In 2008, Mazda introduced a program to train all newly joined engineers in production related divisions at product development related divisions, as part of its effort to develop the necessary human resources to achieve total optimization based the "One Mazda" concept.
In 2008, Mazda implemented a human resource development program under which all new employees of production-related divisions are trained for about three years in product development-related divisions. The purpose of this program is to train them so they become engineers who have knowledge and experience ranging from product development to production, thereby enhancing their capabilities to develop the next-generation products.
Kazuhiro Kosugi, one of the 81 initial trainees of the program, was assigned to take charge of cylinder head design at an Engine Design Engineering Group in a product development division. (There he worked to attain the goals set for each respective year: to master the basics of design and work procedures in the first year; to improve logical thinking and negotiation skills and to express his individuality in drawings in the second year; and to be able to control work on his own in the third year.
Naoaki Yamamoto was Kosugi's supervisor in the Powertrain Production Engineering Department, to which Kosugi was originally assigned. While meeting weekly with Kosugi during his training period as part of the training program, Yamamoto witnessed the growth of his subordinate, who was deepening his understanding of the function of each product and improving his logical thinking and coordination capabilities. Yamamoto recalls, "I was impressed most when Kosugi made a proposal for a cylinder in a new shape in the third year." While the new shape improves durability, it was very difficult to produce. Therefore as a member from production related division, Yamamoto was initially reluctant to accept the proposal. He added, "Despite our unwillingness, Kosugi logically persuaded us of its necessity. At the stage of prototype production, he visited the plant in person, showing his enthusiasm."
There is often a conflict of opinions between the product development related divisions, which pursue product functionality, and the production related divisions, whose mission is to ensure mass productivity. However, both divisions share the same fundamental desire to provide customers with vehicles that satisfy them. After holding many discussions transcending division boundaries, they finally completed a cylinder head combining both high functionality and production efficiency. The new cylinder head is now installed in the engine of the new CX-5, which is delivered to customers around the world.
In April 2012, after accumulating various experience, the first trainees returned to their original positions in a production related divisions. Kosugi is enthusiastic about further improvement, saying, "I was able to obtain a deeper understanding of functions through my experience in the product development related division. In the future I want to further enhance my knowledge about production in pursuit of total optimization."
Yamamoto says, "Kosugi is now in charge of the cylinder head production line and takes the lead in essential improvements, especially for quality control." He also expects that "a person well versed in product development will stimulate other members of my team."
Mazda is committed to development of human resources who can coordinate the product development and production divisions and play an active role in manufacturing with a broader perspective. Such human resource development leads to technological innovations. Mazda's commitment is accelerating.