The DENSO Challenge
We are applying our energies to the following two areas
to enhance our competitiveness in the IoT era:
“Using our collective wisdom to create value”
“Quickly adapting to changing industry and technology”
DENSO takes up the challenges of these issues using
true co-creation, which consists of connecting people with machines and people to people with IoT.
Human and Machine Co-Creation
ー Accelerated KAIZEN ー
IoT connects people with machines and mutually enhances
them both to produce unprecedented and rapid KAIZEN.
To achieve our lofty goals, we are focusing on three specific areas:
Sensors, Artificial Intelligence, and Human Interface Devices (HIDs).
*KAIZEN: The Japanese term for "continuous improvement". KAIZEN is the practice of continuous improvement by everyone, everywhere.
The starting point of IoT is the sensor that gathers data. In our factories, we can capture incredibly useful data relating to each category of 5M1E(*). Since our production data points are constantly changing, it is key that our sensors are performing well and perfectly positioned. DENSO has cast a wide net over our model factories in order to capture our production data, without any omissions, by using our own proprietary sensors that were developed from our in-vehicle sensors. Based on the results garnered by this effort, DENSO will continue to search for the ideal state of sensors appropriate for the IoT era. 5M1E: Man (worker), Machine (machines and equipment), Material (raw materials and materials), Method (work method), Measurement (analysis), and Environment (environment)
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
For a long time it was difficult to organize and make sense of the vast amounts of data that could be collected off of a single production line, let alone an entire factory floor. Now with AI (Artificial Intelligence), we can organize and analyze the data as it is gathered from our machines. Using tools like predictive analytics and machine learning, we can draw deeper conclusions from the data that we’re collecting. It is important to note that we do not want to conclude our efforts simply with answers derived from our analytic machines. In Europe and the United States, the AI-derived answer is often returned to the equipment, but DENSO also incorporates our people into the data sharing circle. Human wisdom gives us the ability to respond to unconventional problems and issues that cannot be anticipated. Moreover, human creativity is required to take one KAIZEN concept from an event and tweak it to apply it in a way that fits another event. By demonstrating wisdom and creativity, people can grow and develop. The resulting knowledge is also fed back to the AI to promote the evolution of the algorithm as well. Our goal is a factory where people enter the IoT ring for continued growth for both humans and machines at an unprecedented speed.
Human Interface Device (HID)
The key part of implementing Factory IoT will be the interfacing between our machines and our people. The success or failure of our strategy will come down to how timely and effectively the information from our AI tools can be communicated to our people. We are currently investigating the optimal communication solutions with the development of advanced technologies such as AR, wearable devices, and BI tools. Ideally, these will become tools that can help people to reach creative and innovative solutions to problems right on the plant floor. Using our accumulated data and these HID devices, we can deliver information that makes full use of each person’s individuality and skills, bringing out the strengths of our veterans and newbies, as well as our partners in and outside of Japan, making our diversity a valuable asset. Using tools that feel familiar to people in the workplace brings out an even higher level of capability that will enable our people to grow and be more productive. Building flexible platforms that freely combine hardware and applications is a challenge we are taking on to create the tools that will amplify MONOZUKURI throughout DENSO.
Human and human Co-Creation
ー Growing Together Under One Roof ー
Communication of Knowledge
With Factory IoT, we are building a platform that integrates DENSO’s information across 38 countries and 223 locations and enables knowledge sharing that extends beyond country borders and time. It is important to remember that the target is not simply an integrated database. With Factory IoT, we must focus on every facet of IoT from data collection to advanced analytics. With this type of system in place, vast amounts of production data can be gathered that can be shared anywhere in the world on a daily basis.
An engine using Artificial Intelligence can also perform data processing, including tag assignment and clustering. This type of data processing can be used to reflect the DENSO workplace know-how by automatically collecting both machine and human behavior in each location, drawing conclusions, and communicating ideas to people all around the world. Naturally, workplace management information is collected automatically, but the speech and behavior of people who are working obtained from wearable devices, etc. can be collected automatically, too. Our aim is to share the user experience that cannot be conveyed numerically. As a result, best practices and workplace KAIZEN activities can be analyzed daily, while knowledge that can be shared globally continues to grow in real time. We want to innovate in terms of how the accumulated knowledge will be used in the future as well. For example, we envision a world where simulation is performed in a virtual environment and the results can be verified in consultation with the combined knowledge of the entire company on the spot. This will stimulate people’s curiosity and desire for KAIZEN to promote growth at an overwhelming speed. We continue to aspire to achieve an environment in which we merge our strength with that of our global partners and support the individual KAIZEN and growth of people in the workplace.
There are still few precedents in the area of IoT. Conversations around data validation and other IoT developments are complicated and will be ongoing well into the future. This challenge helps to motivate DENSO, allowing us to freely design and implement our own idea of what IoT and the “ideal factory” is. It’s because of this that DENSO will continue to be pioneers in the development of Factory IoT as we strive to KAIZEN and achieve MONOZUKURI.