GTM-MML4VXJ
Skip to main content

Case Study:Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Manufacturing

Successfully reformed shipping and receiving work processes of the intelligent transportation system (ITS) products and fostered efficiency-improvement activities

Download (1.28 MB )

In business, it is important to encourage the ability to make proactive improvements. The ICT Solution Headquarters of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. introduced Field Innovation in order to reform the Manufacturing Section , which handles the manufacture of the intelligent transportation system (ITS). The Field Innovators (hereafter FIers) worked with them to improve the shipping and receiving work procedures and it is expected that the productivity at the shipping site will increase by 30%.

【 Challenges & Results 】
1 Arrival of equipment concentrated on certain days, which placed a burden on receiving work

→

We improved the completion rate of check-in from the date of arrival to the following day from 73% to 95%
2 Frequent changes and additions to shipping equipment, which often required unplanned responses

→

We reduced the frequency of changes in shipping requests by listing the equipment configuration information
3 The reception period of equipment and the schedules for inspection and fieldwork were independently planned

→

We strengthened the system to check the entire process from reception to inspection and fieldwork

Promoting their own small-group activities

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries started a small-group activity "V+30UP" when ICT Solution Headquarters were established

Since its establishment in 1884, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has played an important role in Japan's modernization. It is continuing to support Japanese society and industry based on the four business domains of "Energy & Environment," "Commercial Aviation & Transportation Systems," "Integrated Defense & Space Systems" and "Machinery, Equipment & Infrastructure."

Hiroyuki Toda ITS Strategic Business Unit General Manager Deputy Head ICT Solution Headquarters Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Hiroyuki Toda
ITS Strategic Business Unit General Manager
Deputy Head
ICT Solution Headquarters
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

The ICT Solution Headquarters is responsible for the important mission of contributing to the information society in cooperation with each of these domains. "The headquarters were launched by integrating the IT-related departments of headquarters, the Electrical and Instrumentation Technology Department of the Nuclear Energy Systems Division, and the ITS Strategic Business Unit (*SBU) of the Land Transportation Systems Division in the Commercial Aviation & Transportation Systems domain. We aim to promote business solutions utilizing ICT as well as the heavy industrial machinery and vessel business domains, for which Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is known. It is our role to bring together and organize ICT engineers that belonged to each domain and promote ICT-related business domains," explained Hiroyuki Toda, general manager of the ITS SBU and deputy head of ICT Solution Headquarters.

"The headquarters needed to improve the sense of unity as an organization because the employees had previously belonged to different divisions and are now required to function as a team. Therefore we started a small-group activity called 'V+30UP' when the headquarters were established. This activity aims to improve value by more than 30% in any business. Each group set its theme and worked on improvement and innovation," Mr. Toda continued.

In addition, the headquarters introduced Fujitsu Field Innovation in order to promote this activity even more strongly. Mr. Toda explained the reason for this. "This started when members of the headquarters learned about Field Innovation at a seminar held by Fujitsu. When I heard the details and learned how it is contributing to improvements in many worksites, I thought I would love to adopt this know-how for 'V+30UP' as well."

*SBU:Strategic Business Unit (a business unit in the evaluation system of strategic business)

Challenging the innovation of the Manufacturing Section

Shipping and receiving work at the shipping base, which was overburdened

Yasunori Takahata Deputy Manager Manufacturing Section Intelligent Transport System Manufacturing Department ICT Solution Headquarters Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (as of September, 2015)Yasunori Takahata
Deputy Manager
Manufacturing Section
Intelligent Transport System Manufacturing Department
ICT Solution Headquarters
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (as of September, 2015)

This time, Field Innovation took action in the Manufacturing Section, which manufactures ITS equipment including toll-collection machines used on highways. This department takes care of the entire process from creating a schedule for the installation of a toll-collection machine to ordering parts used to make the machine, assembly and inspection, shipping to the installation site and managing the installation work at the site.

In this series of processes, the "shipping base" especially had problems. The shipping base handles work including receiving parts which are ordered from its business partners, inventory control and shipping of products after assembly and inspection.

Kazuto Iwasawa ITS product Manufacturing Section Intelligent Transport System Manufacturing Department ICT Solution Headquarters Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (as of September, 2015)Kazuto Iwasawa
ITS product
Manufacturing Section
Intelligent Transport System Manufacturing Department
ICT Solution Headquarters
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (as of September, 2015)

"I mainly work overseas, but misunderstanding can happen in communicating information such as what product of what structure needs to be shipped to where and when, in addition there are sometimes cases when we later rush to ship parts that were originally needed. Similar cases often happened in the shipping base of the domestic business," said Yoshinori Takahata, deputy manager of Manufacturing Section, ICT Solution Headquarters. "There were many points that needed to be remedied for the future such as how to adjust inventory control and how to store the products after inspection," recalled Kazuto Iwasawa, in charge of ITS product, Manufacturing Section Intelligent Transport System Manufacturing Department, ICT Solution Headquarters.

Fumikazu Himeno Manufacturing Section Intelligent Transport System Manufacturing Department ICT Solution Headquarters Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (as of September, 2015)

Fumikazu Himeno
Manufacturing Section
Intelligent Transport System Manufacturing Department
ICT Solution Headquarters
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (as of September, 2015)

The introduction of Field Innovation became a unique opportunity to overcome this situation. "We have always made improvement when necessary at the work site of course. But the shipping base is located in the middle of the work process, so it is inevitable for it to be affected by both the situation on the ordering side and the construction side. This project received a warm welcome and brought hope as it was a great chance to improve something that is difficult to do on our own," said Fumikazu Himeno, Manufacturing Section, Intelligent Transport System Manufacturing Department , ICT Solution Headquarters.

Mr. Toda also shared the same idea. "I actually did not pay attention to the work at the shipping base only. By looking over the entire business process here from upstream to downstream, you may notice points that can solve a variety of work issues. This is what I'm aiming at," he revealed.

Extracted the points to be made visible based on the awareness of issues and hypotheses drawn from interviews. The FIers in charge of the project drew up a list of six points that need to be made visible based on the information collected including interviews with members. They made clear the issues hidden in the traditional work process.

The FIers in charge of the project drew up a list of six points that need to be made visible based on the information collected including interviews with members. They made clear the issues hidden in the traditional work process.

Narrowing down the points to make visible

We made visible the entire work process including the upstream and downstream processes

The FIers first interviewed all the people that were concerned with the work at the shipping base. While ascertaining the flow of the work process and what issues those in charge were aware of, we then formed hypotheses and elicited points to make visible in this project.

We then worked on mapping out the entire process including the upstream and downstream processes of the shipping base such as ordering parts and requesting the shipment of equipment to the worksite. By clearly identifying three points in the upstream process: "many orders based on assumed number," "the volume of incoming shipments varies greatly and frequently" and "the warehouse is operating near full capacity;" and three points in the downstream process: "frequent changes and an urgent need to respond," "frequent updates in the shipment request details" and "the pattern of accessories is complicated," we investigated the issues of the entire work surrounding the shipping base.

"We had always worked on improvement with in-house members only, so reconsidering our work together with people from outside our company was a very new experience. FIers are professionals with plenty of on-site experience, so I was able to consider issues from a new viewpoint and with a new way of thinking," Mr. Iwasawa recalled.

"What I felt was very different from a typical consulting service was that they organized and suggested concrete steps toward improvement and innovation including the reasons behind them. Once we fully understand the reasons behind something, we can work on it with confidence on our side, too. I felt this will surely bring a good outcome," Mr. Toda said.

Unexpected facts that became visible

Concentration of incoming equipment shipments and confusing configuration of equipment became issues

For the above six points that need to be made visible, the FIers observed and investigated the worksites and analyzed the data of each step in the process. As a result, unexpected facts became clear. The first one was that incoming shipments from part makers tended to concentrate on certain days. We had recognized that there was a larger amount of shipments arriving at the end of each month, but there were also other days when the shipments from several makers arrived at the same time. On the busiest day, shipments from as many as seven makers arrived on a certain day.

"While receiving one shipment of parts, parts from another maker arrive and the amount we needed to check in reaches more than we can handle. We always felt this was an issue, but it was very good to see this issue was shown with concrete data. Negotiating with makers and ordering departments does not go smoothly without objective data to base the discussion on. I strongly felt the importance of making an improvement based on quantitative numbers," Mr. Himeno said.

Fact made visible (1) "The volume of incoming shipments varies greatly and frequently

It became clear that incoming shipments from suppliers tended to concentrate on certain days. This was a major cause for overwork.

The second issue is that shipping requests are frequently changed by the on-site representative managing the installation of the equipment. Many of them were due to addition and changes of the equipment to be shipped, which accounted for about 35% of all the updates.

Fact made visible (2) "Frequent changes in the shipment request details" The fact that shipping requests made by an on-site representative were frequently revised was also an issue. It is mainly due to addition and changes to the equipment to be shipped, which accounted for about 35% of all changes.

The fact that shipping requests made by an on-site representative were frequently revised was also an issue. It is mainly due to addition and changes to the equipment to be shipped, which accounted for about 35% of all changes.

The third issue is that about 12% of the stock stored in the shipping base was long-term stock of more than seven years. "Even for products whose life cycle are about to end, there are cases where we need to hold some stock for repairs and maintenance. But, to be honest, we were surprised to learn that long-term stock of more than seven years is still being stored at this ratio," Mr. Takahata said.

Fact made visible (3) "Long-term stock of more than 7 years" After investigating the situation of long-term stock at the shipping base, it became clear that more than 12% of the stock stored was long-term stock of more than seven years.

After investigating the situation of long-term stock at the shipping base, it became clear that more than 12% of the stock stored was long-term stock of more than seven years.

Setting up three policy themes

We promoted concrete action for improvement based on the important issues that have been summarized

The members who participated in this action held an in-depth discussion to create a solution plan based on these facts that have been made clear. After organizing a wide array of issues, we summarized the important issues that would be the key for our action into three points: "the arrival schedule of equipment, the in-house inspection schedule and the schedule for installation work on site are all independent," "there are many shipping requests that need urgent response and problems arise at the last minute due to inadequate confirmation of the details beforehand" and "incoming shipments concentrate on certain days"

Members having an intense discussion We had an intense discussion in order to form a plan for policies based on the issues that have been exposed by making information visible. Active discussion for improvement was repeated.

We had an intense discussion in order to form a plan for policies based on the issues that have been exposed by making information visible. Active discussion for improvement was repeated.

Important issues from the entire shipping work were summarized into 3 points After looking at a wide array of issues, we summarized the important ones that would be the key for our action into three points. We analyzed them further and thoroughly investigated the real cause behind the issues.

After looking at a wide array of issues, we summarized the important ones that would be the key for our action into three points. We analyzed them further and thoroughly investigated the real cause behind the issues.

Furthermore, we set up three tasks to work on to resolve these important issues: "enable the checking function of the installation work schedule and the equipment arrival period," "make equipment configuration easy to understand when installing it on site" and "visualize the expected dates of arrival and adjust the arrival dates beforehand." We categorized them into nine policy themes to implement in total, and promoted concrete activities.

Mr. Takahata added: "For instance, I was in charge of adjusting the equipment arrival dates and I worked on creating a list of items expected to arrive within the next four weeks so that each department related to the work could understand the arrival schedule clearly. By doing so, each department can freely access the information it needs to know in the integrated master. Also, if you can see the dates when the arrival may concentrate on in advance, you can change and equal out the schedule."

If you can visualize and control the arrival schedule, you can also reduce the waste that is caused in the following process. Mr. Iwasawa said. "What's most important is on what date the equipment ordered will arrive. Without this information, we cannot decide the order of inspection process and we also may need to struggle to find a place to store the equipment. I was in charge of clarifying the standard delivery time for each product, and having an understanding of the arrival schedule was key to this."

Tasks to work on were set up based on the real causes discovered from the analysis Nine policy themes to implement were set up this time. Action for these is still being taken, bringing about positive results. *CSF=Critical Success Factor, meaning critical factors necessary to achieve a goal.

Nine policy themes to implement were set up this time. Action for these is still being taken, bringing about positive results.
*CSF=Critical Success Factor, meaning critical factors necessary to achieve a goal.

In addition, we made a component master of the equipment to ship and an accessory list that is different for each type of machine. These component masters and accessory lists contribute to reduce changes and additions of equipment to ship and urgent shipping work. We created them so the configuration of the equipment to ship will be clear and easy to understand. Mr. Himeno explained: "even if they are in the same series, required accessories are slightly different depending on the configuration on site. Traditionally, we had checked each by hand and requested shipment, which often caused failure in confirmation and mistakes. Therefore we are working on making a system so the necessary information will be automatically shown after you choose equipment to ship."

Achieving the goal ahead of schedule

We succeeded in improving the completion rate of check-in on the day following shipment arrival

We have also been taking a variety of other actions for improvement and innovation, which are producing positive results. For instance, one of the goals we set at the beginning of our action is "to improve the completion rate of the check-in procedure of received equipment by the following day from the current 73% to 95%." This goal was achieved more than two months ahead of schedule.

"Sometimes it used to take three or four days until the check-in procedure was completed, but now we can finish it by the following day unless there is a special reason. Being able to finish the check-in procedure quickly means being able to finish work in the following process quickly as well, this contributes to shortening overall work hours. Thanks to this, overtime hours have been remarkably reduced," said Mr. Himeno with a smile. We have also been striving to achieve the goal of reducing the frequency of changes in shipping requests by 30%, which was set up the same time.

Another major outcome is that "V+30UP" activity in the Manufacturing Section has gained momentum. Mr. Toda said: "We have a long history of forming small groups to address needed activity and we have repeatedly made improvements to the worksite, so we felt we should be able to handle this internally. But there is a limit to what we can do on our own when the business environment and improvement methods are frequently changing. By introducing Field Innovation at this time, we have been able to push our improvement actions forward to form a concrete plan of action and put it into practice. Looking at the atmosphere of the workplace as a whole, I feel that every member who participated in this project took action with a positive attitude."

Positive attitude to take action for improvement has taken root

Promoting Field Innovation with our suppliers and customers

The experience has changed the mentality of the project members greatly. "I originally participated as someone in an office position, but by working on the actual improvement as one of the members, I learned about issues outside my own work. The experience of sharing the issues with other members and organizing them in order to make improvements became a big asset for me. I am sure this experience will be very useful in making future improvements as well," Mr. Takahata said.

Mr. Himeno added: "The biggest change is that we have started to work as a team. Now all the members face common issues together instead of only certain people in charge working hard on them. I actually withdrew from the project temporarily to work as an on-site representative during the activity period, but no delays were caused while I was away. We were able to keep moving forward with the improvements along with our busy regular work and this is probably because such a robust system was established."

They also have a deep trust in the FIers who supported the project. "I was impressed to see not only their thorough knowledge of a variety of improvement methods but also their friendliness and facilitation skills. During meetings with all members, they always sought to create an atmosphere in which it was easy to talk so we could have an active discussion without hesitating to speak. We were able to proceed with the improvement actions with all members thanks to such attention from the FIers," Mr. Iwasawa said.

The improvement actions in the Manufacturing Section are ongoing, but the ICT Solution Headquarters are already developing a future-looking plan. Mr. Toda shares his ambition for the future and passionately said: "I would like to proceed with improvement and innovation with our business partners, which are our suppliers, and our customers. In this case, we have to be the promoter ourselves, so we need to master the method of Field Innovation. I would like to ask Fujitsu for their continuous warm support."

Customer profile

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Head Offices: (Shinagawa) 2-16-5 Konan, Minato-ku, Tokyo
(Yokohama) 3-3-1, Minatomirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama
Establishment: January 11, 1950
Capital: 265.6 billion yen
Number of Employees: 81,845 (As of end of March, 2015: Joint)
URL: http://www.mhi-global.comOpen a new window
Develops, manufactures and sells cutting-edge industrial products that support society and industry in the four business domains of Energy & Environment, Commercial Aviation & Transportation Systems, Integrated Defense & Space Systems and Machinery, Equipment & Infrastructure.

FIer

Throughout the project

From left: Hideo Yataka, Masayuki Hattori, Seiji Nojima It was the middle of October when the three of us gathered at the field office at the vast Kobe Shipyard in order to realize the hopes of the deputy head, Mr. Toda: "We want you to not only improve the shipping base but also optimize all the work including the upstream process." In the process to make information visible, the on-site observation at the shipping base-where sea winds blow so hard-was tough, but the warm words of encouragement from the local employees moved us to action many times. We still remember how happy we were at the intense discussion when the person in charge of the work, who had not spoken much until then, actively shared his opinions. The members repeated card sessions until they were satisfied, organized the issues and involved other departments to form a plan for policies, which will all lead to a successful outcome in the future. We heard from one member during this interview that the time to complete the check-in procedure has been largely reduced and this was a great reward for us. We are very happy that all members stood together to face and work hard on common issues together as a team.

【Case Study(PDF)】

Download (1.28 MB )

[March, 2016]

お問い合わせはこちら

Webでのお問い合わせ

入力フォーム

当社はセキュリティ保護の観点からSSL技術を使用しております。

お電話でのお問い合わせ

0120-933-200 富士通コンタクトライン(総合窓口)

受付時間 9時~17時30分
(土曜・日曜・祝日・当社指定の休業日を除く)