Rebirth of the Fuji Plant
Restructuring Project Kicks Off!
(From left) Obayashi, Yabe, Nishikawa, Nishioka, Adachi, Furugohri
Fuji Plant Restructuring Promotion Office
In 1968, our Fuji Plant was the first in Japan to begin manufacturing engineering plastics. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the plant. In recent years, our operations have expanded globally and our production sites have shifted overseas, and there have been changes of the environment surrounding the Fuji Plant, as well as the role required of it. Given this, we have been thinking about the future we want to achieve for the Fuji Plant, and so we decided to launch the Fuji Plant Restructuring Project.
Project Launch Background
In recent years, many Japanese companies, including manufacturers, are shifting their production sites overseas. As we too build our global manufacturing system, it became necessary for us to reconsider the reason for being of the Fuji Plant, which drives the Polyplastics Group. What makes our company so competitive is that this plant is full of the knowledge, experience, and efforts of all our employees, including those who used to work with us. At this moment, IT systems are expanding as well, and we are facing a major revolution in what it means to be a manufacturer. If the Fuji Plant does not innovate in the way that the future demands, then there will be no path to stable growth for the Group as a whole. Given this, we have been exploring possibilities for the ideal of the Fuji Plant and how to achieve it, and so we decided to launch the Fuji Plant Restructuring Project.
Lively Debates on the Future of the Fuji Plant
The Restructuring Project began when 15 members of the 11 divisions in the plant gathered together to discuss “the role required of the Fuji Plant” and “the future ideal of a plant”. At the same time, they conducted an employee survey for perception of the current situation and picked up 347 issues to address. As they investigated these issues, the project members conducted debate after debate until they were all convinced. With a shared awareness of the true nature of the challenges, they ultimately summarized the issues into seven categories. It was amazing for them to discover that although they belonged to different divisions, on a deeper level, they shared the same feelings, thoughts, and concerns. They proceeded to organize the issues and determine the concept that would serve as the compass for this project.
Future Concept and Vision
The concept of this project was to set three functions for the Fuji Plant to fulfill in the future.
In order to achieve this project, we received a five billion yen financing loan through the Development Bank of Japan’s Local Assistance Program. This financing was a syndicate loan from multiple local banks in the Fuji Plant area. Based on our CSR approach of providing opportunities to make society better through our business activities, we did this because of our desire to contribute not only to local banks but also the vitalization of the local community.
Image of F-BASE
Our Path Forward
The Restructuring Project was divided into four phases based on the plan above. One big part of this revolution is the construction of “F-BASE”, which is planned for Phase 2. The divisions that are dispersed among the different areas of the plant (operation, maintenance, technology, testing, logistics, and safety) will be integrated into one floor in an effort to gather expertise about manufacturing. We spur innovation through inter-departmental information exchange with a sense of speed in order to achieve better quality and stable production. We expect that engaging extensively with the R&D and with vendors as an open plant will allow the Fuji Plant to be the birthplace of further technological innovation. To achieve this, we are currently working on automating and digitizing work using AI and wearable devices, thereby creating extra resources in our operations. In the future, we will improve productivity tremendously and the Fuji Plant will play an even bigger role as a source of information for overseas plants.
Fuji Plant Restructuring Promotion Office
“We want to create a
culture of change, free
from the past working styles.”
This is a grand-scale project spanning a decade, but its spirit can be expressed in one phrase: “We want to create a company culture of change free from the past working styles.” To realize this, it was essential that every individual employee experience a mental revolution, feel interested in the activity, and corporate with one another. We set grounded and steady milestones and carry out the plan, and it will slowly but certainly become the kind of activity that engages every employee in planning and implementation. We want to make the Fuji Plant into an organization that can meet customers’ expectations, win the love of the people of local communities, and that, even 50 years ahead, will inspire vitality and joy in all its employees.