YSK, which is attracting attention from all over the world, was also featured in the overseas media.
“The strength of manufacturing is all about the resourcefulness of the Japanese people. Many people talk about technology as being a key component of our manufacturing success, but I believe that nourishing the needs of our employees is vital.”
It’s crucial for many businesses to work towards tech-integrated goals such as Society 5.0, by combining automation with artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. But for the leading firms at the heart of this revolution, the most important ingredient is the people working to make it happen. Japanese firms have long prided themselves on setting high quality standards, and a strong and equal workforce is needed to meet them.
That is the experience of engineering firm YSK, where president Naoto Ishikawa has made this a priority – and is reaping the rewards. “We can say that the quality of our products is equal to the equality of our human resources.
Because we take care of our employees and their needs, they are able to pass that along to our customers through their work.” Ishikawa said: “One of the areas that we seek to improve in particular is that of an equal-opportunity workforce and women’s empowerment. Compared to many Western nations where women have gained the opportunity to move into male-dominated industries and greater managerial positions, Japan is still quite far behind,” Ishikawa added. Specializing in industrial components such as shafts and screws, YSK has a key player in the field for 56 years. The company is now combining its experience and innovation to take advantage of the current trends towards robotics and the subsequent rise in demand for the type of precision products it creates. Another successful tactic has been developing partnerships in China to counter the challenges of lower-cost rivals. YSK will be sure to take its distinctive commitment to quality with it - and its people-based approach ensures it will stay ahead of the competition.
While many regional competitors replicate Japan’s manufacturing process with lower quality standards, YSK is maintaining its status as a leader in shaft manufacturing, providing high-quality products to the world.
A small firm established over 50 years ago, YSK is still mixing it with the biggest players in the linear motion technologies sector. Its secret? Ease of use.
Achieving comfort for those tasked with assembling YSK shafts is vital.
As company president Naoto Ishikawa explains, this is done by “exploiting the exact tolerance of the material and applying that consistently to all shafts”.
As for facing up to Japan’s well- documented demographic issues (with the aging population prompt- ing a contraction in the workforce), Mr. Ishikawa has a clear solution: “At YSK, we are thinking about how women can contribute to changing the way of thinking and doing things in Japan, where busi- ness is male dominated.”
At the same time, the concept of monozukuri will be essential in maintaining high levels of quality in production across existing fac- tories in Japan and Thailand.
According to Mr. Ishikawa, work- ers “should think about how our products will be judged by our customers, and that we need to develop them so that they will be praised by users”.
While COVID-19 has impacted YSK’s international strategy, the firm has pledged both to continue making high-quality shafts at af- fordable prices and to enter into a joint business venture with a Chi- nese firm. Key for Mr. Ishikawa is ensuring that “industry leaders” across the globe employ YSK sliding shafts.
Employee satisfaction is just as important, however. To this end, Mr. Ishikawa hopes one day to build a new company headquarters that YSK workers can be proud of.
“We tell our workers, whether in Japan or Thailand, to be proud of implementing monozukuri, which is the bedrock of the manufacturing process.”