The strong intrinsic which Japanese manufacturing industry has 7
“The reason why we can produce them is because there are the customers who buy them.” We sometimes forget this fact. The essay this time covers my experience about this fact.
I said “All of you have doctorate degrees and I imagined that you are doing research in your own laboratory by yourself but you are not.”
Then their answer back was “We are not responsible only for developing products, but also for selling them. So we need to work together. It is absolutely impossible for one person to do all.”
In other words, they were responsible for doing their own tasks by exploring market needs, developing products, producing products and selling them.
There were two things that surprised me when I saw the work of the American top companies.
Question: What do you think is the two things that surprised me? Please imagine.
The strong intrinsic which Japanese manufacturing industry has 6
I took a business trip to Nanjing for three days. I was stimulated by the speed of change there, such as taxi dispatch, train booking, payment for buying things, etc., even senior people are using smartphones. And the bicycle lane that was not there a year ago was there.
I got an opportunity to visit two companies in San Francisco in December 2015, company A and company B. From the fact that the two companies are the top IT companies in the world, I imagined that there are many doctors who obtained doctorate degrees at famous universities and are studying in their own laboratory. However, at the inside of the company reality was completely different from my expectation. There were no individual laboratories in the office, the arrangement of desks was ordered with ordinary square desks arranged side by side, there were no partitions, just like the old Japanese offices. But the big difference was that there were not many people on the desk where they were located, but many people were talking here and there, at the walls, including the corridor, which were all white boards, with a lot of notes remaining.
Two women and one man were talking in the aisle of company B. I was interested in the conversation of those people and I interrupted them. One of the two women was the vice president, the other woman was a marketer, and the man was an engineer.
As the three people were from different departments, I asked a question if they got the permission to meet from their bosses. Because in Japan, it is often necessary to have a stiff process such as “needing permission from the boss”, such as “Do you let me go over?” When it comes across discussions across departments.
But they did not understand my question at all. So I explained that in Japan, it is often needed permission from our boss when we meet with other department people. Then they answered to me that if they did such an awkward thing, they would never match the speed of change in the present era.
Question: I think it is a very effective to use white boards to get good solutions. How do you use the whiteboards at your company?
Change in the world and the problems with Japanese manufacturing industry. 6
There are various names for the coming era. What kind of names are there in America?
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In English “mass customization” may be the word which shows the coming trend of manufacturing. In the coming era, as the consumers already have most of the things they want, you do not buy it unless you really like it and the price is as reasonable as the mass produced products.
From the view point of production, even if the consumer demands become very individual, the production cost should be as low as the mass production. This is the mass customization. Then it is required to develop products which take customers’ request one after another, take orders, produce them and collect payment in a short time.
It can be said that the market and the manufacturing are changing from the era of mass production to mass customization.
Question : The time may come when the price is low even for individual custom production. The 3D printer shows the new way of custom production. Have you already seen this trend?