In order to protect my visitors’ data, increase loading speed, and move up the ranks on Google, I recently converted this blog from an unsecured http://… site to a secure https://… site. What happened since, however, is not exactly as expected.
The site does not load any faster, the number of daily visitors has been cut by a factor of three, and some readers have told me that they are getting warnings from Google when connecting.
According to the company that hosts my blog and sold me my security certificate, the site is clean. To make sure it stays that way, I have also beefed up its security with tools from WordPress.
According to the hosting company, it may take four to six weeks for Google to notice that the site is safe and stop emitting the warnings.
“Mitsubishi Motors is the oldest of the major car companies in Japan, established 1917. It is also one of the smaller ones in Japan, with only slightly more than 1 million vehicles produced in 2016. In January 2018, I had the chance to visit their Okazaki plant near Nagoya. I also visited the Mitsubishi Fuso plant in Kawasaki and one of its suppliers, although that is technically another company. Let me give you the gist of the Mitsubishi Motors Plant Okazaki. […] As for corporate responsibility, Mitsubishi Motors does not have a good reputation. There were multiple scandals, dating back to 1970, where they covered up defects and manipulated their fuel efficiency. Their (former) president, Kawasoe, along with other managers was arrested and convicted. Mitsubishi Motors suffered and retreated. […] Nowadays Mitsubishi Motors is controlled by Nissan (the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance).”
Michel Baudin‘s comments: Another report from Christoph Roser’s grand tour of Japanese car plants, and a good remedy for anyone who still believes there is a “Japanese way” to manufacture. Just in the car industry, there are many players: Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru,… and they are all different. Just check out Christoph’s other reports.
For me, one takeaway from this report is that you can retrofit self-driving technology to golf carts and use them to pull trains of part carts on a car assembly floor.
Part delivery train pulled by self-driving golf cart
“The Honda Kumamoto plant was established in 1976 and is the largest Honda plant in Japan by area. It is their main plant for the production of motorcycles in Japan including their engines, but it also produces garden power tools, generators, and four-wheeled scooters.
A major earthquake in Kumamoto in April 2016 damaged the plant, and it reopened and scaled up production again during the summer of 2016. employees in the plant, 8% of them being women.”
Michael Ballé: “I’ve been a student of lean for 25 years, and the more that I learn the more I believe that […] lean is a profoundly disruptive way of working. From the time that this new approach was popularized decades ago, there have been two completely different ways to look at the same tools, materials, and stories. Some of us saw Toyota as a disrupter, a small bankrupt company that became the dominant automaker in a saturated market ruled by U.S. corporate giants, by doing something radically different. Others, however, were fascinated by Toyota’s ‘operational excellence’ as a means of safe, incremental improvements—they would cherry-pick tools […] to leverage productivity gains without ever challenging either the strategy or the attitudes of top management.”
Michel Baudin‘s comments: I have been a student of TPS for 38 years, and see it as the best way we know today to make cars and auto parts. And, yes, it has been successfully adapted to other manufacturing industries and even to some service businesses. Lean is a marketing label coined 30 years ago that, in the best cases, has been used to describe TPS or adaptations of TPS in situations where explicit references to Toyota would be problematic, for example at Toyota competitors or in hospitals, where the last thing you want to do is convey the impression that you treat patients like cars. In the worst cases, consultants have slapped this label on approaches unrelated to TPS, just to leverage Toyota’s credibility.
“Overall, Nissan automotive plants have an outstanding performance, comparable to Toyota despite their different approach using much more automation. I believe that Nissan plants are also among the world’s best automotive plants, besides (behind?) Toyota. I definitely enjoyed the visit (but then, I am a geek for such kind of things).”
Michel Baudin‘s comments: Thanks again to Christoph Roser for sharing this. Reading this reminded me that, when he took over as Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn left the plants alone. They were doing fine. What needed fixing, he decided, was product design and the supply chain. History has since validated his choices.
“Overall, I was not impressed by the Sayama plant. Part of it can be explained by its age, another part by it being closed in 2022 (and who wants to invest time in a plant that will be closed anyway), but there was still enough left over to make this a pretty unimpressive plant. I went away with a pretty bad impression of Honda plants. Luckily, Honda Kumamoto was much, much better. More about this in the next post.”
“The factory is getting a facelift, thanks to a raft of new technologies designed to make manufacturing more efficient, flexible and connected. Daniela Costa […] outlines three key drivers of this development, which could provide more than $500 billion in combined savings for manufacturers and customers.”
Thanks. I didn’t know Goldman-Sachs was the go-to place for manufacturing expertise.
The only departure from classical automation hype is the emphasis on human-machine collaboration. This topic had been ignored in the American and European approach to automation, with the exception of Working With Machines.
Otherwise, she used the word “significant” many times, probably to imply the existence of research and data behind her statements while saying nothing about what that research might have been. I am particularly curious about where the “$500B in savings” figure came from. It is given context-free, so we don’t know whether she means in Europe or worldwide and over how many years.
She also equated automation with the use of robots but that is common in the press.
“The world first became aware of TPS (The Toyota Production System) when Taiichi Ohno published a book about his groundbreaking efforts at Toyota. It was published in Japan in 1978. The Japanese version of his book wasn’t translated into English until 1988. Since ten years had passed, this translation did not fully communicate the nuances of Ohno’s vision. ”
In his article, Nakamuro bemoans the “decades of confusion” caused by our collective failure to translate Taiichi Ohno’s thoughts accurately. According to him, Ohno frequently called different ideas or methods by names that sound identical but are written differently, which strikes me as a poor communication strategy, if your goal actually is to make yourself understood.
“Toyota is one of the most visionary car makers with respect to its manufacturing. They continuously and radically evolve and update their production system. Recently I learned about their new “flexible assembly line.” Now, you’ve probably heard about Toyota’s flexible assembly lines producing multiple products on the same line. That is old hat; they’ve done that for thirty years. Their new flexible assembly line involves a completely different aspect of flexibility, with which Toyota surprised me (again). Let me show you …”
“The automaker last month created a single group, staffed with 200 employees, to manage the Toyota Production System, centralizing a function that was spread out through the organization. Their task is to evaluate how core concepts like kaizen, or continuous improvement, can be applied to new businesses that include car sharing and consumer robots. The person in charge is 59-year-old Shigeki Tomoyama, a career Toyota executive who wields a tablet computer during events, making him look more like a Silicon Valley software engineer than a car guy. […] Akio Toyoda says the automaker his grandfather founded eight decades ago needs to move faster to keep up with the likes of Google and Uber Technologies Inc. […] In the last two years, Toyota has opened a Silicon Valley research center”
Michel Baudin‘s comments: The article includes a group photo of the original Gazoo group from 1997 that includes both Tomoyama and current Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda:
Gazoo is an internet portal created by Toyota that is in sharp contrast with the brochureware websites of other automakers, featuring, among other things, articles about classic cars, used cars, road trips in Japan, and entertainment devices for kids during drives. This article is the first reference to Gazoo that I have seen in the American press. It’s unfortunate because Gazoo has been online since 2000 and is an approach to car marketing that deserves attention.