“Connected Factories” Interview 5 (First published in Japanese in April, 2015)

[5] What direction is Japanese manufacturing expected to take in the future? Also, what kind of development do you think the technology to “connect” will achieve?

  I think Japanese manufacturing will continue to develop in this situation for the next 10 years. However, if you focus only on manufacturing in Japan, it may be an unfortunate turning point when ICT changes the competitive environment and game rules. It is necessary to thoroughly discuss how to develop Japanese manufacturing not only in Japan but also overseas, and accumulate technology for that purpose.

  First, for domestic manufacturing, we will further promote automation and intelligence, develop and strengthen the core of advanced manufacturing and global niche top manufacturing, and black the intellectual property that is the source of competitiveness. I think it should be used as a base for making boxes. This is probably the direction. In particular, regarding ICT , we will shift to strategic and advanced manufacturing, such as the integration of hardware and software, such as embedded software technology, and the creation of a platform that integrates products and services.

  On the other hand, in the small and medium manufacturing industry, the function of the entire manufacturing industry has been segmented from the perspective of service, as a small working team for high value-added manufacturing, not as a role of receiving employment. I expect it to change. In other words, we believe that strong small and medium-sized manufacturing industry can further enhance its presence as a response to diversity and uncertainty. Furthermore, by promoting “connectivity”, it will be realistic to contract manufacturing services with overseas manufacturers.

  In contrast to such domestic manufacturing, the contrast between light and dark will depend on whether manufacturing can be done overseas, that is, close to the consumption area when viewed globally, depending on whether or not the root of the connection mechanism can be suppressed. Of course, relationships such as selling apps on Microsoft’s OS can also be established, but just accepting unilaterally about the manufacturing factory’s operation system ( 5S and other basic manufacturing concepts and mechanisms) Quality cannot be built in, and the quality of Japanese manufacturing cannot be utilized.

  However, if we can control the platform of the factory’s operation system in some way, Japanese manufacturing will spread widely worldwide. So even if the person who actually operates the company has nothing to do with Japan, it is Japanese manufacturing. As a result, global expansion of related products such as services and FA equipment rooted in Japanese manufacturing will be very easy.

  One of the technologies related to this factory operation system or “connected factory” platform is security technology that protects technology and intellectual property and realizes a fair competitive environment. The second is traceability technology when various things, data, technology, and intellectual property are exchanged between different sites and different companies. Then, three eyes, so the ICT can that it’s digital world and the reality is firm support to be deployed by, Reliant ability technology necessary to operate the cyber space in sync with reality.

  For this third reliability, rather than applying so-called strict standards, we propose, agree, and improve a reference model as a loose standard for each target area and problem. Is important. If such a loose standard can be created in an open system with foreign companies, we can expect Japanese manufacturing to become a global de facto standard. Reliability always requires a flexible way of rethinking standards to the reality.

  In any case, it is necessary for the Japanese manufacturers to take the initiative in this case. We need to fully back up the companies, such as ICT companies as enablers (realization means) to guide the manufacturing industry to such a new world, FA equipment and manufacturing equipment manufacturers are actually data providers for global manufacturing using ICT.