Razor burn is a common skincare complaint among men. That explains why lubricating strips are now viewed as a basic component of a razor cartridge, as it helps soothe and moisturize the skin after shaving. We met with Jeong Hoon Ko, Chief of Deputy General Manager, the star who enabled lubricating strips to be a key feature of DORCO razors.
Q. What was the biggest challenge in your career so far?
I have faced many challenges throughout my career but developing lubricating strips was definitely the biggest. Today, it is hard to find a razor without lubricating strips. However, in the early 2000s, there were only few DORCO razors fitted with lubricating strips. Back then, we did not have talents who had expertise or enough knowledge about lubricating strips.
Q. What was your role in the development of the lubricating strips?
I was responsible for the in-house production of lubricating strips. In the beginning, the production was outsourced to extrusion vendors. However, the production was small and slow, which led to higher manufacturing costs. To address these problems, I researched about lubricating strips and came to a conclusion that changing the production method from double-shot molding to extrusion was the way to go. That’s how process of building an extruder began, but we faced another obstacle.
Q. What was the obstacle?
While I was at it, I wanted to plan it as best as I could. But it turned out that there was an error in the calculation of the production speed. I calculated it based on the weight of lubricating strips. The miscalculation was due to my lack of understanding about how an extrusion machine worked. It is no exaggeration to say that I had a lifetime's worth of hammering during that one year of production. (Laughter) Fortunately, the development of extrusion machine was complete in three months, and pilot production finally took off.
Q. Did everything go as planned thereafter?
No. When the pilot production started, products came out different from what I expected. When the lubricating strip process did not go smoothly, I needed to go back to the pipe testing. The screws needed to be changed almost on a daily basis. In addition, thermal expansion caused a change to the volume. There was also an accident that could have been much worse. The mold was not assembled correctly, which caused the pressure to build up in the machine to the point that bolts flied out and brought about an explosion. It was a close call indeed.
Q. What was your take-away from the experience?
After extensive testing, I learned how to operate and assemble the equipment. Through numerous adjustments, the lubricating strip production line went into operation in September 2002. Looking back, one could say it was a reckless thing to do. But because we stuck our neck out, we have made it possible for DORCO to secure its own technology to produce lubricating strips 13 times faster than before. It is truly rewarding to see that the production line is still up and running, producing a large quantity of lubricating strips every month.
As Jeong Hoon Ko’s experience shows, there were many challenges along the way of turning a bold idea into reality. However, the can-do spirit is what made DORCO as it is today. His achievements are the embodiment of DORCO’s corporate values of creativity, passion, and global competitiveness. Today, he is joined by many colleagues, who have been developing various types of lubricating strips such as flat, round and dual strips. Please keep your eyes out for DORCO’s ever-evolving lubricating strips!