From Germany!

8 guests from Adept Technology, Inc., Germany finally came visit us after pre-research in March.

Their goal was to feel the atmosphere of us working towards the world’s best corporate culture and hear our voices first-hand.

This is Mr. K speaking about our corporate cultural reform.

It was really nice!

While he was showing them pictures of ISOWA staff, he kept asking,
“They all look happy, don’t they?”

And he also looked very happy while asking that.

There couldn’t be a better way to describe our good relation.

“Employees shouldn’t be satisfied to be just part of their company.
A company always has to have compassion for its employees.”

Honestly, he could even take my place. Thanks, Mr. K!

I was given an hour for my speech. But it needed translating, so taking that into account, all I got was just half an hour.

I was worried if this would work but Mr. K performed amazing translation. 

But there’s one thing that’s not right.

I wonder why there is no picture from my speech.
Someone should’ve taken one…
That’s something we still need to work on!

I was curious about what the guests thought about the speech.

“It touched my heart. Your speech was really worth listening to. It made me glad I came to Japan.”
He took over his family business that’s the same size as ISOWA just like I did.
The fact that those words were from someone who has the similar background made me even happier.

Including a free discussion afterwards, I’m sure we could make them see our spirits.

We were quite surprised to find material for the visit tour this time Mr. Y left behind.

A picture of the janitor room appeared in it as if it was our main office.
They must have thought it would be a waste of time to visit a so small company.

I’m really glad they came after all.

Thank you to everyone who was involved in this!


Simple words from the heart

Mr. N, who has worked for ISOWA for 50 years, retired today.
We had him over at the Nagoya office to give us a retirement speech.

It was about his memories from childhood to when he first came to ISOWA and now.

Each and every one of the stories touched our hearts.

The one that moved me the most was about when he left his mother for ISOWA at the age of 15 in 1965.

She runs after him as the train starts. He said that was when he burst into tears.

And good old days with the matron and seniors at the dormitory.
Transfer to Tokyo. Acting Tokyo office manager after working in a few different sections.
Led the reform as an Osaka office manager.

I felt his love for ISOWA in every word he said.

Some of us got tears in their eyes. I was one of them.

He had prepared a note for the speech but after all it seemed like he simply spoke what came to his mind without looking at anything.

Only words from one’s heart can truly move other people.

We record every morning assembly so those who missed it can check it out later.
That means now we have a video of the speech.

I want everyone who will be working with us to listen to what he told us.

Here’s another story that he shared with us.

Soon after he started a career at ISOWA, on the way to fix a machine with Mr. M, they fell off their bike and they injured but they still fulfilled their duty.

Mr. M, who is 10 years elder than Mr. N, is still working.

Mr. M told us about when he let Mr. N stay at his place.
“I remember how neat the bed was after he slept. That shows his polite personality.”

Mr. M is 65 and he is still tougher than I am.
All the customers that he has met loves him.

That’s why I want him to be working with us for a little while longer.

But he has a 93-year-old mother in his home, and he wants to put his energy that he has devoted for ISOWA into taking care of his mother.

If he keeps working, he will be working too hard to look after his mother. 
Never slack off. That’s who he is. 

There is no way I can hold him back anymore.

It’s been 30 years since I started working for ISOWA.
The first half was 15 years of confrontation with him.
And the second half was 15 years of gradual mutual trust. Now he has become the one that I can really rely on.

Especially after what we went through in the first 15 years, I cherish the last 15 years spent with him.

I believe his son-in-law Mr. Y will take over his spirit.

I hope you will have a great time with your mother without having to care about the work.

Thank you very much for your 50 years at ISOWA.



Last spring, Mr. S at Sales Department told me about some customers.

According to him, they produce almost 200 orders a day.
Generally speaking, 100 per day is good enough. But 200!

Then it hit me. 

“There might be customers who are making the most of our machines more than we expected.”
If some, I would like to find out and show our appreciation.

That’s why we decided to notify our customers of this and commend the operation team that has made the best achievement.

Today we visited two companies.

First up are Mr. Takamatsu, Mr. Osa and Mr. Kitazawa from Taiyo Shigyo. They have 
established the quickest order change time. The record is 1 minute 56 seconds on daily

They’ve been running our flexo folder gluer, Falcon, for 5 years and a half now.
They’ve had a great success in reducing the amount of the ink they use.

“This is the perfect machine for producing many different kinds of orders.”

They are seeking to shorten the order change time as much as possible.
That’s why at their plant, the operators are already ready to re-start the machine when the chim tones goes off to tell all order change procedures are finished.

“I want our sales team to understand the Falcon better. One of the reasons for the improvement in productivity is the sales strategy. That makes it possible for us to step forward.” Said the president.

Next up are Mr. Takagi, Mr. Yamazaki and Mr. Sometani from Takeda Shiki.
They set a record for the maximum numbers of jobs(orders) done per hour. Their record is 19 jobs per hour.

They introduced the falcon three years ago for the first time as a box plant.

“The maintenance costs and running costs are low. It has no brades, no belts. But it can produce 350 blanks per minute. There is no other machines like that.”

There has been no complaints about the joint accuracy since the Falcon started. All the sales staff consider the Falcon as our strong point. They have absolute trust in it.

“Before, the operators would wait for the machine to get ready. But now the Falcon waits for the operators to get ready. If we do better, there is a good chance of 22-3 jobs done per hour.”

As a matter of fact, these two companies are located in the same area, and they know each other well. 
It seems like they were inspired by each other’s performance.
That’s how good rivals are supposed to be. 

The goal this time was to show our respect and appreciation to those who actually operates our machines very successfully. 

Both of the Falcon teams looked very happy.

Better productivity brings their companies benefits, which makes the presidents happy.

Making all involved happy.
This is what the idea “i machine” is all about.

I would like to say thank you to both companies.
We will keep supporting for you to bring out our machine’s full capacity.


Be Respectful

Most of those who joined ISOWA this April are still in training.

I found Mr. W, an ISOWA freshman, at the processing plant working on general-purpose lathes earlier today.

Mr. Y who has been in charge of this machine for 40 years was teaching him.

Needless to say, Mr. W has never done it before.
That’s why Mr. Y was supposed to be teaching in detail patiently.

I thought I had to thank him for coaching him.
“Thank you very much. There must be so much to teach. Please keep up the good work.”
But his reaction was not exactly what I was expecting.

“In recent years, everyone who joins ISOWA are all so good, which is why there are many things I have to learn from them.”

He’s even over 60. And he is still eager to learn something new.
That really impressed me.

Mr. W is very lucky to have such an amazing mentor.

Be respectful to each other regardless of ages.
Thank you very much Mr. Y for reminding me of this important thing.


14th Year Has Begun

First of all, I’d like to say thank you for all the birthday wishes.

There was a 62nd annual meeting of stockholders on my 59th birthday. It’s been 13 whole years since I was appointed president.

The other day, I found my very first business card I got when I entered ISOWA 29 years ago.

It shows that so many years have gone by.

The company name was “ISOWA Iron Works”
I think it was named after a manufacturer where my father used to work after university.

After 6-month training, I got assigned to the planning department which had 5 members including me.

29 years later. Now I’m 59.

Mr. Shibata, ISOWA’s auditor, visited us for the meeting, which reminded me of past days.

It was 1998 that I first met Mr. Shibata and corporate cultural reform, which means I have spent more than half of the time at ISOWA working on it.

My university friend, Mr. Iwasaki who is currently teaching at Asahi University came to see Mr. Shibata.

I got Mr. Shibata to give him his autograph which he has desired.

Also we had Ms. I from the graduate school of Meiji University who came to interview our staff for her thesis.

Mr. Iwasaki was impressed by Mr. Shibata’s process design method.

His new perspective based on his vast experience impressed me, too.

Mr. Shibata also highly valued him,
“He is nothing like any other university teachers. It would be great if Scholar could do something with him.”

“I always hope I have more chances to come here.”
That’s what Mr. Shibata always says.

And today we discussed how to reduce overtime in each department.

That’s why this time we decided to have him over once a three months so he can check how our overtime reduction is going.

We also want Mr. Iwasaki to be a witness.

Let’s do it!


Work Collaboration Review

Two guests joined us today from SCHOLAR.

One is Mrs. T, formerly Ms. N, who visited ISOWA for the first time in three years.

The other is Mr. T, another Mr. T.

The purpose of them visiting us was to give us the result of Work Collaboration Review that indicates the state of teamwork which ISOWA cooperated at the begging of April.

The name “ISOWA” is widely recognized at Scholar, so it has been drawing the attention, but it turned out to be below expectations.

I don’t think our teamwork is bad, compared with other companies.
I think that’s because we are all aiming for higher standard.

In fact, I was surprised at difficulty of the questionnaire. 

Mr. T, who started WCR, said
“I heard a lot about ISOWA and thought it must be a good company.
When I got a result, it was surprising. But visiting your office today made me realize I was right. I have visited all kinds of companies because of my business, and my intuition really can tell if it’s a good one or not.”

He also told me about Ms. H who showed him around the office.

“I could see how much she loved ISOWA.”

What I’m trying to say is that this test measures our teamwork by our own standard, it’s the absolute value, not relative value. The important thing is how we are going to bring up this absolute value.

You only can share the goal with other people when you get to know what they are thinking and what they value at work.

Generally speaking, goal sharing is not an easy thing. But just sharing goals is not good enough.
How could you share them with someone not knowing their thought?

What we have been doing is just sharing what they call “goal” or “belief” or “value”.

I’ve been thinking that we have to take that up to higher levels.

That doesn’t mean things worsened.
It means that our corporate cultural reform developed so far that now we are all starting to think that we have to move on to the next stage.

However, while some are trying to step up on the next stage like me, others are still on the former stage complaining and passing the blame.
What I want to emphasize is that these two are at the completely different level.
But their answers to the questions may coincide, and this WCR results were just an add-up of them.

The common goal can’t be achieved without mutual understanding.
This is what I learned today. We also discussed how to improve it. 
It was a fruitful discussion.

Mr. N said,
“It was really eye-opening. I noticed what I was thinking might be wrong.”

As for me, I'll work hard and make some actions in "verbalizing meeting", in which our managements literally try to verbalize our cooperate philosophy or our strategies so that every ISOWA member heads for the same goal.

The results will be available soon to all involved.

Thank you very much, Mr. T and Mr.N.


Eighth New Member

I’d like to introduce the one of the 8 students who’s going to start working with us next year.

This is my son, Hikaru Isowa from Waseda University.

To work for a company except ISOWA before joining ISOWA, or to start his career: that is a question. Both options have merits and demerits. But we had to make a decision.

It is common in Japan that a son who graduates from the university starts working for the different company from his father’s for several years like me. However we decided not to follow it. 

That’s because we are aiming toward having the best corporate culture in the world.

If we will be a company with the best corporate culture in the world, we should be able to educate new graduates better than anyone else. There should be fair and disinterested people who are very strict to my son and won’t spoil him.

Speaking of not spoiling, pumpkin was on the today’s lunch menu.

That’s the only thing that he can’t eat and he says he gets nauseous only by seeing it.

What a coincidence!

I’m sure he realized there would be many challenges waiting ahead of him. 

He’s working as a bus boy at the Japanese restaurant in Tokyo, where he was recently told that he looks similar to Bruce Lee.

Although he didn’t know who Bruce Lee was and what Bruce Lee looked like, he apparently found some resemblance seeing his pictures on the internet.

More people say my son is starting to look like me in recent years.

Does that mean I am like Bruce Lee?

When I sat in front of the Buddhist altar tonight, I found his business card given to him earlier today there. It’s a wonderful thing to respect and report to our ancesters.

I’m looking forward to working together toward bringing our dream into reality.


This is also the end of recruiting activity this year. Eight students will join us next year.

I’d like to say thank all students who got interested in us and applied, and all who were involved.

Our recruiting activity has been greatly improved over the last two years.

That is all because of the devotion of the new members. 

Let’s make it even better next year!


From Germany

There was something unusual going on with the after-hours meeting tonight.

Mr. Takahashi from Scholar Consult was not there, but there was a guest from Germany.

It’s Ms. K from Adept Media GmbH.

Adept Media and Scholar have had a relationship for quite a while.

Adept Media also published a Germany translation of Mr. Shibata’s work.

Some of their customers are interested in Japanese-style management.

That’s why we are planning Japan Study Tour for them.

We have been discussing with Scholar to come up with a plan where they will be able to learn Japanese management in a larger sense.

After all, we got an offer to have them over for a workshop.

And tonight, Ms. K from Adept Media visited us from Germany to see what ISOWA is like.

We decided to get him involved in the meeting. Because we thought just visiting us was not enough to understand ISOWA.

We were discussing the relation between “i Machine” and “ISOWA keeps you going – always on the go!”

We’ve already talked about this so many times.

But it’s interesting how the more we discuss it, the more mature the discussion gets.

This time, Ms. I of Electrical Technology and Mr. E from Nagoya sales took part for the first time. They made it even more exciting.

At the end of the meeting, I was not sure if German people would like it.

But, Ms. K said,

“All kinds of employees coming together to discuss business challenges. It rarely happens in Germany. Especially, in Germany, it has become a stereotype that Japanese firms make a big decision through a top-down approach. So this is exactly what they should experience. They’ll be glad to come.”

After-hours meeting with German guests.

I can’t wait for it to actually happen!


With all our heart

Our first i Machine with a plate of my handwritten ‘i Machine’ on it started running a month ago at a customer’s workshop. The other day, there was a ritual praying for the safety under the fine weather.

As soon as I got there, the president talked to me,

“Everything is going well with the i Machine.”

Then we all gathered at the altar set up in front of the machine. The Shinto ritual began.

And Tamagushi-hoten.

I took a tamagushi from the Shinto priest, stepped forward to the altar, and offered the tamagushi on behalf of the whole company praying that it will be loved and give new value to them.

After that, we went on to see how it was working.

It was the machine sound that first drew our attention.

It might be just a noise for those who don’t work in this industry.

But, for us, it is much more quiet and lighter.

“It is a very good sound. Unlike the other machines before.”

The managing director was saying the exact same thing that I was thinking.

Since the installation, Mr. Y of technology division and Mr. E of electronic technology division have been there making sure that the “i Machine” is settling in well.

This is just the beginning of this project, but I’m glad that we made a good start with so much love from the customer.

I swear here that we will try our best to bring more happiness to the people all over the world.


We Will Miss You

The Vertical Boring & Milling Machine produced by SHIN NIPPON KOKI CO.

It has been missing his master.
Mr. T in charge of this machine has taken a leave of absence for a long now because of his physical conditions.

It’s been a while since a cardboard sign representing his absence was put on the table.

In spite of our wish, there has been no sign of recovery. And finally, he retired today.

He has been working for 47 years just for ISOWA.

We missed him while he was out, and we are really going to miss him even more.

Since it was his last day as our member, he came by to see me. However I had to keep him waiting long because at that time I had a visitor.
If I had known that, I would’ve stepped out for a little while.

He lives in Seki, Gifu prefecture. He commuted 40 km each way for almost 50 years.
He had the longest commute times in ISOWA for a long time.

I asked him to take a photo together, but he was so shy that there’s no photo of us.
So I’ll use this one on the direction board beside the machine instead.

Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication.
We hope you will get better soon!


Thank You To Families!

This week, the major matter of conversation at office has been weather.

“Seems like the weather will hold.”

“They said it’d be raining.”

“Latest forecast says it’s going to be cloudy!”

It’s been a week of the jitters.

We had a good reason.
Today is the day of ISOWA family open house for the first time in 5 years.

This is what the layout looks like.

And this is today’s time table.

80 staffs have been putting a lot of effort into planning and preparing.
Obviously, their passion blew the rain away. Although it was raining in many parts of Japan, by some miracle, here in Nagoya, the sun sometimes even showed itself from behind the clouds.
In such a condition, we had 600 guests in total.

There has been so much for family open house.
I wish I could talk about everything.

The theme this time was “appreciation”.
The project members set this theme in hope we could convey a message of appreciation to our families.
That is so us.

I’ve been looking forward to getting to thank them face to face.

How has his family been doing over past the five years?
What do their partners that they married five years ago look like?
How big have their children got?

With excitement, I welcomed the guests at reception, and walked around to convey a message.

Of course it’s not that easy to thank them enough, but I felt I had to tell their father, mother, husband, wife, children and grandchildren.

“They’ve always supported us even when we had to ask for too much.
I’d like to apologize we’ve taken a lot of their time with their families, and thank you for being cooperative.”

And I also want to tell those who weren’t there today.

Every single word you give us is treasure for ISOWA to go on.

“Work for myself and for my beloved family.”

I promise we will do our utmost to realize this belief.

Please walk with us.

And finally, I would like to say a thank you from the heart to all of our staff who has spent a lot of their time and energy to make it successful. Thank you very much.


Shape Our Dream

Last Friday, 21st was an unforgettable day.

I’m going to tell you what happened that day.

We decided to have a morning assembly that was not scheduled.

That’s because, the day before, “i Machine” that we’ve been working on for 2 years was finally completed, and the customer who bought it came to our factory for pre-delivery inspection. 

What I really wanted everyone to know was something that happened during their visit.

Our conventional machine sometimes have to put operators in danger.

Although most of them are minor injuries so that they didn’t even have to go to hospital, the frequency of injuries always bothers operators and manegement. 

Mr. H, one of the ‘i Machine’ project members, has been developing with a dream to reduce the risk. 

There were a lot of technical and cost issues to overcome.

He’s invested a lot of energy and passion with this machine.

It was highly valued by the customer.

We want to create a machine that won’t suddenly break down or stop.

We’d like to offer safety, relief, productivity, quality, reliability, and someday happiness.

We’ve been trying to complete “i machine” that embodies our belief and will be loved by customers.

We could finally realized our belief, and, most importantly, it satisfied the customer.

I wanted those who were not there to know that story.

Then Mr. M started speaking about the same episode, of course without any prior consultation.

Moreover, Mr. H, another project member picked up that subject at the group gathering, too.

“It was the happiest moment for me, too.”

This is exactly what I’m talking about.

Speak to the employees.

E-mail them.

Make a slogan and hang it on the wall.

A company does a lot of things to infiltrate their policy through the whole company.

What really matters is not taking many actions, but sharing thoughts and moving towards the same direction together.

I don’t like the word, “infiltration”. It sounds one-sided.

Or rather I want to feel and act together with my workmates, which is essential to be as one.

That’s what a team is all about.

If we hadn’t had togetherness, the three of us couldn’t have felt the same way.

But we did and so did the customer.

This is the very first step of ISOWA’s i Machine.

We will creat real value to cutomers as we reform our corporate culture.

Our change is now underway.


Thank you for working for ISOWA!

We commended our long time employees at todays morning assembly.

First of all, Mr. F and Mr. I in the above picture, Mr. K whos away on business and Mrs. U of Tokyo office.They’ve been working for us for 40 years.
They are all the same age as me.
Until the last year, 40 year-employees had been older thanI was.
But finally were all of an age.

Mr. H, Mr. Y and Mrs. F from ISOWA HOOPERSWIFT, 30 year-employees.

20 year- employees make me look like someone who just got drafted.
Mr. U, Mr. Ko, Mr. T, Mr. M and Mr. Ka.

Mrs. K whos in her 10th year here.
In spite of the fact that she has worked for 10 years, she still looks young

Mr. H and Mr. O who just turned 20.
I look like a short man between them.

Mr. Y was commended not as a long time employee but for advanced suggestions for improvement.

We gave them time to say a few words.

Without my family and colleagues, I wouldn’t be here.

For talent training, I’ll give my knowledge to only two people in order of arrival.

“I’m so glad to be a part of this warm company.
There is much more I want to do.

Tomorrow I’ll be bigger than who I am today.

Everyone was amazing. I hope more staffs tell their storyto us like this.

I thought just for today... and decided to make them do it, which eventually left no time for my speech.

But I believe those stories were worthier listening to than my speech.

I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has been a part of ISOWA.
And I hope ISOWA will have more long time employees in the future.


Shining Brightly

ISOWA staffs are starting to get back from installation during the year change period.
However, the door to the workshop is locked and I can’t go in there.
And even if I can, access is allowed only in a restricted area by the barricades.

Although the floor painting at the assembly area had been finished by the end of the last
year, the passage painting is now in progress before things get busy at the peak of the next

It’s done in a very primitive way. They paint using a stick with a roller on the tip little by little,
over and over again.
You probably don’t know this, but the floor is wearing heavy make-up.

The front side has just been painted, and beyond the pylons, not yet.
You can see how different they look.

One thing I worry about is that they will forget themselves painting the floor and when they
come to senses, all sides around them are painted and they will never be able to get out.

Don’t worry. There are bridges like this here and there, just in case.

But those bridges are narrow and shaky.
I hope anyone doesn’t lose balance and fall on the floor.
I almost did..

Regular maintenance is essential for a factory to last for a long time
Remodel of the workshop into the showroom.
Let’s just stay focused.


So Young!

This time of the year, we need our products to get checked by the
customers before shipment if they work properly.

Today, we had a customer from Shikoku.

We demonstrate how the machine worked so they can see everything's okay.

One of the guests said,
"Every time I came here, I realize ISOWA is changing. Also, technical
staff are all young."

That was exactly what I was thinking.

Mr. S of technical division who did a presentation is in his 9th year.
Mr. S who actually operated the machine is in his 2nd year. Even Mr. M
who just joined ISOWA this year was in charge of the control system.

The way Mr. S was working was so impressive that I can't help saying,
"I'm in love with your industriousness."

Seeing Mr. Y in his fourth year at the end of the printer, I said,
"With other members, it seems like you are not young anymore."

He answered,
"I have to keep up the effort not to get left behind.

The new generation is getting stronger.
I'm very proud of them.