Konica Minolta Technoproducts is making good use of IoT and digital tools to prevent loss with TPM. What is the company’s initiative with the key point? The “fusion of digital and analog”?

< Challenges and Missions>
1. Breakdown and analyze the work man-hours
2. Reduce energy loss at the bottom
3. Eliminate waste and create new value
4. Promote “automation as it should be”
Their management vision is “Earning Powered Company; to become the world’s No. 1 factory for healthcare products!” In order to achieve this, it is necessary to have a work environment where each and every employee can demonstrate their creativity and work with enthusiasm. To promote the work style reform, it is essential to reduce losses through TPM.

Administrative and indirect TPM that contributes to the bottom line

TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) is a company-wide effort to eliminate all losses that hinder profits and to create a system to prevent losses. TPM is a part of the company’s company-wide activities, which is called “Total Production Management”. In order to improve the efficiency of such production systems, the introduction of IoT and digital tools will greatly contribute to the reduction of man-hours and the “visualization” of losses. The choice of digital tools that can be used without significant costs is expanding, and many companies are considering how to incorporate them into improvement activities such as TPM.

It is important to have a firm sense of purpose in how to utilize digitalization to address issues, rather than just “promoting it.” This will be a major factor in the progress of TPM.

Honda, Director of Konica Minolta Technoproducts and General Manager of Production Engineering, says “We want to use the time we have freed up by reducing losses for work that creates new value, and digital tools are positioned as partners that help us reduce losses.”

Konica Minolta Group as “efforts to develop human resources” has been working on TPM and effectively introducing digital tools. This is due to the fact that the Konica Minolta Group as a whole is promoting “digital manufacturing,” which digitizes parts that were previously analog and leads to improved productivity. However, Konica Minolta Technoproducts’ goal is to realize “a workplace where human resource and individuals shine through working energetically with enthusiasm to become No. 1”. It is by no means based on IoT.

As the digitalization of medical devices accelerates and the production system shifts from the traditional human-assembled to the equipped-based system, TPM kicked off in 2013. With the aim of creating a system to prevent loss and an organization and environment in which everyone can easily participate, they are developing a company-wide initiative. Not only at the production site, but also in the management and indirect departments, TPM was promoted at the same time, and the momentum for everyone to change the company was increased.

The TPM of the administrative and indirect departments aims to strengthen the management structure through the enhancement of information and service functions for production sites. Masami Hasegawa, Manager of Corporate Planning Office, says “We thought that TPM in the administrative and indirect departments was highly valuable to work on and could greatly contribute to the company’s profits.”

The key to successful RPA (Robotic Process Automation) implementation is “MAKIGAMI (rolling paper) analysis” in advance

Makigami Analysis

One specific example of what we have worked on in the TPM of the administrative and indirect departments is “MAKIGAMI (rolling paper) analysis”. The small teams are formed for each business department, such as general affairs, human resources, and accounting, and the details of the work and man-hours are written down, and the actual forms used and the comments of people other than the person in charge of the operation are organized on large-format art paper. As a result, the matters that could not be shared among members and the wasteful work were “visualized”, and the losses and workflows that should be reduced became clear.

On the other hand, in 2017, Konica Minolta Group announced a policy of utilizing RPA (Robotic Process Automation) as one of the means of work style reform. Honda says “The basic idea of introducing RPA was to break away from the “dependency risk” that relies too much on individual experience, to transform operations that take a lot of time even though they have low added value, and to use the time that can be created for the work that should be done.”

At that time, Konica Minolta Technoproducts was successful because they were able to see in advance the “workflow to eliminate MUDA (waste)” by analyzing the TPM MAKIGAMI. Honda says “The successful combination of the advancing wave of digitalization and the analogue activities of MAKIGAMI analysis has enabled us to produce very meaningful results.”

In addition to conducting in-house training and education on the introduction of RPA, each department member considers and decides on how to use RPA autonomously. As a result, they were able to determine the direction in which RPA is used not only as “mere automation” but as “automation as it should be” with a sense of purpose. Many employees feel that the introduction of RPA has made a big difference in improving productivity because of the steady roll paper analysis in TPM.

Let’s take a look at the example of the accounting group. First of all, they have set three “ideal states” of accounting work: “We don’t spend time creating data,” “Necessary information is automatically shared with related parties,” and “We can focus on the analysis work that accounting should be doing.” When we checked the man-hours of our work, we found that we spent the most time on the preparation of the “Profit and Loss List by SBU (Strategic Business Unit)”.

Therefore, they rechecked the business flow and found issues. On top of that, they examined what tasks require human judgment and confirmation, and what tasks can be reduced by introducing RPA.

As a result, the work that required 8 hours per month was reduced to 1 hour, reducing the annual time by 84 hours. This has made it possible to provide the materials faster, and more time has been spent on the other valuable tasks, such as analysis. In addition, the standardization of operations has progressed, and it has the effect of making it possible to respond even if the workers are not in charge.

In addition, in order to focus on the analysis work set forth in the “ideal state” of the accounting department, they have introduced the BI (Business Intelligence) tool “Tableau” that makes data analysis and visualization work easy and speedy. Since it has become possible to “visualize” the manufacturing costs from multiple angles, the work of creating graphs that used to be done in each department has been eliminated, and the data sharing has become quick and easy. This has also reduced the work hours by 4 hours per month and 48 hours per year.

Breaking the sense of stalemate in energy-saving measures

The introduction of digital tools was also successful in energy-saving measures. Konica Minolta Technoproducts has been working on the general energy-saving measures such as introducing energy-saving equipment and shutting down production lines on holidays, but in recent years, there has been a sense of stalemate due to the lack of results.

Therefore, as a new method, IoT tools (sensors) are installed in clean rooms and air conditioners to collect data and grasp the driving status. Again, they decided to visualize the collected data using “Tableau” and analyze it to see if there is any waste.

As a result, it becomes possible to grasp the power consumption and energy-saving effects of the production process in real time, which were not known until now. For example, it was found that cooling and dehumidification were carried out in the clean room even in winter, and they were able to take measures to eliminate this waste. Despite the thought that all energy-saving measures had been exhausted, the air conditioning power in the clean room was reduced by about 30%. The objective measurement data revealed that there was an “assumption.”

As a result of the substantial effect, it not only strengthened the promotion of energy conservation, but also led to the motivation of employees, as “there are still places where energy-saving measures can be taken.”

Promoting “Human Resource Enhancement” with TPM and IoT

In addition to “strengthening the production engineering capabilities” by promoting digital manufacturing and “improving the efficiency of indirect operations” through the use of IT tools such as RPA, the management policy for fiscal 2019 is to “strengthen the human resources” by promoting to make “No. 1”.

Hasegawa says “No. 1 refers to the strengths of each employee, and some people are humble enough to say that there are no strengths, but it is okay to be No. 1 by combining three of your own strengths. These strengths create value by solving problems, which is also in line with Konica Minolta’s management philosophy; “creating new value”.

However, it is not something that can be achieved quickly to make all employees understand and establish the company’s vision. Therefore, the company has set up a roadmap to “promote No. 1” every year from 2018. With 2018 as the recognition stage, 2019 was the year to understand that we are committed to “No. 1” in order to embody our management philosophy of creating new value, and each and every one of us made a “No. 1 Declaration.” And in 2020, they aim to apply (demonstrate No. 1), action, and retention.

On the other hand, in order to improve labor productivity, it is important for each employee to keep up with changes and continue to demonstrate results. To that end, they not only provide education as a company, but also value the perspective of supporting people who are willing to invest in themselves and take on the challenge of change on their own. Specifically, a self-development support system was established for the general employees and managers, and the company began to subsidize most of the course fees.

Hasegawa says “Each of us declares ourselves about what we aim to be No. 1 and what kind of person we want to be, and for that reason, we create a soil for each of us to develop ourselves.

In 2019, they established the system for taking paid leave on an hourly basis and increased the number of annual holidays, and they made steady progress in work style reforms. From FY2020, the number of annual holidays will be increased from 120 days to 125 days.

They were able to make this “strengthening of human resources” possible precisely because they were able to reduce losses and create time by working on TPM. The examples of improvements that have been made have been commended and evaluated at internal and external presentations, which has led to an increase in the motivation of employees.

On the other hand, as long as production activities continue, there will be no end to loss countermeasures. Konica Minolta Technoproducts will continue to work to solve problems through TPM.

~JMAC Consultant EYE (A word from the consultant in charge) ~

“Digitalization without a purpose is meaningless.”

There are more and more cost-effective digital tools, but we need to scrutinize how they are used to achieve our goals, not just those that are introduced. With this in mind, Konica Minolta Technoproducts’ activities, to reduce losses not only at production sites but also in administrative and indirect departments, to allocate human resources to the high-value and creative work, and to stabilize the production system through business standardization, are truly instructive.