Our company carries out integrated manufacturing, from plastic extrusion molding to secondary processing. This year marks our 44th in business. We particularly focus on two-color molding and strive daily to improve molding techniques and processing technology in order to meet a variety of needs, including vending machine gaskets, frame materials for refrigerators, fluorescent lamp protection tubes for protective wire covers, and LED lighting covers.
We started out as a fiber manufacturing company called Takada Textiles, Co. Ltd. My grandfather founded the company, and I remember that he tried his hand at various other businesses. Perhaps he felt there was no future in the textile industry, but he placed an extruder in a corner of the factory, introduced two lines, and began producing bathtub lids. That was how our company got its start. Later, my father took over as president and installed more molding machines, while scaling down the textile factory. However, he was brought up in the textile industry and lacked experience working at other companies, so running a company in another industry was a constant struggle. Therefore, to gain some training, I was told to work for a while at another company in the same industry with which we also had business connections. I ended up working at an extrusion molding manufacturer in Nagoya for six years. Under the direction of that company’s president, I first worked for four years in manufacturing, then a year in accounting, and finally a year in sales. I feel that this experience formed my foundation as a manager.
The weakest area for small-to-mid-sized family businesses like ours is employee training. Employees who have worked for many years particularly have great pride in their work, and though each and every one possesses significant skills, it is hard for them to efficiently teach those skills to young employees. Though it is not wrong to think, “We learned the job by watching my superiors, so if young employees are motivated, they can also learn by watching,” aside from highly conscientious employees, it is difficult to keep most motivated. Increasingly, employees think it is acceptable to only do what they are told. Alarmed at this situation, I promoted the standardization of work, while resigning myself to resistance from seasoned employees who have a strong sense of pride in their work. I put together materials based on my own understanding, while affirming conventional methods that include manufacturing conditions, and steadily provided guidance to young employees. Perhaps the veteran employees also understood the point, but they were cooperative in the endeavor, as a result, there was a marked improvement in how fast the young employees developed.
I became president in November 2005 and next turned my attention to acquiring ISO 9001 certification. The aim was employee education. I became the management supervisor, put together members to promote it, and began taking action. While receiving guidance from a consultant, we succeeded in gaining certification in September 2007. We spend nearly every day holding discussions and preparing materials after our regular work was finished, but these members are now executives at our company and have become the driving force that propels our company.
When we increase our capabilities, we increase what we are capable of doing for others. Consequently, what we gain from others also increases. That is the theory of the equilateral triangle, something I heard once at a seminar I attended. Based on that theory, we will develop extrusion molding and processing technology to respond to the needs of a wide range of customers.
Giving form to vision, turning form into reality. Sogo Plastics strives to be a company trusted by all. That is our company’s management philosophy, and based on that philosophy, we give form (prototypes) to our customers’ vision (demands, designs) and turn that form into reality (mass production). Our company’s unlimited vision (goal) is to continue developing that process.