ISOWA NEWS LETTER
The ISOWA NEWS LETTER is a newsletter for the benefit
of special customers only.
Each month we bring you information about our company
and its products – information you won’t find on our home page
or in our catalogs.
We hope the ISOWA NEWS LETTER will help you feel closer to us.
1├ ISOWA America gets more powerful
2├ ”Obon” Installations from President Isowa’s Blog, ISOWA DIARY
Happy New Year!
I am ISOWA’s Mr. T, Takashi Takeshima.
I would like to tell you a little about the origins of Japan’s New Year customs.
On New Year’s Day, the “Toshigami,” or god of the new year, is said to visit
each household to bring them happiness for the year to come. A variety of
New Year’s events and customs have arisen to welcome the Toshigami in
celebration and ensure that people receive a great deal of happiness.
To welcome the Toshigami, at the end of the year, households dust away all
the dirt that has accumulated over the year, cleaning the house from top to
bottom in their preparations. A clean home is sure to receive a great many blessings.
People also decorate the entrance of their homes with a “Kadomatsu” New Year’s
pine decoration so that the Toshigami does not lose its way. “Shimenawa” hemp
rope is placed in the vestibule to guide the Toshigami in, and “Kagami mochi”
—round, double layered rice cakes with a large rice cake at the bottom and a smaller
one atop it—are offered inside the home. This symbolizes the yin and yang of
the sun and moon, signifying the act of growing older in harmony. The first sunrise of
the year is a symbol of the New Year. The Toshigami arrives with the rising sun.
People go to somewhere with a good view of the sunrise, from where they pray
with hands clasped as they face the first sun of the new year. “Osechi ryori,” or
traditional New Year’s cuisine, consists of votive dishes prepared to welcome
the Toshigami. “Otoso” is an alcoholic drink imbibed in the hope of receiving
health and longevity.
What kind of customs do you and your family have for the new year?
Lastly, this year is the year of the dog—my birth sign—in the Chinese zodiac,
and I am working on many plans to make it a very special year.
And now, let’s turn to Vol. 105 of the ISOWA NEWS LETTER.
We hope you like this edition.
ISOWA America gets more powerful
Hello Everyone, this is Ron Miller from ISOWA America. It has been
awhile since I last contributed to the ISOWA Newsletter and thought
it was a good time to share some updates from our side of the world,
which is North & South America.
As is the case with any company trying to keep up with the speed of
business these days, ISOWA America is faced with balancing an
ever-pressing global market and the need to stay fundamentally grounded.
As the ISOWA family has firmly demonstrated since 1920, we are not
inclined to risk the future for short-term glory, but rather continue a
path of improved reliability our team members and customers can count on
for decades. This balancing act is not without some pain and frustration,
but what endeavor worth your time is not worth some sacrifice?
One of the factors ISOWA America has had to face in the recent years is
the ebb and flow of new machine orders. We have seen increasing sales
since 2014, but we have always had periods where new orders would pile
up followed by extended periods absent of new orders. This inconsistent
cycle made it challenging to push the business forward.
Over the past two years I believe we have turned the corner and am
pleased to see further growth and much needed stability in machine sales
in our region.
At the core of that growth and stability has been a lot of effort, and
solid performance from our Falcon & Ibis model FFG’s as well as our CF40
model Single Facers.
What is especially exciting is the number of existing customers coming to
ISOWA again for their new projects. In 2017, all of our machine projects
have been with existing customers. To have so many customers come back
again and again for additional equipment is very gratifying. With all
the challenges of business, it is a good measure of our efforts to see
the continuation and extension of that trust. Of course, we also enjoy
beginning new relationships with customers who share and value the
principles that ISOWA fosters. Part of our journey is finding the right
partners to grow with. 2018 is going to be busy with at least one new
customer joining the “family” along with even more orders from existing
customers! It truly is the best of both worlds!
However, as sales grow and our install base changes and expands,
we fully recognize that we must focus even more attention on post-sales
support. To that point, I wanted to share a couple of actions we have
taken with you today.
First, we continue to invest in new local talent and resources.
ISOWA Corporation has a 97year track record of stability, but as
the North & South American markets grow, we owe it to our customers
to grow “locally” as well. In the past year or so we have added two
additional engineers, a dedicated training coordinator, and have taken
opportunities to improve the talent level of some key support staff
positions. We are also actively recruiting additional engineering
resources in further support of our sales service missions.
I expect you will see some new faces soon.
One question we often hear is “how many field service engineers does
ISOWA have in this area”. Of course when asked we answer the question
directly, but I find the question and response to be two sided.
As an OEM, if you need a lot of service engineers,people may ask why is
that necessary? Are the machines too hard to maintain for typical plant
staff or do you keep machine secrets that only OEM staff can understand?
(From ISOWA’s perspective, those answers are NO & NO, in case you were
wondering). If we have fewer engineers than another OEM, does that mean
we are unable to provide support? (Again the answer is NO).
ISOWA America has always tried to share as much knowledge as possible
about our machines, so customers could be as self-reliant as possible.
In some cases this works well, but in others it has not and it is those
situations that can be most challenging for everyone. As we have heard
this debate so much, it made us think of the underlying question a bit
differently: “Do we have the right resources, information and processes
in place to provide timely and value-added services to our customers of
today”. Seems simple I know, but things change and I think the answer
to this question is far more important than the singular question of
“how many engineers do we have”. It is also a question we have set out
Not only are we adding new team members, but we have also taken a hard
look at ourselves and asked,“is this really how we should be operating”.
It’s easy to say, “you can always do better or just work harder”,
but it is something different to take the critiques you receive (and
some of those can be difficult at times) and actually consider if and
how you need to restructure your operational plan to address those
We are doing exactly that! Some of the changes are subtle internal
workflow improvements intended to smooth information flow internally
and externally. Some are assignment changes within the team in
recognition that we must redistribute daily responsibilities in order to
provide operational clarity and others are new team members taking on
new positions that allow dedicated focus in key functional areas.
In addition to human resource talent, we also continue to invest in
material support which is a topic near and dear to every customer’s
heart. A significant portion of this investment comes by way of
increased spare parts inventory which we do increase year after year
in direct support of our growing install base. Equally important may be
the new ERP(Enterprise Resource Management) system we recently
This system has linked all our operational teams into a single platform
which will serve to improve information flow and enhance our analytics
and material forecasting capabilities. MRO materials have always been
one of the most difficult demand cycles to forecast and shear inventory
volume alone is not a realistic answer. We are challenging ourselves
to pursue and combine material investment dollars, lead time reduction
efforts,intelligent pipelining decisions and enhanced preventive
maintenance activities to achieve the ultimate goal of minimizing
machine reliability risks for our customers.
In summary, we are listening and taking fundamentally sound actions
across our entire operation to improve our resource and service
capabilities. On behalf of the entire team at ISOWA America, and our
extended ISOWA family, we greatly appreciate the trust our customers
place in our relationships. We continue this journey together and remain
sincerely committed to you!
From President Isowa’s Blog, ISOWA DIARY
In Japan, we have a long holiday called “Obon” mid-August.
▼To read more about it, visit the below website
(President Isowa’s blog, ISOWA DIARY)
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