The Jiaxing Chemical Division is located in Zhapu near Shanghai in Zhejiang. Here, 66,000 tons of spandex raw materials (PTMG) are produced every year. Department Head Kim Seong-soo who won the Hyosung Employee of the Year award in technology for the 4th quarter of 2013 is in charge of the overall management of production, quality, facilities and manpower at the PTMG plant. He said the key to success in increased productivity and reduced production costs in the Jiaxing Chemical Division is “autonomous responsibility management.”
”I could successfully carry forward the project to increase productivity and reduce production costs thanks to thorough planning in advance and smooth communication in the process of discovering issues and taking measures. Moreover, I experienced that decision making of the organization is more facilitated when each member takes his or her responsibility.”
The Jiaxing Chemical Division has the slogan “Make your own business plans and execute them” hanging on various places of the office and plant, emphasizing the importance of making business plans. Thus the employees make plans thoroughly and execute them diligently.
“If we make changes to the plant in operation, operational or quality issues may arise. To solve this problem, I made a pretest plan to increase output in October 2012 and conducted a Step-Up experiment for about three months. Through this experiment, I reviewed in advance the possible issues of each unit process that may arise when the output increases.”
The Jiaxing Chemical Division divided the unit process in experiment into four areas for intensive management, and minimized the issues that may arise in actual output increase by exposing and resolving the issues in advance. They also pondered over ways to reduce the loss of raw materials that take up 90% of production costs in an effort to save costs. They analyzed ways to recollect the small amount of tetrahydrofuran (THF) in the nitrogen emitted to the atmosphere, and designed plans to recollect it as a raw material by absorbing it as water and undergoing the process of dehydration. They also minimized the Off-Spec occurrence by reducing the time for process suspension, reoperation and product conversion, and tried not to generate unnecessary costs by making refined articles through division and management per molecular quantity. The PTMG plant developed by the research center grew into a plant that achieves stable operation and maximum profits.
“Many Hyosung employees worked hard for R&D, plant construction and operation. I think we can produce such results thanks to our coworkers working hard on site. I would like to use this opportunity to thank all the people who participated in the PTMG Project. The Jiaxing Chemical Division is currently making efforts to reduce the loss of steam, electricity and raw materials. We will continue to strive for Hyosung PTMG to have the world’s best price competitiveness and sales size.”
“Around the foundation of the Brazil Plant, the spandex market was already in saturation. Our competitor has already dominated the indisputable top position for over 40 years, making it all the more difficult for our company to break into the market as a latecomer. We needed more differentiated strategies.”
Department Head Cho Do-joon of the Brazil Division began to thoroughly analyze the competitors and customers before focusing on sales back when the Santa Catarina Plant was completed in Brazil in 2012. He felt that the most important thing is to clearly understand the customers. He implemented the strategy to switch the customers who had only bought from agencies to direct sales. He made the most of direct sales and minimized agency sales. Unnecessary costs were eliminated through direct sales, which gave the company price competitiveness and enabled them to win greater response, as the manufacturer could efficiently provide technical services for them.
“We had to make a lot of efforts in the process, but sales went smoothly as we gave more trust to the customers by meeting them personally. I think doing our best to make them feel as if they are receiving good service also increased their satisfaction.”
With the localization strategy, the Brazil Division secured the top position in terms of market share for spandex in Brazil in 2 years since the plant was established. What is the key to their success in such a short period of time? The employees of the Brazil Division including Cho say that it was thanks to their focus on reinforcing the bond with customers considering the high awareness of Creora. They also invited customers to the plant to give them a tour and introduce the production process, which was well received by the customers and led to more sales.
“As we regularly held technical meetings, we talked about the CEOs of our client companies and listened to the complaints, which were then delivered to the production department to be resolved. This also had a positive influence in making the customers satisfied.”
Cho was also extremely proud of the great support from the Spandex PU headquarters. Sales increased thanks to the employees who intently approached the quality issues and tried to solve them.
“We communicate with the headquarters every week and exchange feedback. The customers compliment us that we have different attitudes in trying to make continuous improvements by replying simple e-mails with detailed answers. I think my attitude comes from the active support from the headquarters in solving the problems.”
When asked about the know-how for autonomous responsibility management, he emphasized that it is necessary to create a ‘living organization’ by “establishing and implementing plans autonomously in order to maximize profits with a rational method.”
“Despite difficulties in the business environment, we must never forget the mindset to persuade customers, as that attitude builds the foundation for autonomous responsibility management. I’m extremely proud of my job, meeting our customers with a ‘living organization.’”