First time in 5 years

I visited Brazil for the first time in 5 years.

I wasn’t really excited about the flights that were almost 24 hours one way, but It’s always a great pleasure to see customers on the opposite side of the Earth.

One of the customers we visited purchased our Flexo Folder Gluer “Falcon” this April.

We’ve only worked together for a little over 6 months, but they’re operating the machine really well as if they have been for a long time! 
We’re so glad our machine can be a part of the company’s growth in the years ahead.

Another customer, in contrast, has been a customer of ours for a few decades now. 

From a new machine that was installed 2 years ago, 

To a more than 25-year-old machine, they’re using a wide range of machines from different generations.

The owner of the company told me, “Our partnership started in our father’s generation. It will surely be passed down to our sons one day”.

There’s nothing like having a customer like that in the farthest place in the world.

New partnership that has just begun, and the long-term one that I hope will continue for many more generations to come.

It was absolutely worth the painful flights!


Contents Protection vs. Productivity

Another ISOWA Flexo Folder Gluer ‘Ibis’ is about to be shipped out to the customer.

Our engineers are adding the final touches on some boxes.

Like this,

You can see uneven flaps. Why do they make a box like this?

You’ll see the answer when you try assembling it.

If a box has four even flaps, it would look like this.

And if you take a look inside,

You have an uneven bottom.

Well, what’s wrong with it? It’s just a box, right?

But, if you put something fragile in it, it could get damaged by the edges.

What happens when you have longer inner flaps, then?
That explains the weird appearance, doesn’t it?

It might look strange at first, but when it’s folded into a box, uneven flaps fit together perfectly making the bottom totally flat and eliminating the risk of damaged contents!

One problem though.
There’s the law of nature that complicates things.

The more irregular a sheet looks, the harder it is to run on machines.

It’s always a trouble in terms of productivity.

Or it was until ISOWA’s patented technology called “Edge Opener” came out.

With ‘Ibis’, the box quality and productivity are not incompatible anymore!


What’s inside the tent

A tent appeared inside our shop out of the blue.
This is not the first time, though. It shows up every 3 years.

You can see something sticking out of the tent.
If you take a look inside…


It’s a huge roll!

Yes. It’s a time for certificate renewal for ASME.
For those who are not familiar, the purpose of this is to have experts evaluate how we manufacture pressure vessels for our machines and to prove that we’re capable of making ones that meet the safety and quality standards.

Without this, we cannot deliver our machines to America, even if customers want it. That’s why this is such an important event for us.

But what do they inspect exactly?

They check literally everything, from the manuals that we use, to how the manufacturing process is actually done.

And after two whole days of assessment, we successfully got the recommendation for the certificate!

With the renewal approved, we’ll be delivering safe and reliable machines to you like we always have!


What a machine sitting in the dark tells you

“Bon” holiday season is over in japan.
For those who don’t know, Bon is a one-week holiday in the middle of August when the spirits of our ancestors are believed to come back to our world.

Right before the holiday is when you can see our factory full of machines ready to be delivered.

The picture above is of a corrugator doublefacer for a Japanese customer.
Before shipping it out, we had the customer over for pre-shipment check-up.

“Not to mention the machine is great, what impressed me the most is the way your people relate to us, and how committed they are to making good machines”, says the customer.

Talking to them, I was thinking back to the time I had just joined the company.

Back then, assembly was always behind the schedule.
Shipment date was approaching, but machines were far from ready.

Some of us would even have to pull an all-nighter getting the machine ready for shipment.

This was so common back in the day that nobody didn’t even seem to care.

Then I started corporate cultural reform.

Fortunately, I haven’t seen it in a long time now. If you go to our shop past 5pm, it’s likely lights are all out and no one is there, just like when I went to take the picture above.

This is not because we don’t have as many orders as we used to. As a matter of fact, we have been at the full capacity for many years.

Yet we’ve become able to make better machines more stably and more quickly.   

Corporate culture may seem to have nothing to do with machine assembly.
But, believe it nor not, it’s what made this all possible.


How About a Meeting Room Like This?

We have renovated one of the meeting rooms into a traditional Japanese style one.

Looks cozy, doesn’t it?

Hung on the wall is a calligraphy work from my wife, which says ‘culture’ in Japanese ‘Kanji’ characters.

The reason I chose this word is because I wanted this room to be filled with interactions that could help to create the best workplace culture in the world.


Another fascinating feature of this room is that it’s made partly of corrugated sheets!


Look at the table! 

They’re also put under the tatami mats as a foundation.

Curious what it’s like having a meeting in here?

You’re always welcome if you’re interested!  (Hopefully interested in our machines, too!)


Workplace Culture at ISOWA

It was almost 5 years ago when a grad student from Tokyo first visited us.

She was studying organizational development, and she got so interested in us that she’s been visiting for research every several months ever since.

Her research is normally conducted through an interview with our members.

For today’s session, we had Mt. T of Accounting tell his story at ISOWA.

And it was truly mind-blowing!

He started with a story from high school,
“The best team I’ve ever been a part of was a football team at high school.”

“We were good friends and had a firm trust relationship with one another, but that doesn’t mean we were kind to each other all the time.

Actually, it was the opposite. We were never easy on mistakes teammates make. There was always a certain degree of intensity that often caused conflicts. Yet, we believed in each other.

That culture is what I liked the most about the team.
And I chose ISOWA because I felt there was similar workplace culture here.”

When he started working two years ago, he realized the relationships were good but his accounting team could still collaborate better both internally and externally.

I’m not going into the further details here, but he said to the world that he was going to be the one who will be making a change necessary for the better.

All this came from a guy who everyone else thought was quiet and shy!
It was definitely the best story telling of ISOWA’s history.

Team culture of Accounting may sound irrelevant to customers out there.

But I do believe the dots will somehow connect.
That’s what fostering better workplace culture is all about!


Seasonal Tradition at ISOWA

Beginning of May is one of the biggest holiday seasons in Japan called “Golden Week”.

As you may know, many of our employees don’t get to actually take time off for national holidays, because we have to use that time to install machines while operation stops at customer plants.

In fact, 146 of us were assigned for 12 installations this Golden Week.

But, this year’s Golden Week was a little different.

This year the holidays were extended even longer to 10 straight days due to the imperial succession.

Some of the machines don’t need that much time to be installed, so installation staff could spend half of the holidays with their families.

After some relaxing time for everyone, all the installations were completed safely and successfully.

Our employees and their families get to have a good time together.
And happy employees do a great job and make customers happy.

This is how thing are supposed to be.
That’s what ISOWA’s credo “Work for the happiness of our beloved families” is all about.

I wish one day every holiday season would be just like this for us!