- The Glico Seven Principles
Consider every possibility with an open mind, and find creative ways to make a difference.
The invention and launch of Glico nutritious caramel typify Ri-ichi’s “創意工夫” (Creativity). Wholly convinced his product would sell, despite the time and expense it might require, he adopted all kinds of clever strategies, including naming it “Glico” after the nutrient it contains, glycogen; the heart-shaped caramels; the coloring of the package; the catchphrase; the Goal-in Mark depicting a runner crossing a finish line; and the toys.
Not limited to the actual product, Ri-ichi’s “創意工夫” (Creativity) knew no bounds when it came to drawing attention to Glico as an item created from a desire to promote people’s health in body and mind. He employed promotional flyers with discount coupons, and newspaper ads to set his company apart from others, and he distributed small “tasting packages,” each containing two Glico caramel pieces, to stores as samples with a sign saying, “Have a taste.” This philosophy Ri-ichi possessed at the time of the company’s founding sprits, living on today within the Glico Group.
Don’t rest or become distracted after you’ve accomplished one thing.
Take the next step proactively by accelerating the effort you put into it.
If you’re complacent, you’ll miss the chance of making something even greater.
For the summer right after the launch of Glico nutritious caramel, Ri-ichi obtained special permission to install a virtuous vending machine at the Hamadera swimming beach on Osaka Bay in the name of “nurturing public spirit.” The machine worked by inserting a coin into the slot and removing a product. It was an unattended sales outlet reliant on the goodwill of customers and could be considered a precursor of today’s “Office Glico” stalls. (“Office Glico” is a service that sells/provides confectionery, food, and beverages in dedicated boxes for use in workplaces, stores, factories, medical institutions, etc.) And while other companies had their eyes on Hamadera and the success of the virtuous vending machine, Ri-ichi was already making his next move. Based on the success at Hamadera, he expanded deployment of the vending machines, making a pitch to Osaka hospitals to have them installed in waiting rooms. This was in keeping with his own philosophy: “In business, momentum is crucial. With momentum, three becomes five, or even six. We cannot let an opportunity for a breakthrough pass us by.”
“When we are already on a roll, we can reap big awards with little effort. If we let that momentum slow, it will require many times that effort to achieve the same result.”
Do not be satisfied with one success. Go one step further. That is the very meaning of “積極果敢” (Proactiveness).
Don’t give in to difficulties. Look at all the opportunities open to you.
Sales of Glico nutritious caramel did not grow as Ri-ichi might have hoped and the company struggled financially for some time. Eventually, even the most dependable employees began to grumble about sales not picking up no matter how hard they tried. In the market, though, there were definitely people who needed Glico nutritious caramel, like mothers who gave the caramels to children who were frail on a doctor’s recommendation. Ri-ichi had faith in the product they had put so much thought into. Firmly resolved to be of service to society and wholly committed to seeing the product succeed, he and his employees persevered. The hard work gradually paid off. In June 1924, the company posted its first profit. A little over two years had elapsed since Glico nutritious caramel finally went on sale at Mitsukoshi in Osaka after dozens of visits and one rejection after another.
Don’t get caught up in superficialities. Recognize and value the true essence of things and of events.
“質実剛健” (Diligence) refers to the ethos of demonstrating “go for substance instead of form," a spirit that has carried over from the Edo period (1603–1867) in the founder’s home prefecture, Saga.
Ri-ichi believed in the importance of always setting ambitious goals and having firm resolve to stay true to one’s convictions. He also recognized the need, in whatever one did, to maintain a firm spiritual foundation with a sound state of mind and solid attitude to life.
“All it entails is continually going about everyday matters one at a time. For nutritional balance, I eat at least five different vegetables. And I make a point of chewing well. I also make sure my mind is at ease and do not brood. Whatever business challenge comes along, I set aside time to think about it, and when it is time for bed, I switch off mentally and intellectually to get a good night’s sleep.” These lifestyle practices—choosing nutrition over gourmet meals, chewing food well, and getting good rest—are certainly consistent with current ideas about health and productivity management.
Spend what needs to be spent, but make an effort to avoid wasting funds and resources.
After first going on sale at the Mitsukoshi department store in Osaka in February 1922, Glico nutritious caramel slowly started appearing in other stores. However, the product did not actually perform all that well. Times were tough with funds dwindling over the months as poor turnover led to a lot of merchandise being returned and as personnel, advertising and other expenses stacked up. To get through this difficult phase, Ri-ichi devised a long-term endurance plan. While they still had funds, he and his employees worked together to cut costs where they could and hold out until they turned profitable. It was important to not only save, but also to engage in purpose-driven efforts to avoid wastefulness.
As Ri-ichi explained to employees, “Just practicing ‘勤倹力行’ (Prudence) has an impact, there is no doubt about it. I am convinced Glico will eventually sell. But it is going to take one to two years for people to see its worth. Our ability to endure that period will determine our fate.” He directed effort into operational improvements that involved omitting as much wastefulness as possible, such as making only one phone call to get through three calls’ worth of business.
Work together as one team, bonded by mutual trust.
When the Second World War ended in 1945, the Glico Group had no equipment whatsoever and some employees lost heart. Ri-ichi gathered employees together and told them his views. He asked for the support of the entire workforce, appealing to them from the bottom of his heart.
“Glico is now as good as bankrupt. But I am not downhearted. Our factories and machines may have gone up in flames, but there is one asset not even the ravages of war could destroy—the Glico name. And we have our logo and our reputation. The trust we built up heart and soul over the past 20 years or so was not destroyed. Surely it is still there, lingering in people’s minds. And as long as our efforts and devotion remain worthy of that trust, there is no question Glico will recover. In fact, I believe we will not merely recover, but rather make a great leap forward.” Ri-ichi set up his office in a corner of the cafeteria and he lived there, too, while taking command of the recovery effort. Employees also mobilized, banding together to get the company back on its feet. Ri-ichi suggested this had much more to do with everyone coming together in the spirit of cooperation as opposed to simply being the sum total of individual capabilities.
“We have surmounted countless difficulties along our path to the present day, growing and developing. But this is the result of nothing other than the whole company coming together to unite and cooperate upon a foundation of mutual trust.”
Build a mutually beneficial relationship with our customers. Ensure that a spirit of contributing to society through our business is at the heart of everything we do.
“奉仕一貫” (Contribution) is the essence of business. “We go into business both for our own benefit and the benefit of society. Sellers sell items for gain, while buyers also gain, benefiting from the value of items they purchase. Business in the real sense is not feasible without this two-way mutually beneficial relationship. It will not grow.”
These words of a teacher from his childhood are what spurred Ri-ichi to create and commercialize Glico nutritious caramel while aiming to be of service to society. Ri-ichi believed that he could help to enhance people’s health through such a nutritious food, and that the toys were an educational tool, serving to nurture children’s minds and stimulate their aesthetic sensitivities.