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Social Contribution Initiatives

Social Contribution Initiatives

The Quality Control Group That's Making the Assembly Lines More User-friendly for Women

Simplifying the Brake Hose Attachment Process

Until Now Brake and Screw Configuration

In the fall of 2003, there were hold ups with partially completed assemblies on the Demio line at the Powertrain Production Dept. No. 1 Axle Assembly Plant. This led to many incidences of delayed shipments. We carried out a survey to establish the average time required for each process on different assembly lines, and discovered that while production of the MPV and Roadster required 22 to 23 seconds per process, the Demio needed 31 seconds. The brake hose assembly process was found to be the greatest contributor to this figure. A group of young female employees established the "Min-Min Circle" quality control group with the aim of cutting down this time.
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.
Diagrams Showing the Four Benefits

Work Characteristics Improve in a Jig Made by Rubber Markedly

The rubber tool markedly improved productivity and they named it "Fit-kun." This specialized brake hose attachment tool simplified the process and made it 1.9 times faster. In addition to the main Mazda plant, Fit-Kun will be distributed to enhance production throughout all domestic and overseas facilities.
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.
Mayumi Sakashita
Powertrain Production
Department No. 1
Axle Gr.

Mayumi Sakashita


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.

Yumiko Rokuta
Powertrain Production
Department No. 1
Axle Gr.

Yumiko Rokuta


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.



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