TOMODACHI Alumni attended 27th U.S.-Japan Council Business Advisory Board (BAB) Meeting
On May 27, 2022, the 27th U.S.-Japan Council Business Advisory Board (BAB) Meeting was held online. USJC welcomed keynote speaker Masayuki Sarumaru, Chairman of YKK Corporation, who delivered a presentation titled “YKK’s Philosophy Management.” Over 30 business leaders from diverse fields including four TOMODACHI Initiative alumni gathered to learn more about YKK’s management principles, which have been crucial to the success of the company’s global business development.
Chairman Sarumaru opened his keynote address by introducing his company to the audience and highlighting the history of the fastening business. YKK has continuously set industry standards for quality, innovation and sustainability in the production of zippers as well. In addition, they have produced a wide range of architectural products. Chairman Sarumaru acknowledged YKK’s Sustainability Vision 2050 as one of the challenges the company currently faces. In an effort to achieve a sustainable society, YKK has introduced eco-friendly plastics including plastics derived from both plants and marine-based materials. Chairman Sarumaru concluded his presentation by asserting that although YKK’s products may be small, “we can make a big difference with products for our customers.”
Following the presentation, Chairman Sarumaru received many questions from the audience, including TOMODACHI alumni. He took the time to answer each question and engage with the audience as he would with his employees during a roundtable discussion.
Gen Shinkawa, alumnus of the Building the TOMODACHI Generation: Morgan Stanley Ambassadors Program, posed the question “Would it be possible to know what types of strategies YKK uses for idea generation?” to which Mr. Sarumaru answered “One is to listen to the voice of our customers; YKK handles a variety of industries, including sportswear, industrial products, bags, and so on. Therefore, we often hear requests from customers who have ideas for various products and ask us “Can you make a product like this?” These voices help us to create new products. Secondly, YKK conducts joint research with universities around the world, and whenever a new technology is developed, we integrate it with our products, which lead to new product ideas.”
Miyuki Ikeno, alumna of the TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program, commented “His speech gave me some tips to work towards and reminded me of how important corporate culture is.”