In the wake of Global President Arima’s New Year message, our teams are left pondering next steps, what we need to do to contribute to DENSO’s transformation. Chris Ramsey, senior manager of Business Planning at DENSO’s Maryville, Tenn., facility, is no different. But, at his core, he believes faith and courage are what he, and DENSO, needs to move forward.
Starting his career at DENSO more than 20 years ago and working his way up through Cost Accounting and Business Planning, Chris has seen a thing or two. And still, he says, “I believe in the future. I have faith in DENSO, and the people of this company, that we’re going to make a better future for the world.”
Chris shares this perspective having experienced tough times during his DENSO career:
“In 2009, when all was looking bleak from a business point of view, [DENSO] found a way to overcome. We found a way to keep our people employed, and found a new way for us to operate. We re-evaluated our operations, processes – everything. We became more competitive and stronger. Our people learned about themselves and what is really, truly possible.
“This is only one example that shows our associates are in it for the long haul – it’s not just a job at DENSO, it’s a way of life. There are a lot of different ways to make more money, but I don’t think that’s why people work here. We’re working for the people we’re with. We’re always pushing one another to find new ways to overcome challenges.”
For Chris, “faith” and “courage” go hand-in-hand.
“Courage means the courage to change, to be different, and to know when it’s time to be different and change. I believe we should question everything and not only do something because someone says we need to. Be true to your values and trust (have faith) in your potential. You have to be yourself.”
In 2015, executives asked a group of senior leaders at DENSO’s Maryville facility, including Chris, how they could improve their targets in quality, safety, cost, and delivery. Usually, a request like this is followed by a quick meeting, hurried action plan, assignments, due dates, follow-up meetings, and so on. Chris and other senior leaders decided to take a stand and put a stop to that routine. They wanted to truly dig into the core issues behind their targets.
After several discussions, the team concluded it was their mindset, their way of working, that caused them to fall short of their targets. Everyone worked in a silo. Each function was working toward their own goals, not trying to understand how they impacted other functions. It was a tough truth to face.
The team tackled it head-on. Through several discussions, off-site workshops and meetings, the group was able to break down barriers between functions and leaders. Chris recalled, “It wasn’t always comfortable, and it sure wasn’t easy, but, after 25 years of operation, Maryville’s leaders, from all our different areas, were starting to think and work more closely together.”
“Mr. Arima described this time as the second birth of our company. There are many ways to feel about that, most are probably scared or excited. We have lots of things to be concerned about – huge shifts in the mobility market, consumer habits, new competitors, and more. I believe faith is necessary because faith in this sense means we must believe in our potential. It’s not an option for us to move forward without faith in ourselves and each other. If our future is to be, it’s up to us to make it happen, and I have faith that we will all do what’s necessary to achieve our future potential.
“To make the future happen not only takes faith, but also courage. Courage is not the absence of fear, but doing what’s needed in spite of it. If we don’t have a sense of fear or crisis then we are not being realistic. However, we cannot be lead or paralyzed by it. We must press on. Find new paths, fail fast and learn fast. The future of DENSO depends on how fast we can fail and learn and our courage to keep doing both.”
DENSO is committed to a culture where every associate’s diverse talents and strong passion enable us to contribute to a better world. What’s at your core? What are you passionate about? What drives and motivates you? We want to hear from you.Tags: Manufacturing Leadership Perspectives