The strong intrinsic which Japanese manufacturing industry has 1
I have written about “Change in the world and the problems with Japanese manufacturing industry”. From this issue, I start writing about “The strong intrinsic which Japanese production industry has”.
I have worked as Kaizen consultant so far and I would like to introduce what happens on shop floor. As my title is Kaizen consultant, the presidents who use me expect to improve the work efficiency and product quality by applying Kaizen technic on shop-floor.
However, in addition to the improvement of work efficiency and product quality, development of new products or new markets often occurs. But as I have no experience or knowledge in developing new products or marketing, it is certain that the result is not brought by my guidance.
I do Kaizen on shop-floor wearing the work uniform of the plant. The important point is that there are always the president and other top people from design, sales, marketing, engineering and so on. All of us do Kaizen on shop-floor together and in the process of this activity, there may be the clue to the development of new products and new market.
Question: Have you ever experienced that super ideas came out while all the people are doing kaizen and chatting on site?
P.S. I received the title “Advanced Technology Meister FY2017” from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. I am happy.
Change in the world and the problems with Japanese manufacturing industry. 8
What should we do against various changes?
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By my observation, these changes are not temporary, and it is the result of changes in the business environment. Management must start fighting against these changes. Managers need to abandon their successful experiences so far and start their management reform with the intention of reviewing everything from scratch. Their future is not on the extension of the past experiences.
Then, how can we improve our production management? Is there a way of improving our production way without staying in the conventional way of our Kaizen or improvement?
Looking at the media reports, there are plenty of pessimistic information about Japanese production industry.
Question What kind of Kaizen do we need?
Change in the world and the problems with Japanese manufacturing industry. 7
Last time, I wrote about what is coming in America. What is happening in Japan?
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Mr. Kentaro Ohyama, the president of Iris Ohyama Inc. named the coming era as “User in”. The era of “Market in” is going away and we have to face the customer more directly. To have the ability to respond the customers’ requests which are very different each other is becoming more important.
And recently, information technology such as AI(Artificial Intelligence) has advanced very rapidly. In addition to AI a variety of new information technologies such as IoT and Big Data processing, or new manufacturing technologies like 3D printers are born, it is also important to have the technical ability to respond them immediately if necessary.
In the era of mass customization and user in, we must have the wisdom and technology to use and develop the essence of these innovative information and manufacturing technology.
But it is said that Japan has been very behind America and Europe in the field of the total information technology like Industry 4,0.
Question Do you also think that Japan is behind?
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?