Mr Kunio Noji, Komatsu Ltd's new President and CEO and Bill Pike, Komatsu Australia's President recently launched the "Komatsu Way" program to the company's Australian and NZ employees.

The Komatsu Way is not a brand that is perceived by customers, but rather it is a culture that is shared by the company's 39,000 employees worldwide and which ultimately provides significant benefits to customers, as well as the company's suppliers and business partners.In introducing the Komatsu Way in Australia, Bill said "it is about the way people in the company do things and who we are".

"The Komatsu Way goes back to the principles set down by Komatsu's founder, Mr Maitaro Takeuchi, when he first started the company in 1921," said Bill.

"His principles and foresight have evolved into a philosophy and a certain style that has been used by generations of Komatsu staff."

Mr Noji, who took on his new position in July 2007, was earlier in his career general manager of the company's Corporate Planning Division, which launched the Komatsu Way program so it has support at the very highest levels of the company.

Bill outlined how the Komatsu Way consists of seven key principles under which the company operates.

These are:1. Workplace (Genba) philosophy

2. Staff development

3. Defining the root cause of an issue

4. Policy deployment

5. Commitment to quality and reliability

6. Customer-oriented approach

7. Collaboration with business partners

These are described in more detail below

First Komatsu Way: Workplace (Genba) philosophy

This includes attention to workplace health and safety, identification of workplace problems and issues, thorough studying of an issue before attempting a solution, taking the time and effort to ensure things happen, and a focus on the facts before making any assumptions.

Second Komatsu Way: Staff development

This includes a commitment to ongoing education and training of staff, empowering them with the knowledge and the freedom to carry out their daily tasks.

It also involved encouraging all managers to respect and continually empower their staff through creating an environment of teamwork, motivation, communication, education, training, development, leadership and continuous appraisals.

The underlying philosophy of management is that Komatsu employees make it a great company with the aim of creating an environment where each individual is encouraged to stay involved in their skill, profession and expertise, because this will help that individual achieve greater things in their lives.

Third Komatsu Way: Defining the root causes of issues

Komatsu has a culture of asking "why" five times as part of the process of dealing with issues because that will eventually help answer the uncertainties and set a clear picture in decision making, or even help find the true cause of an incident.

Fourth Komatsu Way: Policy deployment

Komatsu Australia has an on-going policy deployment process carried out by senior management to determine and set the company's goals of the company. These include regular board and strategy meetings to continually re-shape the goals and check the direction of this company.

And when goals are set, a plan is created, which is then executed and regular checks put in place to review the progress and results.

Fifth Komatsu Way: Commitment to quality and reliability

Komatsu has a long-established commitment to designing, manufacturing and selling what it calls Dantotsu ("Unique & Unrivalled") products a commitment that extends to its customer service and support offerings.

Sixth Komatsu Way: Customer-oriented approach.

In Australia and New Zealand, this approach is demonstrated by the fact that almost 70% of Komatsu Australia staff work in customer-support roles such as service, parts, contracts and Reman, plus its KOWA and Condition Monitoring Services.

Seventh Komatsu Way: Collaboration with business partners.This comes from the recognition that, to succeed in on a daily basis, both as individuals and as a company, Komatsu Australia and its employees need to work together with their partners, both internal and external.

Internal partners include departments within a branch or other branches, and including service, parts, sales, field service teams, head office and so on, while external partners are include Komatsu factories around the world, as well as external suppliers of products and services, working together to achieve a common goal.

"From our customers' perspectives, the Komatsu Way creates a unified image of how we work as a company," said Bill.

"By continually using the Komatsu Way we will help maintain this image which will ultimately assist in growth of the company and the spirit of Komatsu."