to enhance their product’s value.
Quite a few decades ago, I was responsible for the testing lab at YKK Macon. Notice that I didn’t say I was responsible for YKK Macon’s quality because no one person can achieve the level of quality we need to keep our customers happy. It truly takes 100% of our entire team to achieve perfect quality. When people would ask me what percentage of defects we allowed in our production system, my standard response was, “Any measurable percentage of bad quality is unacceptable to our customers and to us.” If our customer opens a box of zippers and finds one or two defective zippers, the customer will probably panic and call somebody from YKK in for an explanation, along with assurances that the problem has been corrected. And our customers expect the same high standard of quality in our architectural products.
It’s important that we all know how the products we are making in Macon, Dublin, Anaheim, Canada, El Salvador, Colombia, and everywhere else, are used. It’s important because we need to remember always that we’re playing an important role in the creation of something of high value, such as a space suit, an automobile, an expensive jacket, or a high-rise condominium or an office building. We need to keep the ultimate product and the ultimate consumer in mind.
We all have experienced the deep satisfaction and the incredible pride that comes from knowing that we put all of ourselves into something and gave our best effort. And of course, our probability of success is greater when we truly commit ourselves. Imagine the potential of a team of people who all share a high level of commitment to quality. There is great power in that collective effort. In such a setting, that quality mindset can become contagious.
Our second Core Value is “Insist on quality in everything.” So the quality mindset can and should be employed in all aspects of our business. Examples might include how we communicate (personal, phone, electronic) with others, how we produce and package a product, and how we administer policies and procedures.
I hope that when we discuss Fundamental Behavior #4, “Make Quality Personal,” we will think about the broadest possible application in our lives: quality in everything that we do.
Chairman and CEO
YKK Corporation of America