Tackling social issues through digital transformation (DX)
- Bring smiles to customers through logistics support for the logistics industry, and through road maintenance and management support for local governments -
“Inspiring ‘movement,’ creating tomorrow” - to achieve this corporate philosophy, Aisin is accelerating its commitment to digital transformation (DX). DX means transforming business models and organizations by using digital technologies, and initiatives for DX have been gaining momentum around the world. This is because it is believed that an important key to realizing a sustainable society lies in solving global problems through DX, while achieving economic growth. To contribute to establishing an ideal society in which everyone can live a high-quality life, Aisin is accelerating its efforts to solve social problems through DX.
Contribution to making communities even safer and more comfortable for everyone
To ensure safe and secure use of roads, local governments play a truly critical role in road maintenance and management. However, it is very difficult to maintain and manage all roads with the limited resources available. With this background, Aisin is developing a unique service to support local governments through DX in maintaining and managing roads.
Aisin’s road maintenance and management support service "Michi-log" is designed to detect road abnormalities from data collected by moving vehicles, provide the abnormality information to the relevant local government, offer planning support for road repairs, and implement the necessary measures. It is a total road maintenance and management service that enables conventional road maintenance and management work to be performed more efficiently.
For collecting road data, Aisin’s concept is to “create a system for performing efficient data collection and inspection without burden on local governments.” In this system, simply attaching a module created by Aisin to a wide variety of vehicles moving on the streets, such as waste collection vehicles, enables automatic gathering of data. In addition, analysis of such data as big data enables road abnormalities, which have so far only been discovered through in-person inspection at the actual sites, to be identified easily through a web app.
Even abnormal points reported by residents can be managed on Michi-log, making it unnecessary to manage such points using paper documents as has been done so far, while making it possible for the relevant managers and patrol unit members to check the necessary information in real time. In this regard, they can work more efficiently.
A simple, easy-to-use design of a user interface (UI), which Aisin has mastered by developing car navigation systems, is another specialty of Aisin.
Miyajima, who leads the development of the service, says the following: "What we emphasize the most is actually going to the relevant site to check what the customer's problem is and providing a solution to address that problem. If the customer doesn’t feel joy after adopting Aisin’s solution at the actual site, it’s pointless. By developing car navigation systems, we have gained expertise in location information utilization technology, cloud computing, servers, etc. To ensure that such expertise can be adopted actively even by customers who are not used to IT or who tend to stay away from IT, we have teamed up with BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment and used the company’s PAC-MAN for our service. As indicated by such team-up, we have demonstrated ingenuity with the app’s UI in terms of enabling the service to be used by many customers. By incorporating the views of people working at the actual sites, we are improving the service every day toward making the UI easier and more intuitive for everyone to use. We would like to have Michi-log serve as a bridge between customers and DX so that they will feel closer to DX, use it, and feel joy."
Mr. Miyajima, who leads the development of the road maintenance and management support service
Currently, demonstration experiments are under way at at least 11 local governments in Japan. Showing very favorable responses, these governments say that they can expect an improvement in their operational efficiency.
For road repairs, on the other hand, it is necessary to optimize the standards for detecting abnormal points in such a way that each local government can use them easily. This is because management methods vary among local governments. To ensure that many local governments can use the service, Aisin optimizes abnormality detection levels according to the local government based on the location information utilization platform. At the same time, Aisin has made it possible to easily change the management information used for daily reports and operation instructions. These features are also distinctive Aisin's initiative.
In addition to road maintenance and management, local governments have many management tasks to identify what has happened and where, in their communities. These tasks have a high affinity with Aisin’s location information utilization technology, big data analysis technology, and content creation technology obtained by developing car navigation systems.
“In the future, we would like to go beyond the field of road repairs. We would like to establish a platform to help local governments conduct more effective management of the necessary information, such as disaster information at the time of torrential rain and other disasters, and crime prevention information. In so doing, we would like to expand the scope of our commitments to DX and contribute to realizing a society where everybody can live more safely and securely,” says Takeuchi, who promotes the development of the service.
Mr. Takeuchi, who promotes the development of the road maintenance and management support service
Toward human-friendly logistics
Logistics play a very significant role for convenience stores, supermarkets, and other aspects of people’s daily lives in terms of convenience and comfort. However, the logistics industry is now facing many problems, such as the shortage and aging of drivers, the physical burden during loading and unloading operations, and CO2 emissions from trucks.
In this situation, Aisin is developing a unique service to support improvement in delivery efficiency and flexibility in the logistics industry through DX.
Aisin’s logistics support service "BRIDGES@ny" assists a full line of delivery operations ranging from cargo departure to cargo arrival, including delivery planning and route guidance optimized for the logistics sites involved, reporting on the progress of the transportation by truck, and provision of information on the cargo destination, such as the cargo loading location. In so doing, the service supports the improvement of delivery efficiency and flexibility.
Drivers, who transport cargoes, are not the only people to whom Aisin would like to deliver joy through this service. The concept of this service is to establish human-friendly logistics by delivering joy to a wide variety of people involved in logistics, such as those who send or receive cargoes.
-Joy of serving for people in various situations
For people who transport cargoes: Reduce their frustration by guiding the optimum route and enable them to realize smooth delivery by informing them where to park their truck and where and how to unload their cargoes, based on information on the relevant store
For people who send the cargoes: Enable them to prepare an efficient and lean delivery plan, realize integrated management of the relevant bases and route, and visualize the delivery situation through dynamics management
For people who receive the cargoes: Enable them to receive the cargoes at their desired time and place
This service, of course, provides the drivers with information on the most appropriate route, leading to a reduction in CO2 emissions from their trucks. It is therefore an environmentally friendly service.
Aisin can provide these forms of joy because it boasts excellent connected technology, which it has obtained by developing car navigation systems.
Yamamura, who leads the development of the service, says the following: "Our strengths lie not only in having know-how in connected technology, cloud computing and software, but also in operating the entire process including technology development and production engineering. Accordingly, while referring to feedback from actual customers, we can engage in in-house discussions and design applications and services on our own to solve the customers’ problems. Of course, we also actively proceed with joint projects and research with IT companies, research institutes, universities, etc. both at home and abroad. Our goal is to solve problems speedily and surely to bring smiles to our customers’ faces."
Mr. Yamamura, who leads the development of the logistics support service
Furthermore, Aisin operates a car navigation business throughout the world and has an extensive range of data on roads around the world. Accordingly, Aisin can apply its expertise to solving problems that are similar to one another around the world.
“To develop a solution for a customer, we definitely need to visit the customer many times and listen attentively to those working at the actual site. What is the customer’s true problem? To discuss the fundamental point thoroughly and create a service that will truly please those involved in the logistics industry - this is our responsibility,” says Kasezawa, who promotes the development of the service.
Mr. Kasezawa, who promotes the development of the logistics support service
Cross-sectional organizations to develop solutions speedily
Aisin has a very unique organizational system for addressing social problems through DX.
To conduct the development of these services even more speedily, the CSS Company* has established a cross-sectional working group for each project. The company is accelerating the speed of the development by forming a team comprising members with different specialties, such as software, hardware and business, so that such members can exchange a wide variety of ideas. These teams are free from the concepts of “supervisors” and “subordinates,” with each member serving as the representative in his/her specialized field.
“All the members present their views actively, enjoy working on their own initiative, and solve customers’ troubles. While operating this cycle speedily, we are working on the development of solutions to bring smiles to our customers’ faces. It is, of course, important to ensure that our activities lead to new business. But we also hope that our work will invigorate our company even more and spur the company on to realizing the corporate philosophy ‘Inspiring “movement,” creating tomorrow,’” says Yamamura.
Backed by employee’s enthusiasm and its flexible organizational system, Aisin will continue to accelerate its efforts toward solving social problems through DX.
*Connected & Sharing Solutions Company