Recently, I attended the ceremony where President's Awards were presented for kaizen (improvement) proposals.
The Employee Kaizen Proposal Activity Program awards our workers every time they contribute to improving our business performance or revitalizing our workplaces by performing kaizen activities based on their own creative ideas. This program strategically aims to incite our frontline employees to aggressively conduct kaizen activities.
The 2017 President's Awards were given out to the top seven kaizen proposals that had passed all the selection procedures carried out throughout our company-first at each workplace and then in each district. This fiscal year's winners had been chosen from over 50,000 proposals.
Although at the ceremony the award winners were nervous and had stern looks on their faces, at the subsequent meal party they were in a quite relaxed mood. At the party, each of the winners told me of the particular creative efforts they had made with their kaizen activities and the hardships they had faced regarding them. They expressed to me the following thoughts: "Once I was assigned to a position of supervising other workers, I was finally able to see what actually should be improved" "I felt that somehow I would like to improve things that I myself had great trouble with."
One of the priority lines of effort of our mid-term management plan "VISION 2022," which began this fiscal year, pledges "Enhancement of Manufacturing Capabilities" and one of the means of accomplishing it is that we pursue "Create 'strong factories' by continuous improvement (kaizen)."
I very much hope that this year's winners will continue to lead other workers in each of their workplaces, to train and nurture the next generation of talent, and to actively engage in creating vigorous and lively workplaces.