Kaizen before Tokyo Olympic
It is less than three years till the Tokyo Olympic games. Various preparations will be carried out for it in Tokyo, Japan. In other words, the Japanese economy may be kept in good level because big money is spent for the preparation and money turns around in Japan.
However, the population of Japan keeps decreasing then and the shrink of the Japanese market and the decrease of the working population will suddenly come out after the Olympic and the Paralympic games are over.
Therefore, for these three years when economy is maintained, it is necessary to carry out Kaizen and to change all including producing processes, designing, controlling stock level, selling products and so on dramatically. We must prepare before that a big change will happen in four years same as preparing an umbrella if it will rain tomorrow.
However, there are many companies which are already busy and complain to have no time to do Kaizen. But there is no meaning to explain why you cannot implement Kaizen to me a consultant. Because four years will surely pass.
Let’s stop saying the reason why you cannot do, instead think how to do.
Actual examples will be shown in the next topic.
Technical skill and technology in the future
I have talked about a technical skill and technology that I found on the shop-floor twice. This time, I would like to write how we should proceed and improve the technical skill and technology in the future.
In bookstores I can find many books titled as “Work to disappear for another several years…”or “Menace of the robot…”.
Because of the progress of a computer technology, many incredible matters happened as the world champion of Go game was beaten by the computer. We tend to feel the pressure that people are robbed of their job by robots.
I have often been asked “what do you think will happen from now on?”, and now I got a clear answer recently. Like Mr. S the plant manager of the topic No.9, we are not used by computers but we use up them. We progress and improve more by utilizing computer and do not need to worry about.
Then what should we do in order to do so? But…recently we are used to the current situation, and do not feel the needs of Kaizen, don’t we? If so, it is a big problem. There are still so many insufficient things around us.
For example, the quality of our products are far from perfect and the yield ratio is still low. There are no computers and facilities which elderly persons can easily work with in spite of necessity while population is decreasing. There are surprisingly many things to be improved.
Do you try to change all of the things that you should change around you? Then the technology for that purpose become necessary, and at that time I think that the progressed computer supports us as a convenient tool.
Recently for the motion Kaizen I use a wearable camera which is sold at the electric appliance stores. Many varieties of wearable cameras come out if you enter “wearable camera” in Amazon web page. The weight is only dozens of grams, a very light video camera.
For example, if you want to make an assembly operation video, you put the video camera on your head and video the hand movement. And if you explain the operation while doing the job, you can produce the video with the voice explanation.
In the past, video cameras were big, it was impossible to wear it. Then a camera person should take vide behind the operator. Then it was difficult to take a good picture, the hand motion not visible and the voice not clear. In addition, the operator became nervous when he or she felt being taken video.
In this sense, you can make a very good very easily when you use the wearable camera.
And splendid Kaizen plan comes out from the members if you watch the operation with a slightly big screen such as a tablet computer together on the spot.
The wearable camera is a product of recent technology. You can easily take the picture which is easy to watch clearly, but was not possible in the old days.
Plant manager started computer
Computers were called “electronic calculator” in the old days, but they are artificial intelligence (A.I.) these days and people talk that the computer may take over human work.
I have sometimes expected and sometimes worried what in the future would happen.
But I came across a splendid Kaizen related to this topic the other day in Company B.
Company B produces press dies. Recently the performance of the metal sheets are very high, much lighter and much stronger and it causes “spring-back” that is easy to be back again after the metal is bent. As the result, the dies became complicated, and the die design also became difficult.
Therefore, the company B purchased a computer software which could simulate the complicated spring-back phenomenon. Then, 60-year-old Mr. S the plant manager who he did not like computers and he did not touch them till then, but he decided to learn it from young engineers and became capable to use the simulation.
I asked Mr. S what happened to the engineering? Mr. S having high-level experience and technical skill becomes able to use the software of a recent technology.
Mr. S answered, “This software is so great. Before I repeated work in so many times till I get the final shape, but now I can get it by one trial!”. Thanks to the software, the productive capacity went up, and the communication with the young engineer was improved. And I am going to challenge ●●●● which is Don’t you think this is miracle?”.
Mr. S’s skill level became much higher by applying IT. It is not that his skill was taken over by IT. I saw a very good example how to use IT technology.
１． Though I could not use the computer, I learned it and it was good!
２．Because the productive capacity went up, and the communication with the young people became much better.
３．Though secret, it is — now.
What is it?
４．I pretend to work and enjoy YouTube.
Don’t do that!