A Zipped-up Story of Domination
YKK is the leading manufacturer of zippers worldwide, making about half of all the zippers produced. You might think that making zippers is a simple task, but YKK's success story proves otherwise.
YKK, which stands for Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha, started in Tokyo in 1934. The company was founded by Tadao Yoshida, a person who loved tinkering with things. He wasn't satisfied with the existing methods of making zippers, so he decided to create his own machines to make them better.
One of the secrets to YKK's success is that they control almost every step of the zipper-making process. They smelt their own brass, make their own polyester, spin and twist their own thread, and even weave and dye the cloth for the zipper tapes. They take care of all the small details, which allows them to ensure consistent quality and speed of production. Other zipper manufacturers often outsource some of these steps, which can lead to variations in quality.
YKK's commitment to quality goes hand in hand with their goal of producing zippers at lower costs. They follow a management principle called "The Cycle of Goodness," which means they strive to benefit others through their actions. This approach translates into producing zippers of higher quality while keeping costs low. It's not an easy feat, but YKK has managed to strike that balance.
Fashion brands and apparel makers have come to rely on YKK because of the trust they have built over the years. When you buy a garment with a YKK zipper, you can be confident that it will work smoothly and not break easily. A faulty zipper can ruin the entire garment, so it's crucial for fashion brands to choose a reliable supplier. YKK's reputation for delivering on time, offering a wide range of options, and maintaining competitive prices has made them the go-to choice for many apparel makers.
While there are other zipper manufacturers out there, YKK's dominance is hard to beat. Some companies refuse to use zippers from other manufacturers, as they fear they might not meet safety standards or the level of quality expected. YKK has set a high bar, and competitors often fall short.
Even though YKK doesn't actively market to consumers, their brand has become recognised among industry professionals. Fashion designers and production managers know that when they see the YKK letters on a zipper, it signifies reliability and quality. It has become a trusted symbol in the world of fashion.