The Japanese manufacturing industry is now developing global production by establishing production sites in various countries. High quality assurance is regarded as the strong point of manufacturing in Japan (Abegglen, 1958). However, this situation is under threat (Hunt, 1992). The authors consider it vital to make production operators more independent and creative in addition to their engineering capabilities and skills so as to become an intelligence operator. In view of the need to develop a new, creative, human-oriented production system for meaningful working, the authors propose the human-integrated assist system for creative, meaningful work leading to improved productivity. It supports autonomous development of kaizen as the core of this system for the global production strategy. In the wake of the recent rapid expansion of globalization, shortterm training of production operators is an especially critical issue, particularly for ensuring productivity at the start up of local production. To deal with this issue, it is urgent to apply this system to analyze the factors that contribute to the variations in the skill acquisition level of local operators. This is done with a view to establishing a training method that can support them to stably perform work despite the differences in their ability. In definite terms, a brand-new tool, the visual manual, is characterized by (1) convenience, (2) accumulation of know-how, and (3) utilization of CAD and CAE data for further development of advanced skills for intelligence operators. Given these circumstances, the authors have created a new intelligent IT system, which incorporates a training curriculum adjusted to the skill acquisition level of each operator, thereby bringing the training program to a higher level. During the course of implementation, the authors also adopted an aptitude test for assessing the aptitude and inaptitude of operators. This was designed for the establishment of an efficient training system. Its effectiveness has been tested at the Toyota Motor Corporation, a leading automotive manufacturer, as a system that brings about autonomous, voluntary skill improvement in intelligence operators.
Key Terms in this Chapter
OJT/OFF-JT: On-the-job training, this is based on the practical training on the actual work place. However, it takes a lot of periods to achieve the required skill levels. Off-the-job training, this looks like the classroom lessons and have few practical trainings.
Skill Training: In order to achieve the accurate work completion within the specified time.
Global Production: The manufacturing industry is deploying global production throughout the world especially in the case of Japanese automobiles. This includes the notions of uniform quality worldwide and production at optimum locations.
Intelligence Operators: Factory workers have broken away from the conventional attitudes of simple labor operations, and have made the shift to a new paradigm of intelligent production operations including sophisticated skill training as well as fundamental skills, which provides more motivation. These operators not only carry out manufacturing work, but also carry out operator maintenance to find minor equipment problems as part of maintenance work in order to prevent the occurrence of breakdowns in individual facilities or overall production systems that result in reduced availability and quality.
Visual Manual: The authors have invented a new digital communication tool that we call a visual manual. Its data is handled using a general-purpose application in HTML format to make it operable anywhere in the world. Data can be sent both locally and globally via the internet. Toyota: An advanced automotive manufacturer in Japan.
Fundamental Skill: Manufacturing skills divide into small items, which contribute to homogenize the quality worldwide.
HIAS: Human-integrated assist system, which links human wisdom to technical evolution and enables the dissemination of information to assist in the discovery of factors inhibiting the attainment of high quality. In other words, it supports operators in autonomous kaizen activities, enabling them to ask and answer questions for themselves in relation to the work in which they are engaged.