Production Department, Plant Manager Joined 2009
Maeda joined the company after engaging in the production of fixtures* in his previous job. In his current position as plant manager, he is supervising Plant #1 of Sapporo Head Office and Plant #2. He is playing a leading role in ensuring the high quality of Senkosha.
(*) Fixtures: Fittings used in shops for selling and displaying merchandise
At our plants, several projects are simultaneously ongoing, and thus our schedule is consistently tight. My role is to assign tasks to craftspeople according to the delivery time and level of difficulty of work, to ensure that high-quality work is consistently delivered. This requires a high level of skill on the part of the workers. However, I expect them to have a certain level of passion for the work before they acquire skills and techniques. I myself had confidence in my skill level since I had experience in fixtures production, but when I joined the company I marveled at the levels of skills and quality of products. When I realized that I could be even better, my work changed. At the plants, each worker is exploring a level of quality that can meet the quality standard of the Senkosha brand.
Several years ago, we introduced state-of-the-art processing equipment, which has enabled us to perform elaborate processing that used to take days of manual work in as little as several minutes to less than an hour. The equipment has contributed to a substantial reduction in work time and overtime at the plants. Yet to create products that inspire people who see and touch them, human sensitivity is necessary for the final touches. Therefore, we place top priority on the development of human resources.
Sometimes, we intentionally assign a challenging task to younger workers. At first, they make a lot of mistakes. We get them to determine the cause of their mistakes by themselves in order to encourage their growth in such a way that they can benefit from their mistakes and transform them into assets. I demonstrate my skills from time to time, though I don’t give detailed instructions. This is because I believe that providing them with an opportunity to think and work independently will help them develop their ability to show initiative.
Since all our products are made to order, you wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking that our production site is antithetical to the term “productivity.” I used to think it myself. However, as our efficiency has been improving with the introduction of a range of equipment, I have started to think there is still room for improvement. We are planning to implement new initiatives including the standardization of techniques and the development of manuals, which have been considered difficult to introduce to made-to-order production.
We will endeavor to realize a plant capable of producing the finest quality products, which no other company in Japan can make, while achieving far greater efficiency.
I consciously spend a great deal of time communicating with workers at the plants. We talk about work as well as about leisure and hobbies. I value a relationship that allows us to talk candidly about anything. Being a father of two elementary school children, I go to a nearby park with my family on days off. Since we like outdoor activities, we enjoy camping with our friends’ families in summer.