Our "integrated production system" is considered to be YKK AP's greatest strength in manufacturing. YKK AP focuses on in-house development, manufacturing, processing and assembly of aluminum, vinyl, and other materials, components, and manufacturing equipment. In addition, we have established processes for elemental technology used in development of materials, recycling technology, and also created systems for logistics, sales, and manufacturing, thereby making it possible to provide a stable supply of high-quality products. We aim for a high level of quality by achieving a seamless integrated production system to improve efficiency and productivity further.
We even develop and manufacture manufacturing equipment, delivering a high level of quality through a seamless integrated production system
YKK AP has integrated all manufacturing processes and conducts them at its own manufacturing sites in Japan and overseas. The glass used in vinyl windows and other core products is procured as raw sheets, and we process it into Low-E glass and triple-glazed glass in-house. In addition, we handle the entire process beginning with melting the bullion in the case of aluminum, and combining the raw materials in the case of vinyl. Accessories and functional parts, screws, and screen nets, etc., are also manufactured in-house.
The functions of the YKK Machinery & Engineering Group, which had been handling development and manufacturing of specialized equipment for our products, were transferred to YKK AP in FY 2021. We are working to enhance further our technical competitiveness through seamless and rapid collaboration between the Machinery and Engineering Department, the Research & Development Division, and the Manufacturing Division.
We believe that our insistence on integrated in-house production enables us to develop technology quickly, control costs throughout the supply chain, and ensure quality. The reason that the philosophy of "starting at the source," under which we pursue materials and equipment in order to solve problems, has taken root, is specifically because of our integrated production. This basis was built by Tadao Yoshida, YKK's founder. In the 1940s, the U.S.A. was a far more industrially advanced nation. Seeking to compete with their fastening products, Tadao spent 2.5 times the company's capital at the time, to import and study U.S.A.-made machinery. He developed his own improved equipment and implemented a business form of integrated production, which is from raw materials to productionization. We will continue to move forward, carrying on and protecting that spirit, and manufacture high-quality products.
A shortage of drivers has led to the distribution industry facing rising delivery costs and other issues. Our company supports the "White Logistics" Movement promoted by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and others, in order to ensure stable distribution. YKK AP has submitted to the secretariat a declaration of voluntary activities aimed at sustainable distribution, such as "Using pallets, etc.," "Consolidating delivery dates," and "Consolidating pickup and dispatch locations," and is working for greater efficiency and productivity in distribution.
Rollers, screws, and other parts and components are manufactured in-house, aiming at a higher level of reliability.
YKK AP develops and manufactures the components in-house for the "keystones" of our product lineup. In Japan, parts and components are manufactured at "Kurobe Ekko Plant" in Kurobe City, Toyama Prefecture. The plant produces rollers, screws, and other metal and vinyl functional parts, on the foundation of our technology development capabilities, including elemental technology. The plant also has various types of test and evaluation functions, and ensures the quality of the parts.
"YKK AP (Suzhou) Co., Ltd.," located in China, is another important site for manufacturing YKK AP's components, which are supplied to the plants around the country. The performance laboratory at YKK AP (Suzhou) has been recognized for the appropriateness of its test methods, the reliability of its measuring technology, etc., and in 2020, the laboratory was certified by the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS) based on the international laboratory standard ISO/IEC 17025. The site is contributing to improving YKK AP's quality and brand value. High-quality parts and components produced in-house are also one of YKK AP's major strengths.
A satisfactory and pleasant working environment for the sake of health and peace of mind of our employees
Creating a safe and healthy workplace for employees who are responsible for manufacturing is also an important theme. YKK AP promotes a stress-free, pleasant working environment by introducing air-conditioning equipment and clothing as measures against the heat. We have improved cafeterias, restrooms, and other aspects of the environment to move forward with creation of a satisfactory workplace where employees can work vibrantly. In addition, to increase safety further, we implement safety reviews on manufacturing equipment according to laws and regulations and the health and safety regulations of YKK Group, and only authorize use of equipment that passes the review. Starting from FY 2017, we also implement "periodic machinery and equipment safety inspections" once every three years. The machinery and equipment of all manufacturing lines have been compiled into a database, which is periodically reviewed, in an effort to promote intrinsically safe equipment.