Calsonic Kansei Corp established the "Engineering Work Manual (EWM)," a system for sharing and consolidating design procedures and knowhow related to product development (design) and production facility development (production technology), and started to use it in 2013 in the aim of strengthening the company's global development system.
We interviewed Katsuyuki Narita, SVP of Calsonic Kansei, who led the development of the EWM, on the outline and aim of the EWM. (Interviewer: Masaru Yoshida, Nikkei Monozukuri)
Q: What kind of system is the EWM?
Narita: The EWM is, in a sense, a textbook for designs and the development of production technologies. Calsonic Kansei (CK) had CAES, which is a manual of design standards, ISOBrain, which is a system for the management of ISO documents, and other databases and CAE tools.
However, we did not clarify the entire process of development to answer questions such as (1) what is the development process of each product, (2) how should we cooperate with which section of our customer or our company and who should do what or (3) what kinds of tools should we use.
Experienced engineers knew it, but young engineers did not know how it works. In other words, we had not clarified the relation between the workflow needed for development project management and consideration of the details for actual development.
To put it more accurately, we established the development processes for the six main products. But, even though the amount of information was enough, the workflow needed for each development phase was not organized from the viewpoints of input, process and output. So, it did not help easily understand the entire development process.
On the other hand, for the EWM, we defined workflow along with the time axis and layered work process into four phases from macro (project management process) to micro (detailed task) to clarify who should do what in which order in each phase.
Moreover, we realized it as an IT system. Based on the opinions of experienced engineers, we analyzed their behaviors in actual work (workflow and design work) to develop a system that offers a navigation like that of an experienced engineer.
We developed 31 EWMs for product design and 26 EWMs for production technology for each product type called "commodity" and started to use them. With help from our overseas bases, we also rolled out English versions of the EWMs.