Wednesday, December 5, 2012

YKK: The Simplest Strategy



What is one of the most commonly used items that you probably rarely think about? The zipper. YKK makes almost half the zippers and having been doing so since the 1920s.  The strategy of Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha or Yoshida Company Limited is centered on a high quality product that the company can control every aspect of it. YKK manufactuers all of the components necessary to make its product including creating the machines that the zippers are made on. 
“The Cycle of Goodness”
The management philosophy of YKK is called The Cycle of Goodness: A business is a member of society and therefore should exist within that society and benefit the society as a whole. This has driven the company to “produce ever-high quality with ever-low costs.”[1] The company has done this by creating a good product and employing successful execution strategies.

Strategy Execution:

Conflicting messages are rarely sent to the market:
The strategy of YKK is interesting because it barely has a public image at all despite being on the clothes that people wear everyday. By making itself the standard for industry insiders, the product is held in high esteem and considered to be the only choice for quality garments. It offers a simple quality product but in the range of colors and styles that meet that total demand of the market. 

Once made, decisions are rarely second-guessed:
The choice to bring all things in house and produce quality every time conveys a message to the market that YKK is always a solid and dependable choice. YKK is also a very old company and is now entrenched in the industry in such a way that make competition difficult.

Lessons Learned:

A company like YKK can make someone wonder--why diversify at all? YKK has always done one thing, done it well and survived economic peaks and valleys. While this model works wonders for such a tangible and necessary product, is it employable for a company that offers services or less tangible products? Furthermore, YKK has an advantage because it doesn't have to cater to a wide range of consumer demands--just that of the specific high end industry it serves. This is definitely to the advantage of YKK, but there could be lessons learned across all large markets. 


[1] http://www.slate.com/articles/business/branded/2012/04/ykk_zippers_why_so_many_designers_use_them_.html

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