Top page > KASEI-JIN > File.5 Mitsuko Kamiya

Improving efficiency and cutting costs: the importance of rules

今までの経歴と、現在の仕事は何ですか。
I have worked in the Packaging Division since joining the company over 20 years ago and am therefore intimately acquainted with all aspects of the product-packaging process. During my 20s, my responsibilities included: operating production line equipment and training other workers; quality control of the finished product; and devising ways to improve production system efficiency and reduce costs. Working as a line honcho for over 10 years, I experienced all aspects of manufacturing, from skin care to makeup products, giving me thorough knowledge of the fundamentals of manufacturing.
In my 30s, I took on a leadership role and for the last 5 or 6 years, including time off for maternity leave, I have been the leader of various groups. Right now, as the Skin Care Products Group leader in the Packaging Division, I am the area General Manager for over 40 employees. While my role has changed several times, the manufacturing focus of my work has remained constant throughout my entire time with the company.
これまでの仕事の成果を教えてください。
One of my main business contributions has been improving manufacturing productivity through various cost-reduction measures. In order to find more efficient ways to work, you have to analyze every single action during production and eliminate inconsistent and wasteful processes. At the same time, you also have to think about the work environment. You have to consider various aspects, such as where materials should be placed, which hand workers will use to pick up the materials, how actions should be performed to maintain a certain speed, the best way to work to ensure quality as well as speed, and how inconsistencies arising from the changing of workers can be eliminated. These may seem like minor details, but considering all of these points is how you ultimately ensure that everyone works as efficiently as possible. Reducing production costs is a constant challenge for manufacturing companies. POLA is no different. It’s something we are always thinking about.
達成した時の心境や、苦労したエピソードは。
The Packing Division is huge—we are home to over 150 employees. Every year, we set our division targets in coordination with the company’s overall corporate strategy, but making sure that all employees understand all of the new measures takes a great deal of time and effort. We try to break everything down and explain the details as clearly as possible. Sometimes, we have to go over everything several times, but it is worth it—when the whole division pulls in the same direction, a huge amount of energy is generated and this power is what allows us to achieve our goals. Focusing everyone’s energy gives us a sense of unity and the struggles fade away. Results are bound to follow. This approach takes time, but also gives a sense of accomplishment.
仕事で大事にしていることまたはモットーは。
The Japanese saying with the meaning, “Don’t forget your initial enthusiasm” really resonates with me. During my training and early years after joining the company, I learned many things from supervisors and more experienced colleagues. At that time, I was full of straightforward enthusiasm; I wanted to absorb everything and get to grips with the job as quickly as possible, and I was not embarrassed to ask about things I didn’t understand. I make an effort to always maintain that level of enthusiasm. At the same time, you have to be careful that becoming familiar with the job does not lead to arrogance. I still have much to learn. It is important to me to continue to approach my work conscientiously and with humility.
大変なところ、やりがいを教えてください。
Products go through several steps to ensure their quality. This process requires work rules. Production sites have many rules to ensure that the work processes can be performed mistake-free by anyone. These rules are developed over many years while considering their purpose, immediate and long-term practicality, simplicity, and generalization from within one group to across the entire area. It is not easy to develop rules that can be practically implemented and the process requires trial periods, countless revisions, and time. Furthermore, instilling and upholding these rules among workers can be challenging. However, it is these work rules that ensure constant quality, costs, and delivery.
Manufacturing is a living thing. Production status is always changing from moment to moment, and we have to be able to respond to these changes. The rules also have to change accordingly. Despite the volume of rules, I find it rewarding to keep them fresh and up-to-date through continuous review and revision.
必要なスキルや技は何ですか。
Being in a leadership position means you have the responsibility of managing people, which are both the most valuable and the most complicated management resource.
First, I make sure that people are assigned to jobs that match their skill level and give them on-the-job training. Praise is also important. When things don’t go as planned or look like they are moving off-target, we look again at how they are carrying out their work and I advise them on how to change course. Management ability is required to provide people with the space to display their individual abilities and to support their personal growth.
It is also very important to be available for team members to come to you for advice, to communicate with them enough through meetings and in other situations, and to fully understand their personalities.
仕事で使う道具や愛用品はありますか。
First, a notepad. When investigating failures during production, I head for the place where the problem actually occurred and interview the worker responsible for that part of the process. I note down the necessary information to summarize later. Sometimes, more than one failure occurs at a time, so I always carry my notepad with me to jot things down so I don’t forget anything.
My other essential item is a calculator. I walk the production line with the calculator in one hand to check how production is progressing. I calculate things like whether production is moving according to schedule, how long the lag is if there are delays, how long it will take to get back on track, and the defective rate.
Neither of these are specialized tools, but they have been invaluable to me since joining the company.
目標、または夢はありますか。

My current goal is to eliminate as many of the failures caused by human error as possible. No matter how efficiently we work, a failure negatively impacts business. It is essential to avoid a knock-on effect to customers.
Jobs must be performed according to the rules. This sounds like common sense, but its importance cannot be overemphasized. When a failure occurs because a team member does not follow the rules due to a lack of time, being too busy, or making assumptions, they will certainly regret it later. I want to make sure that the rules are followed to avoid these regrets.
At POLA Chemical Industries, Inc, we have a ‘Code of Quality’, which expresses in moral terms our common practices regarding product quality. This document contains the following item: “Work based on an understanding of the goals”. Such understanding allows the work to be internally driven. I want all of my team members to work according to these words and to continue aiming to eliminate failures from the manufacturing process. That is my dream.

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File.6 Jurlique International Pty. Ltd Technical Development Group
Kazunori kobayashi

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