Realizing a High-Quality and Efficient Global Production Framework to Improve Mazda’s Brand Value
Mazda took on a great challenge with the start of production of the new Demio/Mazda2; for the first time in its history, the Company commenced production of a new model at three different locations around the globe at the same time. The establishment of a global production footprint is one of the four pillars of Structural Reform Plan and the Company is working to establish a production framework in which the production sites of each country are self-reliant, conduct high-quality and highly efficient production, and learn together to achieve group-wide growth.
A First for Mazda: Starting Production at Three Global Sites at the Same Time
The launch event of the all-new Demio (Mazda2 overseas) in Japan was held on September 11, 2014. At the event, Masamichi Kogai, Representative Director, President and CEO, made the following announcement about global production:
“Production has already begun at our Hofu Plant in Yamaguchi in July, but in order to get the all-new Demio (Mazda2 overseas) to our customers around the world as quickly as possible, we will also be starting production in Thailand and Mexico in quick succession. Production at Auto Alliance (Thailand) will begin shortly, and those vehicles will be exported to Oceania and other ASEAN countries. MMVO, our plant in Mexico, will begin producing the model for Europe and the Americas in 2014. This is the first time in Mazda's history that we have begun production of a model at three different plants around the world in such quick succession, and it has been a great challenge.”
Just as President Kogai stated, production of the new Mazda2 (Demio in Japan) began in Thailand on September 17 and in Mexico on October 23. In order to support the start of production at three global production sites at the same time and to establish a competitive group-wide production footprint, Mazda has engaged in initiatives of the Global Manufacturing Network (GMN) on a full scale since 2013.
Starting Production of Powertrains in Thailand
In January 2015, the mass production of new transmission SKYACTIV-DRIVE started at Mazda Powertrain Manufacturing (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (MPMT), the Company’s new plant in Thailand. SKYACTIV-DRIVE is installed in cars such as the new Mazda2 (Demio in Japan), Mazda3 (Axela in Japan) and CX-5 at global production sites including Thailand’s AAT. For the operation of MPMT, local employees are receiving various forms of training according to their job type and job position, such as process management and improvement efforts, at the Company’s Hiroshima Plant and Hofu Plant under GMN’s human resources development program to establish a high-quality and highly efficient production framework. Production at a new engine plant adjacent to the transmission plant at MPMT will start within the third quarter of FY March 2016.
Together with the people of Thailand, MPMT will continue to foster human resources who will support and lead the automobile industry and strive to contribute to continuous development of the country’s economy.
Location: Chonburi Province, Thailand
Production capacity: 400 thousand transmissions per year, 30 thousand engines per year
Capital structure: Wholly owned by Mazda Motor Corporation
Creating a Framework that Enables All Production Sites to be Self-Reliant and Learn from Others
GMN is a network to enable each domestic and overseas production site to carry out high-quality and highly efficient production activities that improve the Mazda brand value and learn from each other at the same time.
Under a global plant vision, the Hiroshima and Hofu Plant in Japan bear responsibility as the Global Manufacturing Operation Center (GMOC) and provide human resource development programs based on accumulated knowledge and skills to each overseas production site under a global plant vision. They foster skills in process management and improvement issues (“capabilities at the workplace”) to enable production activities to achieve the same levels of quality and efficiency at overseas sites that differ in maturity. Furthermore, programs at each site facilitate simultaneous, even and high-quality production during the preparation phase of mass production of new models, in addition to daily production activities. One of the achievements is the start of production of new Demio/Mazda2 at three global production sites at the same time: the Hofu Plant, with an operation history of more than 30 years, Thailand’s AAT, which was established in 1995, and Mexico’s MMVO, which started operations in January 2014. The Company has realized a production framework that enables the same level of production to be achieved at these three production sites, each with different histories and maturity.
Conceptual diagram of GMN
Global plant vision
Aiming to Improve Initiatives across the Entire Supply Chain
Mazda has been promoting the improvement of initiatives across the entire supply chain. In cooperation with related divisions including manufacturing, product development, purchasing and logistics, as well as suppliers, the Company has promoted the Monotsukuri Innovation*1, which is an approach to reviewing the vehicle development and manufacturing process from scratch. By broadening the scope of activities to the purchasing and logistics fields in addition to the manufacturing field, GMN aims to further develop the program in order to strengthen ties between Mazda and the entire supply chain.
*1 Mazda Sustainability Report 2014 (pp. 7-10)
I had a chance to participate in the GMN seminar in Year 2014. After I went back to implement GMN into AAT‘s organization, we found a big opportunity to improve our AAT production capability. So we started to run step by step to improve our people. A lot of change happened in morale, product quality, cost, etc. There are many tools in GMN which we can use to develop our production capability. We saw an improvement in Mazda2 production launching at AAT. The launching was smooth with high product quality. With Mazda and AAT management support we will aim to become a Highly Efficient Global Plant with “Mazda Brand” Philosophy.
M-ABC Program in Cooperation with Suppliers
Mazda is promoting ABC (Achieve Best Cost) activities, which are initiatives by the Company’s staff to improve manufacturing and enhance potential for improvement by visiting suppliers’ plants. This program uses the Company’s production methods as a base and cooperates with suppliers to pinpoint wasteful or problematic manufacturing processes, formulate and implement countermeasures. This initiative (J-ABC*2), which has been implemented for local suppliers in and around Hiroshima Prefecture since 2004, has been rolled out for suppliers in and around production sites in Thailand (A-ABC*3) since 2013 and in Mexico (M-ABC*4) since 2015. In order to deliver better products to customers, Mazda is building a high-quality and highly efficient manufacturing footprint in cooperation with suppliers on a global basis.
*2 Jiba ("local") Achieve Best Cost
*3 ASEAN Achieve Best Cost
*4 Mexico Achieve Best Cost
I am the line leader of front seat and rear seat assembly. Through M-ABC activities, I intend to ensure standardization of each work process and hope to learn ways to establish a high-quality and stable assembly line. I also hope to learn about Karakuri Kaizen®*5 and disseminate the joy of manufacturing throughout the plant.
*5 A registered trademark of the Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance. Karakuri Kaizen are initiatives to improve problematic manufacturing processes and to create a better work environment.
AKI Seat Manufacturing,
S.A. de C.V.
I control the production line of exhaust parts such as main mufflers. Through M-ABC activities, I hope to identify constraints from analyses of work processes and movements and learn ways to solve such problems, with the aim of pursuing an efficient production process. I also expect to be able to learn methods of creating a work environment with no strains, inefficiencies and irregularities, enabling workers to concentrate on producing the best parts in the market with enthusiasm.
S.A. de C.V.