June 30, 2015,15:15 +0900(JST) There is No End to Improvement
On June 18, we held the awarding ceremony for the FY 2014 President's Awards for Improvement Proposals. In previous years, we had held this ceremony along with a small-group activities (called "Group Activities" at Sumitomo Electric) presentation event. This year, however, we held the ceremony on a different day from such a presentation event, allowing me more time to spend talking with each award recipient.
Last fiscal year, the number of proposals submitted to Sumitomo Electric and some group companies exceeded 50,000. In the field of manufacturing, improvement activities are essential in enhancing productivity, product performance and quality. This time, of all the submitted proposals, six were selected, and granted President's Awards.
▲I made comments on the proposals after presenting the awards
After the ceremony, each award recipient explained the details of the improvement that he had proposed. All the recipients said that they had carried out a process of fact observation conscientiously until finding the cause of the particular problem, and then repeated the process of formulating hypotheses and verifying them, before discovering the best improvement measure. Just as expected of proposals selected from among 50,000, all six proposals were filled with originality and ingenuity.
One of the recipients told me that he had hit upon a clever device when seeing a coworker washing an electric kettle. I feel that this is similar to the story of Newton's apple. If you always think about an issue desperately, you might be able to gain a hint to solving the issue from a phenomenon that may seem to be totally irrelevant at first glance. It seems that the deity of ideas loves those who can see a problem from a totally new perspective free from stereotypical thinking, and those who have an earnest determination to solve the problem.