BreakThrough Study Idea

Specific examples of "Connected Industries" in small and medium-sized manufacturersShinji Tokumasu<Series 3 / complete>

Study Idea


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"Connected Industries" that is effective for trading in technology, labor-saving, and business expansion

"Connected Industries" is a conceptual word, so you may find it difficult to understand. However, there is never such a thing, in fact, it thinks that it is meaningful to the small business. SMEs have advantages in quick judgment and action compared to large enterprises, and it is possible to grow greatly by strengthening various connections by taking advantage of their strengths. Today, as digitalization progresses, it is also possible to connect with customers around the world if it is devised a bit. Also, if you have unique technology and talent inside the company, you can make the most of it. If you have other strengths that you can not lose, chances are greatly expanded if you use it as a core and use external resources well. In that situation, I think that the concept of "Connected Industries" which emphasizes "Connection" helps and I think that it is a concept that gives suggestions. In this issue, we will introduce and explain several examples to concretely image "Connected Industries."

1) Human×Human

Efforts to make the "Skill of the artist" visible by utilizing the digital technology, etc. and to transfer skilled skills to the young people.

[Case Study] IBUKI Corporation (Kahoku-cho, Yamagata Prefecture, Mold manufacturer, Number of Employees: 45 people)
- By converting "Breath of the mold" (Resin flow, Mold movements, etc.), which was conventionally captured only by a craft, by data, it is possible to inherit the "skill of the artist."
- Utilizing AI (artificial intelligence), we succeeded in visualizing knowledge on estimate creation that only the plant manager held.


2) Human×Equipment

Efforts to improve productivity by introducing IoT and robots, aims to promote worker reform by labor-saving simple work and heavy labor, etc.

[Case Study] Asahi Ironworks Co., Ltd. (Hekinan City, Aichi Prefecture, Manufacture of Automobile Parts, Number of Employees: 480)
- Developed a sensor monitoring system for accelerating kaizen activity in-house, making problems of parts manufacturing process visible. Improve productivity in a short time, significantly reduce labor costs.
- Digitize simple tasks and place employees invaluable work. "Work way reform" is realized at the same time.


3) Department×Department

Initiatives to realize manufacturing is making use of digital by linking development, design and production divisions all at once by utilizing 3D printers, digital tools such as CAD/CAM, CAE, etc.

[Case Study] HILLTOP Corporation (Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture, Metal Processing Manufacturer, Number of Employees: 23)
- By promoting the data of craftsmen 's skills, we realized various kinds, single item, short delivery time processing in unmanned operation for 24 hours.
- Designing and programming during the day and machining according to data at night.
- It was once a subcontracting town factory, but the business model has changed significantly due to IT conversion. Fulfilling his presence in California, he acquired 400 customers in Silicon Valley in three years.


4) Factory×Factory

Efforts of cooperation among town factories in the same industry.

[Case 1] Konno Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (Adachi-Ku, Tokyo, Hydraulic equipment manufacturing, Number of Employees: 36)
- Realized a platform on which small- and medium-sized metal processing companies can promote order, development, and production together.
- Collaboration small business builds a system that shares customer inquiry information and issues a quotation request.
- Efficiently manage delivery, estimate, order history, etc. of drawing data, etc. through customer portal site.

[Case 2] Citatel Corporation (Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture, Clothing production platform, Number of Employees: 10)
- By linking production control data (Surplus capacity of the factory) of over 100 garment factories scattered in the district to customers (Designers of urban areas), it is possible to increase the occupancy rate and realize production with small quantity and short delivery time.


5) Company×Company

Initiatives to promote the creation of new added value such as open innovation and effective utilization of external resources.

[Cases] Hamano Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (Sumida-Ku, Tokyo, Metal processing, Number of Employees: 41)
- Set up an incubation facility "Garage Sumida" next to our factory. They provide technical consultation, design development, manufacturing support, etc. and support a wide range of start-up companies.
- By connecting start-up companies and small businesses, it is possible to make a start-up company's excellent idea into a concrete form at an early stage by the technical capabilities accumulated by SMEs.


In this way, "Connected Industries" is a valid concept to create new value in SMEs. The example given this time is only one example. There are various ways of connecting depending on the resources and standing position of each company, and there must be multiple approaches to create value. It may be small at the beginning, so I think that trying various things is essential first.

Next time, I will explain the support policy of manufacturing industry IoT towards promoting "Connected Industries" at Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and the basic idea of bottoming out.

< series 3 / complete >

Shinji Tokumasu
Counselor of the Industry Bureau of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (in charge of digitization and industrial systems) Manufacturing Policy Deliberation Division Director

After entering the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in 1994 and studied in the United States, he experienced a lot of industrial technology related departments, mainly including university cooperation promotion section, such as University Collaboration Promotion Division, Research and Development Division, NEDO Division, International Managing Director of Industrial Technology, Director of AIST. In July 2016, he joined the Manufacturing Industry Bureau Counselor (in charge of digitization and industrial systems) and appointed Manufacturing Policy Deliberation Division Director
Waseda University graduate school and master's degree, Harvard University Kennedy School administrative master, MIT Sloan School management master, Tokyo Institute of Technology Graduate School of Social Science and Engineering, Doctor (academic)

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