Talking about Aisin’s future Digital transformation (DX) strategies
In April 2021, Aisin unveiled its new corporate philosophy “Inspiring ‘movement,’ creating tomorrow.” Under this philosophy, Aisin is accelerating efforts to achieve digital transformation (DX). DX is the transformation of business models and organizations by using digital technologies, and initiatives for DX have been gaining momentum around the world. This is because an important key to realizing a sustainable society is believed to be solving global issues while achieving economic growth. Answering this question is CDO Suzuki, who has played an essential role in our IT efforts since the beginning.
- 1. Aisin’s DX. So far, and from now on
- 2. Company-wide organization will create new value in multiple directions
- 3. Becoming a platform capable of solving social issues through DX
Executive Vice President
Chief Digital Officer (CDO) Kenji Suzuki
Aisin’s DX. So far, and from now on
Started initiatives from the beginning of the IT era. Making all employees feel involved in DX
For over a decade, Aisin has worked to develop platforms and technologies in preparation for DX, including initiatives to improve work efficiency using digital technologies, development of advanced AI technologies, and promotion of IoT. CDO Suzuki has been involved in these initiatives from the very early stages. CDO Suzuki has been involved in these initiatives from the very early stages. “In 2007, when the term IoT was not generally known, AISIN had already started initiatives to improve efficiency of existing processes by promoting IT and automation. I think Aisin’s DX today began with advancing these initiatives a step ahead, gathering data from different processes across organizations, and using them for reform of work operations and technologies.” Aisin has continued to promote DX, through trial and error, in terms of both technology development and manufacturing. Examples of our success include development of a high-precision circumference monitoring system using virtual evaluation and the establishment of an autonomous digital factory capable of responding to diverse needs. However, now that transformation of the automobile industry is required, further reform is necessary, says Suzuki.
“In order to make ourselves truly competitive and thrive in this era of transformation, we must broaden our approach to DX. So far, operations related to digital technologies have been handled mainly by engineers with much knowledge in that field. From now on, however, I think all employees should be involved in order to expedite our DX initiatives.”
Company-wide organization will create new value in multiple directions
Setting up the DX Strategy Center
The objective of the Aisin DX Strategy Center is to accelerate work process reform and new initiatives using digital technologies and to build the foundation for digital business management. The DX Strategy Center is positioned as an independent organization beyond the typical company framework. “The DX Strategy Center now has about 200 members, including many junior-level members, gathered from different Companies. They put their respective issues on the table to find solutions and advance DX across department borders. This has made cross-organizational initiatives much more effective. By promoting DX in a wide range of fields such as human resources and accounting, and design and development, we will advance reform of work processes and create new products and services, which I believe will lead to the provision of new value.”
Combining Aisin’s strengths by DX to implement production reform and create new businesses
What are the strengths of Aisin in promoting DX? “I think the know-how in production management we have accumulated will be the greatest strength,” CDO Suzuki says with confidence. “Aisin has various technologies that have accumulated over a long period of time. These are unique strengths and of great value, which should be combined and comprehensively enhanced. This is Aisin’s DX, I believe. For example, design, production and manufacturing were conventionally completed in order. But today, due to DX, 3D technology is employed throughout the processes, and we can examine production lines and processing equipment in parallel with product design, reducing the development period. The knowledge Aisin has acquired through its long history is incorporated in these digital technologies.” Another strength of Aisin is its technological capabilities in a wide range of fields, such as vehicle navigation systems, automated driving assist technology and data analysis ability. Aisin is now working to create unique value in these fields using DX. Specifically, it conducts analysis and simulations of big data obtained from vehicles and roads on the “mobility service platform” to create new services. “In logistics, for example, drivers usually routinely follow their designated routes. But by using this Aisin platform, whenever a truck becomes available, it can deliver and pick up cargo via the optimal route determined by the navigation system while simultaneously monitoring the loading condition inside the truck with sensing technology. This not only enables efficient delivery and pickup operations but also improves fuel efficiency.”
Becoming a platform capable of solving social issues through DX
By improving technology and awareness, we transform risks into chances
As part of its DX initiatives, Aisin will provide DX training for employees of all departments. The training program will include lectures as well as hands-on practical training. This is expected to increase human resource mobility and will help employees acquire digital knowledge and skills through hands-on experience, thereby encouraging each of them to work to improve the skills necessary to thrive in the future of the industry.
Suzuki describes the future vision of Aisin from the perspective of DX promotion as follows: “DX is crucial to achieve necessary changes, such as electrification and automation, for the future of Aisin. Also, if Aisin works in cooperation with various companies and local governments, I think diverse social issues can be solved. For example, on the platform using location information, we have developed a childcare support system to which the technologies and knowledge accumulated for Aisin’s rideshare service, “Choisoko,” are applied, and we have started demonstration tests in Okazaki City. Through promoting DX, Aisin truly aims to become a company capable of solving social issues. All employees will make united efforts to achieve this goal step-by-step.”