The problem turned out to be that the threaded screw on the end of the brake hose was not fixed, so when attaching it to the brake unit, it was difficult to locate and do up whether by holding the hose or the screw itself. When holding the hose, the other hand had to be employed to keep the screw from spinning freely, while handling the screw itself placed too much strain on the fingertips.
As a solution, they decided to manufacture a special metal tool for holding the screw. However, they found it difficult to use as the metal would not grip properly. Consequently, they manufactured a rubber tool that was easy for the operator to fit and successfully united the hose and screw. With the tool, both hands could be used to guide the hose into the brake unit.
The achievement of the Min-Min Circle was recognized through an award at the national QC circle competition. The group also received the Quality Control Circle Kaoru Ishikawa Prize. The young members of the team who presented their work in front of the many participants at the meeting are still receiving a stream of invitations and requests for presentations from other companies, industry groups and organizations all over Japan.
In the creation of Fit-Kun, the team members cultivated their ideas with the support of other departments such as the Production Engineering Div. and the Maintenance Dept. Mazda is committed to continue acting on employees' opinions and ideas, and to continue building assembly lines that are friendly to women and a workplace that is amenable to all.
Department No. 1
Still Striving for Further Improvements
We handle the brakes, which are one of the parts that influence the safety of the car, so maintaining quality is vital. Through successive improvements, I am always striving to create a line that produces highly reliable parts.
Our target is to implement improvements that make every process in the plant doable by female employees. I hope that the company will continue to develop jig and tools that enable load reduction in its operations, and thereby remove problems that arise from reliance on physical strength. We will step up the activities of the Min-Min Circle to reduce the number of operations with high physical demands.
Department No. 1
The Importance of Pursuing Quality without Compromise
Ms. Sakashita and I named the Min-Min circle after a character that appears in both our names. We have traveled all over Japan, from Tokyo to Okinawa, giving presentations about this project. I'm not very good at answering questions, so I leave them to Ms. Sakashita as the leader, but I do feel that I have grown used to standing up there on the big stage.
I believe that quality is not something that should involve compromise. It is something that has to come from the desire of the individual. Even though the human attention span is limited, I set my heart on building each car perfectly, without any lapses in concentration.