Advancing women's careers

A female supervisor excels at a Moriroku Group factory

The Moriroku Group is made up of men and women of all ages from different nationalities and backgrounds. The Group recognizes that each of its members is different and draws from this diversity to create value. As part of its efforts to promote diversity, the Group provides career opportunities to women in traditionally male-dominated workplaces. As an exemplary example, this story spotlights Ayako Wakamatsu, a female employee who joined Moriroku Technology's Manufacturing Division in December 2008. Without any previous experience, she changed jobs to a mold maker and was eventually promoted to a supervisory position at the company.

Making a big change from accounting to mold-making

Ayako Wakamatsu joined the general affairs department of a subsidiary of Moriroku Technology after studying business administration and working at an accounting firm. When the subsidiary merged with Moriroku Technology in 2008, however, she decided to change jobs to mold-making at the recommendation of her boss, who thought she was more suited for manufacturing work. Wakamatsu did not know anything about this kind of work at first, but she was allowed to take the job after studying mold-making techniques through a correspondence course and learning the necessary skills and knowledge from her colleagues in the factory. While gaining expertise on the job, she felt a strong sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when the molds she produced were used to manufacture parts.

An electric discharge machineApplying a special technology called electric discharge machining, this machine uses heat generated from electrically discharged sparks to melt metal into molds, which must be made of harder metal than conventional metal. Wakamatsu said, "I didn't understand the fundamentals of the machine at first, so I am grateful to my supervisors and colleagues for answering all my questions and patiently giving me instructions."

Image: An electric discharge machine

Becoming a trusted leader in the workplace

After several years on the job, Wakamatsu dealt with defects caused by molds. When additional modifications did not fix the problem, she had to make numerous requests to other sections. Although Wakamatsu wanted to help them analyze the problem as a team member, she lacked the necessary know-how. Frustrated by that experience, she continued to focus on acquiring knowledge and actively refining her skills. Those efforts were highly respected among her coworkers and soon noticed by her supervisors.

Having further developed her career, Wakamatsu was switched to a promotion track in 2017. She had been giving everything to her job for years, so she was initially concerned about taking on more responsibilities. Nevertheless, when her supervisor expressed confidence in her abilities and gave her encouragement, she was determined to succeed. The opportunity for promotion made her realize the importance of taking into account the whole company rather than just her job. She said, "I began thinking about what I wanted my mold-making team to accomplish, how to produce excellent molds, and how to contribute to the Moriroku Group."

Wakamatsu was appointed as a supervisor, and like her own supervisors before, she is now focusing on fostering a workplace environment that values interaction and recognizes accomplishments.

Repairing moldsThe quality of molds has a direct impact on product quality and costs. Therefore, the Mold-Making Department has a very big responsibility to repair such defects. In that regard, Wakamatsu commented, "Although I was worried about being promoted to a supervisory position, I thought I would be able to handle any problems by working together with my colleagues."

Image: Repairing molds

Contributing to making a better workplace and company

In the past, factories were often regarded as physically demanding workplaces that were unsuitable for women. Mold-making, especially, was assumed to be a man's job. Today, however, as factories transform, it is understood that anyone, regardless of gender, can contribute in these workplaces as long as they are able to work as a team member and actively communicate. Now that women like Ayako Wakamatsu are playing a bigger role, traditional notions of skilled artisans will change and perhaps new styles of leadership will emerge. While aiming to further advance her career, Wakamatsu expressed her goals as follows: "I want to refine our mold-making techniques while promoting an even better workplace through leadership. I also hope to help make Moriroku Technology a company that we can be even prouder of in the future."

In conclusion, Wakamatsu said, "I am thankful for being given opportunities to take on various challenges. Moriroku Technology is a company that appreciates and supports each employee."

Image: Ayako Wakamatsu has been thriving on the job as a supervisor

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