Remote Installation?!

Hope everyone reading this is doing well during the Covid-19 pandemic.

At ISOWA, some of the installations and repair works have been put on hold.

A machine in the picture above was one of them. But the customer needed the machine to start running by the end of June because of the terms on the subsidy program they were applying for.

As the situation with the Covid-19 kept getting worse, we couldn’t send our people from Japan. But we came to a point where the customer couldn’t wait any longer.

We decided to do something we’ve never done before, completing the installation without sending any supervisors from our side.

We had many more online meetings than usual to make sure that our American staff knew everything there was to know.

In Japan, an assembly mechanic who would’ve been there made an installation manual (which turned out really useful!).

Other mechanics came to office earlier so that they could supervise the installation via skype.

Some electricians supported Mr. F at the site through a lot of emails during the weekends.

Because of everyone’s support, all the installation work was completed on June 29th.

The machine is running just fine like it was installed the normal way.

We have some more overseas installations coming up.

We don’t know what’s going to happen next with the Covid-19, but we will always find a way to keep your business going while making sure that everyone stays safe and healthy!


Retirement After Half a Century

Mr.Y who has been working for ISOWA for more than 50 years just retired.

He was one of the most skillful field engineers that ISOWA has ever had. He was an absolute expert especially on the corrugator side.

Since it was his last day, I asked him a question I’ve always wanted to ask.

“Why did you move to After-Sales Service Department?”

“When I started out here at ISOWA, I assembled machines.

About 10 years into the career, there was a time when I was asked to help a repair work at a customer site.

Honestly, I wasn’t fully excited about it, but when it was finished, the customer came to me, and kept saying “Thank you!” until we left.

That is when something changed in my mind.
That was a kind of feeling that I’d never felt in my career as an assembly mechanic. 
I’d never felt that I wanted to work as a field engineer because I thought it was just about working long hours under a lot of pressure.

But I realized there was something else to it.”

After that moment, he has dedicated 40 years to serving customers on the frontline.

It may not happen so often seeing someone work in one place for more than half a century, especially outside Japan.

Undoubtedly, people like him are our most valuable asset.
At ISOWA more and more field engineers like him are growing.

Thank you again Mr.Y for your hard work and dedication!


Let your people take care of your business

At the beginning of May, we have one of the biggest holidays in Japan.

Right before those holidays, our shop usually gets full of machines to be shipped out.
In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year was not an exception.

One of those machines was newly-developed one.

As the ship-out date approached, the project team decided to divide themselves into two groups, and start working in shifts so that they could work on the machine literally all-day.

I honestly didn’t know if it was a good idea.

The machine looked good enough to me, and I was concerned about their health. I had to worry about their families as well, especially since some of them have a baby at home.

So we talked, but they were so insistent and determined to deliver a machine in the best possible shape.

After a week of working in shifts, the machine was shipped out, and now the machine has started running at the customer site.

Because of their pre-installation efforts, things are going well.

It’s just like how they say, as a leader, a part of your job is to let your people do what they are really passionate about, and they will take care your business.

Now that the machine has almost been taken care of, hopefully they will come back to their families soon!


Essential Business Amid Pandemic

Hope everyone reading this is doing fine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These days, we hear a lot about essential businesses/non-essential businesses.
Essential businesses refer to ones that our day-to-day lives rely too much on, such as banks, hospitals and supermarkets etc.

Corrugated industry is not as obvious, but it certainly plays an essential role in delivering things to people in need.

As a matter of fact, corrugated box manufacturers have been designated as an essential business.
And if they are essential businesses, we are too.

As in many other countries, the state of emergency has been declared in Japan.
Some of us had already started working remotely before all this happened.
Fortunately, 80% of our people drive to work, and that makes social distancing easier for us than most of Japanese people who commute in a packed train.
We are taking a lot more measures so that none of us will be infected.

The pandemic has damaged the economy in many parts of the world.
If you look at the corrugated industry, as people spend more time at home, the demand for corrugated boxes for certain items has increased.

That is why we have to make sure that their machines keep running.  We have urgent repair works at customers that cannot be postponed.

On the other hand, we’ve got some of the overseas installations on hold. We do appreciate your patience.
We will do everything we can to balance our own safety and support for our customers.

Hopefully things will get back to normal soon. Till then, please stay safe.


New Machine Being Installed!

When I put a picture of a machine here, it’s normally our machine. But not this time.

We’ve purchased a multi-tasking machine made by Mazak, one of the biggest machine tools manufactures in Japan, and the installation work is well underway.

I was impressed with the machine itself, but what surprised me more was how many of us were there.

Although it was a holiday, there were a lot of our people who were excited and curious enough to come see it.

Even a Mazak’s sales person told me that she’d never seen this many people at one installation.

Another picture with soon-to-be operators of this machine.

Our corrugating machines consist of tens of thousands of parts.
It’s those parts’ quality that eventually determines the quality of the final product.

Although it might be almost invisible, I believe this investment will make a difference for our customers!


Milestone Recognition

Like I mentioned before, 2020 is ISOWA’s 100th anniversary. We have a lot of exciting anniversary events coming up.

As a part of it, we’re making a short film for milestone recognition at AICC, The Independent Packaging Association.


It’s such an honor to be celebrated as one of the few companies that have served in the corrugating industry for a hundred years.

We started off as a small local engineering shop. I’m not even sure if we can call it a machine that we made then, but one thing that I’m sure of is that we wouldn’t be here without it.

I would love to tell more of our stories here, but I think I should save it for the AICC gathering.

I hope as many of you reading this as possible will be there to celebrate together!


Happy New Year 2020

Happy belated New Year! I hope 2020 is treating you all well.
I’d like to have a quick look back at what happened at the turn of the year at ISOWA.

Santa Claus came to ISOWA! This is the first Santa Claus I’ve ever seen at the office.
Some people were just surprised and didn’t know what to do. Others were so excited that they asked him to take a selfie. At least we all had a little good time.
Thanks for the surprise visit!

Now this is something more customary.
Every year we celebrate our people who have turned 20. In Japan, when you turn 20, you are legally recognized as an adult.
Good luck with your new stage of life!

Lastly, I received Business Person Award hosted by a Japanese newspaper company.
I’m so honored, but I couldn’t have done it by myself. I’d like to dedicate this award to my team, my family and everyone that has been a part of my life.

We’re certainly getting off to a good start.
Hope I’ll be seeing as many of you reading this as possible this year!