A Global Culture of Teamwork
I joined Okuma right out of college, and certainly my education prepared me well for a rewarding career path. But in my early years, the training I used most was what I learned growing up in a bilingual household, being raised by my American mother and Japanese father. My bilingual language skills were good and I had an understanding of Japanese culture, so my first work assignment was as a “Partnership Ambassador” at our global headquarters in Japan. I worked on expediting parts, facilitating warehouse shipments and making sure all of our Okuma America customers had what they needed. It was never the same day twice.
Extreme Attention to Detail
Of course working overseas was an amazing experience. One of the things that surprised me most about Okuma Japan was their extreme attention to detail. For every single machine tool they make, just being within specification is not enough. That machine has to be PERFECT before it’s shipped to a customer. They do an excellent job of setting the bar very high when it comes to product quality.
Creating a Skilled Workforce
It’s one thing to set the bar high, but that can become quite difficult if you don’t have the people to meet those standards, and for this reason the process of being hired at Okuma Japan is very rigorous. First they go through a series of exams, and once they get hired, the training program lasts for several months. Each new hire, regardless of the position they’ll eventually fill, gets trained in positions across the entire organization. So a new accounting recruit, for example, works positions in an assembly area, a manufacturing environment…places where they truly get to see all the processes that go into making a finished product. This gives them perspective on how all the various aspects of the organization work together as a team.
A Team Culture
In addition to hiring and training the right people, the company culture makes a big difference too. In Japan there’s a strong emphasis on team achievement. There’s a strong commitment to getting things done by working together. At Okuma America we take this one step further because our work environment is like family – this is great because we always want to give our best for each other and not let our colleagues down. We’re always willing to go out of our way to help each other because we care so much about every member of our team.
For anyone who works with Okuma—a customer, a partner, or a distributor—you will soon feel the global team effect when you join our ranks. We’re honored to work for you and alongside you, and we’ll never let you down.
Ken Mikami is Service Parts Supervisor, Okuma America Corporation.