The final presentation of the 202nd term of the F-Ken was held remotely the other day.
Fourteen young people presented the results of their on-site improvement practices.
I was happy to see that everyone reported in a lively and energetic manner.
This is the third time we have held the event remotely, and each time we have improved the operation little by little.
As the environment changes, we respond flexibly to it.
This is also the spirit of F-Ken.
What is F-ken (Foreman Training)
I knew the name before I came to Sumitomo Riko.
Because I had heard from one of our customers, a car manufacturer, that "Sumitomo Riko has a historic training program for young employees called F-Ken (Foreman Training), which is wonderful.
The program was originally started in 1976 as a way to promote thorough quality control in a concrete way.
In addition, it serves as a step for participants to grow into leadership positions.
This is an activity that has continued uninterrupted for over 40 years.
We have been implementing Kaizen activities mainly at production sites, transcending departmental boundaries and involving even partner companies as well.
The first step is to leave your own department for four months and form a group of about three people.
And the group will then identify problems at sites where company-wide improvements are needed, try to come up with the countermeasures as a group, and collect data through trial and error to make optimal kaizen plans.
By working on Kaizen activity away from the normal work of your own department, you can learn new perspectives and develop companionship consciousness with other members of the same term and group.
Actually, Managing Executive Officer Waku, who was also present at the event, said, "I also experienced the F-Ken in the 86th term, and I am still getting along with my group mates from that time.
I believe that having a network of people, whether it is your peers at the same time you joined the company, F-ken group mates, or those you personally interact, will greatly expand the scope of your thinking and work.
As for myself, the friends I made in various departments and companies have become a great asset to me today.
As for reference, since 1976, 4,770 employees (the cumulative total) have completed the program and returned to their own departments to make use of their experience by helping to improve their own departments.
I would like to see the current situation change rapidly through the effective use of this F-Ken.
You on your own identify areas for improvement, come up with countermeasures, try them out, measure their effectiveness, and further you find the hint for the next kaizen.
When this cycle is able to rotate autonomously at each site, within each department, and each person, people will grow and the company will grow.
I really hope that you will continue this great activity, and would like you to actively incorporate information from outside the company to further improve your capability.