The following interview, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry public relations magazine ” METI Journal ” 2015 years 4 , 5 first of May issue 1 Special “Industry 4.0 “ “in the coverage of the ” factory lead ” need for” and, “introduced in small and medium-sized companies case”. This is a collection of questions and answers about “the direction that Japanese manufacturing should aim for”.
(Interviewee: Hosei University School of Design, Department of System Design, Nishioka Atsuyuki)
 In recent years, the keyword “connected factory” has attracted attention. What kind of transition is Japanese manufacturing now facing? And what needs and changes in social structure are behind this?
Concurrent with the expansion of the market due to the rapid development of emerging countries, the diversification of consumer needs and the uncertainty of technological progress have become increasingly prominent. As a result, not only small and medium-sized enterprises, but also major manufacturing industries have entered an age where they cannot survive alone. In addition to the digitization and softwareization of products, the digitization and softwareization of production processes are rapidly progressing. In addition, the border between manufacturing and service is almost gone.
Under these circumstances, inevitably, together with competitiveness by individual elements of technology, by supply chain and engineering chain and other companies ” will lead the power ” is becoming important. Even if the elemental technology does not change that much, simply changing the connection may result in new and innovative products and services. This trend will become even more dramatic as the design and production processes are digitized and softwareized.