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back to index backASIAtalk October,  2005

Aisan To Use Chinese Plant to Develop and Test Manufacturing Methods It Can Use Worldwide

For the Japanese auto parts industry, using Chinese factories as an export platform to capture global markets with relatively low cost and relatively reasonable quality goods is nothing new. But one major maker, Toyota group's Aisan Kogyo has found a new use for Japan's continental neighbor, says Nikkan Jidosha.

The Aichi based fuel injection systems specialist plans to use its Chinese plant, which makes throttle bodies, calibrators and aluminum die castings in Tianjin, not just as a source of cheap labor but as a development arena for new manufacturing techniques. Its aim, the paper said, is to develop easy to understand and easy to use techniques that it can deploy not only in China but to factories in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere that are not manned by Japanese workers.

As with many other Japanese parts makers that have followed their automaker clients abroad, Aisan's most pressing problem is finding ways to maintain Japanese-level quality for every new part its overseas subsidiaries must produce. Up to now, it has for the most part designed manufacturing methods and techniques for new parts in Japan. Only after it has ironed out the kinks in its domestic production processes, has it tried to move them into its overseas plants. But the company has found over the years that what works well and is fairly easy to execute in Japan, isn't necessarily effective in other places. The main problems, according to Nikkan Jidosha, are levels of education and the sheer mechanical skills of workers. What's easy for Japanese factory workers can be mind-bogglingly difficult for foreign workers to master.

So while Aisan will continue developing the basic manufacturing concepts for new parts in Japan, instead of perfecting them there, it will take them to its Chinese plant for testing and adjustment.

Beginner-Friendly Methods:

The company's aim is to realize manufacturing methods that will make it possible for factory staff with little experience to make high-quality products,” Nikkan Jidosha said.

It will seek to find the most beginner friendly” manufacturing techniques, keeping in mind that it's often tough to find highly skilled workers and maintenance staff in overseas locations, the paper said.

If the new experiment in China works, the company will think about building an entire model assembly line there to test new manufacturing methods, adjacent to the existing Chinese line on which it recently began making fuel systems, the paper said.

Source: Japan Automotive Digest

For more information on the Japan Automotive Digest, click here.

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Aisan To Use Chinese Plant to Develop and Test Manufacturing Methods It Can Use Worldwide
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