CEO Kazuto Yamaki gives a virtual tour of the Sigma factory, where all of the company's art and cinema lenses are manufactured.
If you've ever dreamed of getting to see how high-end cinema Sigma lenses are made, you're in luck. During his latest visit to Japan, Johnnie Behiri of cinema5D was granted access to the Sigma factory in Aizu, just 4 hours north of Tokyo. With the company's CEO Kazuto Yamaki himself leading the way, take a look at how Sigma has achieved perfect manufacturing harmony between not only old and new machinery but also human and machine in the factory tour below.
If you expected to get your run-of-the-mill factory tour, I'm happy to say you were mistaken. In a surprisingly touching and emotional video, Behiri manages to take us inside not only the factory where 1400 employees work to create some of the best glass in the world but inside the history of the company as well.
Michihiro Yamaki founded Sigma in 1961 and remained the CEO until his passing in 2012, upon which his son, Kazuto Yamaki, took over the role. Other than the lenses, perhaps the most beautiful thing about the company is how they value the work of their employees. When describing his managing style, Yamaki-san explained:
When my father founded the company, he didn't want to be the dictator or strong company owner. He wanted to be more harmonized with the company. Sigma means "the summation," right, so he wanted [the company to be] the summation of people's power, people's knowledge, people's experience, people's wisdom. So, that's the meaning of Sigma's name.
Aside from the dedicated staff assembling many parts of the art and cinema lenses, Sigma also uses a variety of machines, both old and new, to get the job done. Why would one of the biggest camera and lens manufacturers in the world work with dated machinery? According to Yamaki-san, it's because some of the older tools are just more efficient at performing tasks, as well as training employees to operate them.
To learn more about Behiri's visit to the Sigma factory, head on over to cinema5D.