DX solves the problem of manpower shortages and technology transfer in Japan’s manufacturing industry
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The manpower shortage in the manufacturing industry is becoming more serious year by year due to the decline in the working-age population. In addition, it has been reported that engineers with craftsman-like skills, who have been the mainstay of Japanese manufacturing, are retiring, and that there are notable cases where skills are not being passed on properly. FOURIN conducted an interview with Linkwith, a start-up that is working to solve the problems of manpower shortages and technology transfer by utilising DX. The interview reports on the actual state of efficiency improvements at automobile production sites, with examples of the company’s initiatives using intelligent industrial robot technology, and the report is rich in suggestions for measures to deal with the challenges facing the automobile industry, such as cost reduction and low-volume, high-mix production, in addition to the aforementioned manpower shortage.
The Japanese automobile industry is undergoing major changes. Changes in technological aspects, such as tighter fuel consumption and emission regulations and growing needs for safety technologies such as automatic driving, and in addition to China, which has been growing ahead, emerging markets in India, ASEAN and other Asian countries have come to account for a large share of overall Japanese car sales. On the other hand, the Japanese market is expected to continue shrinking and there are concerns about the declining attractiveness of cars due to commoditisation, and the need to constantly work on optimising the scale of operations in a shrinking market. However, it is impossible for complete vehicle manufacturers and suppliers to fully address these challenges across all regions. In addition to the home country of Japan, it is necessary to constantly optimise business strategies by shading the regions with a strong presence, such as North America, ASEAN, India, China and the rest of Asia, where sales are large or the share of Japanese cars is high, and other regions. We provide timely information necessary to select and focus on strategies by comparing and analysing information from around the world that influences the trends of the Japanese automobile industry.