Construction Kicks Into High Gear

Our New Plant Project has gotten into one of the most important phases in the whole construction process, “concrete placing”.

But, as you might know, it all depends on weather. If it rains, it has to be canceled.

Besides we hired 120 concrete mixer trucks for this.
Since it’s a lot of trucks, we had to book them a month ago.

Which means if it’s canceled, it’s not certain when we will ever get a booking again. It could be delayed by one month.

Ahead of this important two-day process, I could feel tension in the air.
To make matters worse, Mr. K who is in charge of the construction got an injury in his finger the day before.

When he went to the hospital, he was told that he needed an urgent surgery.

He refused to have a surgery because of the construction, but, in the end, the doctor persuaded him.

So he got a surgery first thing in the morning on the first day and rushed back to the site.
I didn’t think he would show up at first, but when he did, I felt happy we have this responsible person as a supervisor.

I will show you how things were during those two days.

Mixer trucks keep coming one after another.

They came from all over Japan. Literally all over Japan.

They even came from cities in the northernmost prefecture in Japan.

Then transfer the liquid concrete to pumping trucks.

It stretches out the long arms to pour it all over the place.

As the concrete pours, the workers even the ground.

When it begins to solidify, they start using a milling machine like this in interesting shoes!

It went on until late at night.

When it gets dark, the light went up.
It looks like a huge skating rink.

Fortunately, the construction was completed successfully under fine weather.

When I stopped by to see how it was going on the second day, I found out I wasn’t the only one who was too worried to just sit still at home.

Although it was Sunday, there were some people there including ISOWA staff.

Thank you to all involved in it! 


That’s so ISOWA!

We held a gathering for soon-to-be freshmen and their parents today.
We have been doing this every year for several years.

Why do we even do that?

Because our motto is “Work for your loving family”, and it’s essential for our families to understand what kind of company we are working for.
Honestly, every time I make a prayer in front of our guardian, the first thing that come into my mind is my own family. But employees and their families always come next.

That’s how important they are to me.

And there’s another reason.

I want to make them feel like,
“I didn’t know much of the company, but it obviously looks like a good one to work in!”

I wonder how that one went.

At the plant, we ran the machine so they could see it in action.

During the company tour, this year’s freshmen took turn in speaking a little about themselves.

They all did great. I’m truly proud of them.

Then we had a lunch break.

I talked to all of them during the break.

Like I have heard, the mother of Ms. Ko is such a huge fan of this blog.

She remembers the dumpling I introduced on this blog before and said she even gave it a try herself.

The parents of Mr. I whose older brother used to want to work in ISOWA told me that he is still jealous his brother get to be a member of us.

The mother of Mr. Im who was born and raised near ISOWA.
“I’ve known ISOWA for a long time now. I have seen the plant getting bigger and bigger.”

Seemed like Mr. Y’s parents who are engaged in the equipment business have some things in common with ISOWA.

“We always work on weekends and holidays for equipment installation. Just like ISOWA, I assume.”

The mother of Ms. K who, from what I’ve heard, drinks a lot.

“Word is that your daughter is such a drinker.”
“Oh my goodness. That is embarrassing!”

But she never denied that. She might’ve gotten that from her mother.

After the break, I asked the parents how they felt about ISOWA.

“The plant was beautiful.”

“I was overwhelmed by those huge machines”

“I could feel the good atmosphere.”

“I don’t think our son will be able to speak in front of audience like them.”

Don’t worry about a thing!
We all started off like your son and daughter.

During the event, I told them a story about one young employee.
He has done some amazing things for ISOWA, but he was just like today’s participants when he joined us.

I’m sure, in a few years, the stories of your son or daughter will be told.  

After we took a photo for the blog, I found out that two mothers’ faces were blocked by others.
“I feel bad for you. Why don’t we take it again with the three of us?”

As it turned out, one of them was just trying to keep a low profile on purpose.
But she ended up being high-profile like this!

Thanks for your cooperation!

I hope this will be an opportunity for them to get to know us and be ISOWA fans!


Something That Won’t Be Forgotten

Let me introduce some comments from the customers who just came to see our printer “Ibis” recently.

“I have seen Ibis 3 times now.
First time was more than 5 years ago. The gap accuracy wasn’t good enough.
And then, on the second time, a certain amount of improvement could be seen.
But this time, not to mention further improvement of the gap accuracy, presentation was well thought-out and really helped us understand the Ibis’ newest features.”

 “Ibis was more than I had expected.
I’m excited for what you will bring into the corrugated industry in the future.”

“I could feel the power and energy from the young generation. Every time I visit here, you never fail to impress me. ”

I think we are getting closer to the point where we can give customers more than “just machines”.

And today we had two other customers over.
It was the first time to ISOWA for one of them.

After the plant tour, they were wondering about our training system.

Then, timely, Ms. T who joined the company six months ago came into the room to serve tea to them.

“Who is your trainer?”

“I never felt like someone is training me. The atmosphere here makes me want to learn.”

“That’s why you all look energetic. That makes sense.”

“That’s how I like it.”

We had a conversation like that.

As long as we are a machine manufacturer, our priority should be “better quality” and “better service” for customers. If it isn’t, customers won’t choose us.

I have been believing that nurturing the corporate culture will grow employee’s independence and autonomy, which will help us create machines and service systems that others couldn’t even imagine.

This process will take a long period of time.
But this is what we have to get over to be able to offer our original value to customers.

I can’t do it by myself. I need everyone to follow me.

I’ve been trying for 17 years now.
It might be impossible to be completed by the time I retire.
I don’t even know where we will end up with this.

All we can do is keep believing and stick to it.

Through the recent developments of Ibis or new singlefacer, I get the feeling that we are on the right track.

We will keep the faith and keep going!



After visiting one of our customers, I headed to Osaka.

That’s where annual Corrugated Case Association Meeting is held.

At the meeting, Mr. M from Corrugator Section made a presentation about our very first i-Machine “Minglefacer (Mingle + Singlefacer)” in front of more than 300 customers.

Right before it started, he looked so nervous backstage.
So I came up to him for encouragement,

“It’s okay being nervous. Who wouldn’t be?”

I don’t know if I can call it “encouragement”. But, after all, the way he spoke was powerful and magnificent.

I’m sure you could tell he did great when you see the picture above.

The lights went down for the presentation, by the way, which made it really hard for me to take pictures.
I needed to position myself in the front row and give it all my techniques.

Thanks to my effort, he looks much better than he actually is!
It’s way better than the one Mr. I that I was there with took.

I raised the brightness level to make him look clear, which made the “i-Machine” logo too bright to see.

I had to photoshopped it in later.

I think I did a good job here.

Now I will tell you the key to take a perfect picture in dark places like this.
Of course, you can’t do it in the darkness. You have to be patient.

You wait until the presentation is over.

When it’s finished, the lights all come back up.

But that’s not the timing. There are still too many people there.

Then when is it?

The best moment is when everyone is gone.
You make the presenter go up to the stage again, pose him as if it’s right in the middle of the presentation.

Now all you have to do is take your time and find the best angle.

Do you understand?

  It's real magic!

Well, all joking aside, we got a lot of inquiries on “Minglefacer” after the presentation.

I hope this machine will be the i-Machine (loved-machine) for many customers.

Thank you Mr. M!


Heart-Warming Tasty Reward

Today was the monthly morning assembly day.

I don’t remember since when, but Mr. T of General Affairs Deparment being a MC has become a tradition in ISOWA’s internal gatherings like that.

But, at the end of the last month’s assembly, I told him to designate someone else who would take his place next month.

It was Mr. O that he chose.

He has never done it before, of course, but he was acting like he does it all the time.

Since today happens to be the day a 2-week college students internship program starts, it started off with introducing the participants.

After the introduction, we had a commendation for invention.

This time, among all the inventions, my idea was adopted.

It is written in the regulations that if one’s idea is adopted for patent application, that person gets a reward.

But a few weeks ago, Mr. S of Intellectual Property Section came to me,

“I really appreciate your applying but the regulations say the president cannot be paid.

I thought I had to give you something instead.”

With those words, he handed me a bottle of peach jam.

I have never had peach jam, but when I had it at home, I completely fell in love with its taste.

It is not too sweet and additive-free!

Every day when I wake up, I already can’t wait to have it.

Although he suggested I should finish it as soon as possible, it was too good to finish at once.

I brought it to the office with me in the morning so Mr. S could officially give it to me in front of everybody.

If that’s what I get every time I come up with an idea, nothing makes me more motivated.

Thanks again, Mr. S!


Three Generations in One Place

I took the first Shinkansen in the morning to the Kansai area.

I visited the customer where we just installed our machine.
They invited me to the start-up ceremony.

“You have done a great job for us. Thanks to your effort, the installation was finished one day earlier than planned,” the customer said.

Thank you all who worked hard and made that happen.

After the ceremony, the machine started running without any trouble.

While I was checking on the machine in the plant, Mr. Y from Osaka sales came up to me,
“They have three generations here.”

At first, I didn’t quite understand what he was talking about.

According to him,

It was about them.

They are all nameplates we paste on our machines.
I got to see all these nameplates at the same time in one machine line because they purchased our machines in three different time periods.

We started using the first one in the 70’s, then the second one took its place in early 90’s, and the last one is brand-new which you could only see on newly-installed machines.

Three of them in one place doesn’t happen often.

See if you can find them in the above picture.

Anyway, this story tells you how long one machine can be used, and that’s why we have to be responsible for the maintenance over generations to support the world’s physical distribution.

When ISOWA stops, the world stops.

That’s why “ISOWA keeps you going - always on the go!”



As some of you may know, our plant reconstruction project is now underway.

Prior to the construction of the new plant, we had Jichin-sai today (ground-breaking ceremony held before the construction of a new building).

The weather hasn’t been good lately but, fortunately, the heavy rain let up right before it started.

In spite of the continuous rain, the tent had been set up neatly, and every path to it was perfectly leveled.

We walked around the site (45m width x 56m length) and purified everywhere.

“It is definitely going to be a great plant.”

Thank you to Mr. Uenoyama, an architect designing the plant, for always being understanding and supportive.

Since it was Jichin-sai, in addition to the normal ceremony, there were some special rituals.

Unexpectedly, my role entailed a sickle!

I have never done anything like this before.
Besides nobody taught me how it was supposed to be done.

I tried, but obviously it wasn’t my cup of tea.
I apologize for my awkward, disturbing moves.

Joking aside, thank you to Mr. Chiba who has arranged everything for us.

This is where we will be creating new values for the corrugated industry.
I can’t wait to announce the completion of the construction.

Please look forward to it!


E-mail from the Site

Yesterday I attended anzen-kigan-sai (ritual to pray for the safety) and the machine launching ceremony at one of the customers where ISOWA’s machine had just been installed.

Then this morning I woke up to find that I got a message from one of the ISOWA’s staff who have been working hard there.

I’d like to share it with you.


Good morning.

First of all, I’d like to say thank you for joining us at the ceremony.
I am so relieved that we could successfully run the machine at the highest speed for demonstration.

And I’d also like to thank you for your warm encouragement.

Although there’s still a lot of work left to do, we had dinner together after work today.
I have attached a photo.

We all desperately want this project to succeed.

“I have never been more nervous than I was seeing the machine test run.
But I felt even more rewarded when it went well. And that gave me a huge sense of achievement. It was the best feeling ever.”

That’s what F said in the middle of the dinner.
And I believe all of us feel the same way.

I’m very lucky to get to work with these amazing people and to be part of this big project.

But then again, we still have a long way to go. We will work even harder to get satisfying results.

It would be great if you could visit again when it’s all completed.

Thank you again,


The above picture is the one he’s talking about.

A big thank you to everyone!

Actually, I’m the one who has to consider himself lucky to have you all.

And we will also try our best to make the customers feel lucky to have ISOWA!


Orange-colored Ibis

This is a printer that will be installed at a customer’s plant this month.
We had the customer over for pre-shipment inspection today.

It’s named Ibis.
We’ve sold more than 60 of these machines and this is the first time we have gotten an order for the orange version.

These days, customers tend to bring the most bothering orders they have to inspection.

Therefore, they don’t look like usual corrugated boxes that you would normally imagine with normal aspect ratio.

For today’s inspection, we had a long narrow one, flat one and big and tall one.

For instance, the flattest case at the front.
Its original figure looks like this.

Extremely long, isn’t it?

It’s much harder than you may think to produce these cases with quality.

That’s why customers want to test the machine quality with those tough orders.

Now you must be wondering how it went today.

I’ll let you take a closer look.

As you can see, it’s perfect.

That long narrow ones,

They ended up looking like this

Seeing the machine eject those quality cases, the customer kept saying,

“It’s truly amazing!”
“How is this possible?”
“I couldn’t ask for more.”

The joint gap of our printers has been improved dramatically over the past few years.
Thanks to that, we don’t have to make customers worried anymore and can even surprise them in a good way.

We will make sure that this will be the “i-Machine” for the customer.


Strategy Verbalizing Meeting

ISOWA’s strategy verbalizing meeting.
It’s gotten into the 3rd round.

The theme is how to realize our goal “ISOWA always keeps you going – always on the go!”

When we kicked it off, I asked them to promise me some things.

1.    Don’t try to find the right answer. There is no answer to this matter.

2.    Present your own opinion. Not from each department’s perspective.

3.    Listen closely to what other people say.

At first we tried to start by segmenting the customers but at some point we realized we didn’t even have to try.

Because we noticed that strategy is the only thing that segments the customers.
Customer segmentation isn’t even necessary when you have clear strategies.

Then the next question was,
Which segment do we need to target?

For this question, we all agreed on targeting Segment #2.
That’s when the discussion got excited.

Then we picked one company from the segment and discussed how to embody “ISOWA always keeps you going” for that particular customer.

We found another clue during this argument.
It’s the word “Tailor-made”

When we say, “ISOWA always keeps you going”, who are YOU?

It’s not just machines or plants or management.
It’s each customer who we’re trying to keep going.

That’s why we should stop looking at things from our own side and contemplate what the president of the customer really wants from ISOWA.

Putting ourselves in the customer’s shoe, we came up with some ideas.
We brought them to the president to get his opinion the other day.

After getting his agreement and taking a look inside the plant, today we had a discussion on it.

As a result, we agreed to get the spin-off project started which will be focused on this customer with Mr. S and Mr. M appointed as leader.

We’ve also decided to put an end to the 3rd round as the spin-off project is beginning, which none of us saw coming.

Strategy verbalizing meeting will go on to the 4the round, of course.
We will be helping the new project get on the right track and keep up efforts to realize our vision.

What I’m trying to say is,

ISOWA will keep ourselves going, too!

Thank you all who has been a part of it!


Message From Thailand

A tree standing under the beautiful sky.

This is a photo Mr. H, my business companion, emailed me from Thailand.

>I visited company T yesterday.
>Right in front of the parking lot, I found a tree with your name.
>If I remember correct, it was when you attended the opening ceremony for T’s new plant.
>It feels like it’s growing faster than usual in the tropical weather.
>I have attached a photo of the tree.
>Hope you will like it.

It’s that tree!

It was February, 2011.
I made a speech in English in front of a large audience.

It made me nervous and sweat a lot.
That’s why I remember clearly.

It’s only been 4 years but, like Mr. H says, it’s gotten really tall.

I’m also glad that Mr. H cared about me enough to send me the photo.

Speaking of the ceremony, a woman sitting next to me talked to me after my speech.

“It was such a fun speech”

She looked so familiar to me. She reminded me of someone I know from TV.

My instinct was right.
It turned out that she was Mari Christine who used to appear on a Japanese TV show.

Ever since that day, we have been in touch for 4 years now.

Gorgeous ceremony, the speech I made and getting to know Mari.
All those memories came back to me at once.

Thanks for the picture, Mr. H!


What Lifts Me Up

ISOWA’s supporters association.
It consists of 38 suppliers of ISOWA.

And they had a party for my 60th birthday at a hotel in the city.

One of the hotel server came talk to me,

“I’ve never seen suppliers throw a party for a buyer like this.
I’ve never seen them serve this gorgeous dinner either.”

I never thought my 60th birthday party would be so great.

Especially, I couldn’t thank Mr. T enough who has organized all of it.

At the end of the party, they even brought out a fancy cake.
It was perfect dessert for someone who has a sweet tooth like I do.

There was one thing that I wanted to do.
I wanted to take a picture with every single person who was there.

And I wanted the pictures to look nice.
That’s why I asked Mr. K who is particular about photographs to come with me.

I want you to know I wasn’t making him take photos the whole time.
I wanted him in a picture, too.

We are all born good but weak. So am I.
And it’s ISOWA’s supporters association who always pulls me through.

To show how thankful I am, I picked the appreciation gift myself.

1.8 kg a person. 80kg in total.

That’s how grateful I am. I hope they will like it.

You want to know what it was?
That’s a secret between us.

I would like to say thank you again for a wonderful night and always being supportive.