Hideo Hayashi, President of BUSYU KOGYO CO., LTD.
BUSYU KOGYO CO., LTD.(Ome city)
BUSYU KOGYO CO., LTD. is a pipe machining manufacturer, expert in bending automotive pipes. From 2008, the company has also been developing medical devices (disposable surgical instruments for endoscopic surgeries) utilizing mass-production technology accumulated in the automotive field. Currently, the company has a well-balanced sales composition, with 50% in automotive, 45% in medical devices, and 5% in aerospace and other areas. In addition, their balance sheet is exellent, having been certified as the “Superior Report Corporation” seven times, and also receiving the “Courageous Management Award of Excellence” in 2012. We interviewed President Hideo Hayashi, leader of this growing company.
The company’s management principle is “to work in the community.” Since 1998, employees have cleaned the road in front of the company premises everyday.
The most notable feature of is BUSYU KOGYO CO., LTD. is its ongoing community-based recruitment based on its management principle, “to work in the community.” This is made possible by realizing low-cost country (LCC) prices within Japan; in other words, by creating a system that enables gaining a competive edge even without offshore production. LCC is a method where automakers etc. select factories and place orders for automotive parts in countries that offer production with the lowest cost and highest quality.
“Automotive components are the same price regardless of whether they are produced in Japan or overseas. We call this ‘global price, one price.’ So people tend to think that offshore production is advantageous due to lower labor costs; however, we compensate for the gap in labor cost with our accumulated proprietary production technology. Every month, we produce 900,000 pipes covering 900 pipe types among the total 12,000 registered types, and are fully competent, not only in terms of price competitiveness, but also in terms of processing quality and on-time delivery.”
These words are backed up by the company’s manufacturing principle: “drawing on Japan’s Monozukuri (Manufacturing),” which embraces three directives; “creating tools: developing proprietary equipment,” “depending on people: nurturing cross-trained workers and entrusting them with everything,” and “trusting people: manufacturing based on One Piece Flow.”
The aforementioned One Piece Flow is a manufacturing method in which each cross-trained worker oversees all processes, from production planning to quality assurance. Introduced in 1985, the method has evolved significantly through repeated enhancements.
“This manufacturing method is based on the concept of in-process quality assurance. For example, a worker of a ramen stall does everything from taking the order to providing the ramen, so, if a contingent event occurs, such as a bug falling into the ramen, he or she can take immediate action. The same goes for one piece flow. A cross-trained worker is involved in all processes, from processing, quality management to delivery management, so even if there is a defective product, it would be detected on the spot.”
One Piece Flow enables maximizing yield, and realizes low-priced product supplies. That is a big factor involved in how the company managed to grow relying only on domestic production and without lowering wages.
“Cross-training starts from acquiring the most difficult skill right after joining the company—brazing aluminum. Once workers acquire this skill, learning other skills should be easy for them.”
The company was also one of the first to work on informatization, developing a web-based production management system using tablet devices, thereby realizing higher efficiency and work load leveling. Owing to such forefront efforts, the company was selected as “the Top 100 Small- and Medium-Sized Companies Engaged in Cutting-Edge IT Management” by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in 2015.
The company develops their own production equipment to enhance One Piece Flow production.
Another feature of the company is that, albeit a manufacturer, employees consist of those from both humanities and science backgrounds, as well as many women.
BUSYU KOGYO CO., LTD. is also involved in B2C businesses with its proprietary brand in consumer products, or pipegram, an educational toy. This toy was invented as a result of receiving the top prize at the 2012 Tokyo Business Design Award, hosted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
The Tokyo Business Design Award is a business proposal competition which matches companies that have high technical capabilities, with designers, with an aim to create new businesses. BUSYU KOGYO CO., LTD. laid out a theme: “to utilize world-class pipe bending technology, and nurture deft talents from childhood.” More than 10 design proposals were submitted by many designers. In the end, the proposal for Pipegram was selected.
“It would have been difficult to even select a designer had we tried to collaboratively develop a new product with a designer on our own. With the Tokyo Business Design Award, we didn’t have to bear any costs and yet competent designers submitted many proposals. Tokyo is an appealing location as such support is provided to vitalize small- to medium-sized companies.”
BUSYU KOGYO CO., LTD. entered into the B2C field after receiving the Tokyo Business Design Award. Their challenge, starting from pipegram, will continue.
pipegram derives from the words “pipe” and “-gram,” which means to express something with symbols. It was released in October 2014. (http://www.pipegram.com/)