It has been over four years since Lucite International (LI) became part of Mitsubishi Rayon Corporation Ltd (MRC), strengthening its position as the world’s largest supplier of MMA.

The philosophy of working better together is a simple concept, but what does this mean in practice? Across the business work is underway to make a real difference, deliver improvements and, ultimately, add value to customers. For the Resins business a group of people from three different countries and four different businesses are bringing their individual talents and team thinking to a series of six-monthly meetings where ideas are shared, opportunities discussed, actions agreed and progress made.

In 2013, the Resins team met in April in the UK and August in the USA. Those at the gathering included participants from MRC, LI, LISPR and DIA (Dianal America Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of MRC based in Pasadena, Texas). The integrated approach also extends to seconding employees from MRC’s HQ in Tokyo to LI’s R&D Centre in Wilton, to its manufacturing sites in Cassel and Darwen, UK and to its HQ in Southampton with job functions ranging from HR Manager to Senior Research Scientist and Product Manager all being involved.

Osamu Sakazume has been seconded to LI since July 2011 to the role of Group Management Accountant at the company’s Southampton HQ. Osamu explains what he feels is the biggest difference about working in the UK versus Japan: “In the UK it is common for qualified accountants with experience of working in accounting firms to work for general companies. This does not happen in Japan, but it is a good idea. I enjoy working with supportive colleagues, who are real team players. They all have a great sense of humour and even though I don’t always understand immediately, I’m sure that we think alike and it’s just a matter of time for my English to catch up.”

In addition to the secondees immersing themselves in the British culture, LI employees are learning about their Japanese colleagues. Kozo Hisamoto, Product Manager for Monomers based at the Cassel site, writes a monthly e-news called ‘Something about Japan’, to help his colleagues understand more about the country. The newsletters range in subject from commuting into Tokyo to active volcanoes. Kozo has been with LI since April 2013 and explains what he is enjoying most: “Having worked in sales at MRC, I understand how market dynamics and their effect on customers need to be balanced against achieving corporate objectives. Also, it is great to be able to experience so many new things that are broadening my horizons: language, ways of doing things, food, weather, everyday life, and it is lovely to spend more time with my family.”

LI and MRC are committed to continuing their strong working relationship and integration in order to drive growth and provide a wider offer to existing customers.