Fruit selection process Employee interview

Processing department
manager, processing department

Hideaki Sakuraba

Q. What made you decide to join the company and what kind of career have you had since joining?

I have been with the company for 20 years. Prior to that, I worked outside the prefecture as a truck driver and for a road-related company. After returning to my hometown, I worked part-time as a driver at an apple store and got to know people in the apple industry. One of the employees who was working for this company at the time invited me to work with him, and I joined the company.

I think it was about 3 years ago that I became the general manager of the site. Until then, I had been looking at things from the same perspective as the person in charge, so there was no major change in my feelings just because I became the person in charge.

There are always challenges in managing people, managing apples, and promoting the overall plan. Our role is to solve them one by one, but if we increase the amount of apples flowing, the quality will change, and if we reduce the amount, the overall plan will be delayed. We are trying to find a balance between the two through trial and error. Next season, we expect to put in new machines again, which will increase both efficiency and quality.

This year was a particularly big step forward for us in that we were able to hire management candidates. It is gratifying to have more people who can see things from the same perspective as I do.

Q. What are the difficulties, rewards and interesting aspects of your job?

I try not to refuse any requests I am asked to do in the course of my work, and it is a challenge for me to follow through on this. However, when I was young, I was told by the chairman of the board, “You can’t do something without doing it,” and I have always tried to do what I was asked to do by first thinking about “how I can do it. I think the same was true for my predecessor.

In fact, I would like to teach the younger members not only about work skills, but also about the stance they should take and what is important for them as human beings.

Q. What are your future goals and what do you want to work on?

The president has given us a management guideline, and we are now formulating our goals for the next 10 years. What we are aiming for as a whole is important, so I would like to create that first.

On the other hand, while keeping such a long-term perspective, it is also important to accumulate such goals day in and day out. If we can move forward one thing at a time, little by little, we should be able to make solid progress in a few months time. I want to work on management with both a short-term and long-term perspective.

Industrial processing dept,
Director of fruit sorting plant No. 1

Tomoka Osanai

※1st right in the photo

Q. Why did you join the company and what was your career after joining?

I have been with the company for 29 years, including part-time. I became an employee about 16 years ago. The reason why I joined the company was because this company was located on the way to pick up my son from daycare, and I often rode my bicycle there. At the time, I was a bit naive and entered the company as a housewife’s temporary position, hoping to work just two hours a day.

At first I worked only two hours, but as my children grew up, I worked four hours, then eight hours, and now I am an associate employee.

Now I am in charge of the entire first fruit picking area. Is there a glut of apples somewhere? Is anyone overflowing with work? How can we improve the situation if a problem arises? I am working with these things in mind

Q. What is the most difficult, challenging, and interesting part of your job?

I think the most rewarding part is when I am able to fulfill an order. I feel a sense of accomplishment. Besides that, I also enjoy the day-to-day activities. Basically, I guess I like being busy. If there is too much work, I sometimes get into a state of panic, but I enjoy it more when I am being chased.

Q. What are your future goals and what do you want to work on?

I am now 59 years old, nearing retirement. I would like to leave the job to the person who will succeed me and see it through three years before retirement. What I value as a supervisor is the human spirit. I try to tell people what they should do, rather than giving them bad advice.

I myself learned to do my job by watching and imitating, but now I try to convey words from my own drawer so that I don’t make them learn by watching and imitating.

In the fruit picking area, products are made through the accumulation of each person’s work. I want to continue to think about how I can get everyone to do their part and talk to them about it.

Package group leader

Akemi Kobori

Q. Why did you join the company and what was your career after joining?

Most recently, I worked for a sewing company. I was working while raising three children, and I was having a hard time balancing work and family.

There were times when I had no choice but to take time off for my children’s events, but I was never treated well… I wanted to work for a company where I could balance work and childcare.

Just when I was thinking that I wanted to work for a company where I could balance work and child rearing, I received a flyer for a job opening at our company.

I found a job flyer that said that people with children were welcome. I applied for the job. At the interview, I told them that I wanted to work while raising children, and they understood and hired me.

Q. What is the most difficult, challenging, and interesting part of your job?

I feel happy when I can deliver apples in a beautiful way. I like to think about how to combine apples with each other. Currently, I am in charge of a team of 8 to 10 people as a group leader.

It is not easy to organize a team. But I think I am able to fulfill my role as a team leader because I have the help of everyone. I myself am the type of person who burns more when I am busy. When we finish a project by the deadline, we all share how well it was done and how great it was! I feel rewarded at such moments.

Q. What are your future goals and what do you want to work on?

When I joined the company, I was a part-timer, but the company offered me a position and I am now an employee. When I was asked if I wanted to become an employee, I felt happy that the company had seen how hard I had worked.

So far I have been in charge of packaging, but in the future I would like to be able to do all the work in the fruit-sorting plant. Among the part-time workers, there is one who can do a wider range of work than I can as an employee, and I am impressed by her ability to do everything. I would like to expand the range of work I can do like her. If I can do a variety of tasks myself, I can help other workers, and I am thinking of getting a forklift license. If I can ride a forklift, I can pick up the apples my team needs by myself on the forklift without relying on the forklift operator.

I sometimes wonder if I have the ability to lead a team. I sometimes wonder if I have the ability to organize a team, but I would like to create a better atmosphere than we have now. I think it is important to talk to them to create a good atmosphere. I want to make it lively and fun.

If you are like me 6 years ago, when I was at a loss as to how to balance work and child-rearing, I would like to invite you to work with us. I would like to tell them that I am looking forward to working with them. At the company I worked for before, they did not understand that I had to take time off because of my child’s illness or school events, and there were times when I felt uncomfortable. But that is not the case at our company. Since many of us are raising children, I feel that we support each other.

And finally… I am from outside of the prefecture, and I didn’t know anything about apples until I joined the company. But now I am able to work here. Even if you are not familiar with apples like me, you will learn a lot while working here, so don’t worry.

Industrial Processing Dept.

Kuribayashi Yuki

Q. Why did you join the company and what was your career after joining?

My previous job was as a government employee. It was difficult to balance work with child-rearing due to my special work style, and when I thought about my future career, I changed jobs because I wanted to find a new path by the time I was 30 years old.

I went through various companies during my job search and finally decided to work for us because I felt that this company was the one that needed me the most.

For the first six months after I joined the company, I was just trying to learn as much as I could so that I could lighten the workload of the section manager. My family was an apple farmer, so I did not start from zero, but I do feel the difficulty of discerning the subtle differences in rank. By continuing to do this every year, I hope to become more knowledgeable about apples.

Q. What is the most difficult, challenging, and interesting part of your job?

I see it as my role to make sure that everything is running smoothly in the sorting area. I keep an eye on whether there are any malfunctions in the machines, whether the supply of apples is running late, and whether the personnel are in place – I work with these things in mind.

I see my role as a behind-the-scenes worker, and I am committed to creating an environment and system that allows me to work smoothly and efficiently so that I do not hold up the hands of the main staff. In order to do so, I feel that I need to act without being more reserved than necessary.

Q. What are your future goals and what do you want to work on?

I believe that “status quo is the same as decline.” Even if we repeat days in the same way, it is the same as declining as time and times change. My goal is to build a team where we can gradually improve and enhance each other from the same perspective. I feel that it would be great if we could create a workplace where everyone can improve each other more.

If we can create such an environment, I believe it will naturally lead to more efficient workplaces and higher production rates. To this end, I would like to eliminate stagnation in communication and miscommunication.

Personally, I would like to obtain a forklift license this summer, and eventually I am thinking about obtaining a large-size forklift license.

I want to be a member of Marujin Sun Apple, not necessarily a big person, but someone who is necessary.
I want to be able to pinch-hit for a lift or drive a truck when there is suddenly a shortage in some department. By increasing what I can do, I hope to become someone who can help others in a pinch.

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