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Hitachi Seiki Case

Yutaka Matsumura, directors of the of the largest machine tool companies in Japan, worked closely with Hitachi Seiki and guided the company to become an innovation leader because their competitive industry was significantly changing. The problem was in innovation for the Japanese machine tool industries to catch up with the rest of the world. This made it difficult with Matsumura setting the objective to always introduce the most advanced products in the marketplace.

Hitachi Seiki stayed on top of their competitors with a competitive priority producing the best product uality for their customers. To meet this standard Hitachi Seiki set forth a new engineering discipline called Mechatronics, which is the integration of mechanical design and electronics. With this new discipline the company can take action in Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS) to be able to meet the needs of their customers and be as flexible as possible to cater to them.

The case states, “There were many problems with the new technology, and developments in automation did not materialize as rapidly as expected. As a result, many companies stuck with traditional manufacturing processes. ” This set Hitachi Seiki apart from the other companies and they had a competitive advantage among the other companies. There are three options that lie to overcome the problem of innovation. The first option to consider is automated materials handling for the assembly.

With this course of action the company takes concern in three different areas of operation; how should the assembly process, the automatic storage system and the production ontrol system be organized? With this option the company figured that the automated materials handling, providing the right materials to the right place at the right time, would reduce assembly time to Just 60 hours to meet their competitive priority and the customers product expectations. The second option to consider is high precision with FMS 1 11 .

Hitachi Seiki produced machines capable of operating in a range from one to five microns, they Just required lengthy and careful setup rocedures that could take up to fours hours. Though, with this option, the company fgured the setups could be done off-line and reduced to one hour and processing time would be reduced by 25% and the total system utilization would increase from 80%-95%. The third option to consider, and the option that I suggest for the company to follow, is full line FMS 112. 5, to extend the lead time advantage to all final products with FMS capability for the whole line of components.

This option would be a arginal improvement and would reduce lead-time for completed products. This is the best option because it is the least controversial of the proposed flexible manufacturing systems and everyone on the manufacturing floor felt that it was needed to fill the gap in their capability to machine prismatic parts in 800 by 800 millimeters in size. The risks with this option are that the designers were not quite on board with it and the cost of the system was estimated to be around $3 million. Hitachi Seiki Case By zhembree

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