South Africa’s automotive sector will benefit from international linkages established by the South African contingent that returned from a SMMT Industry Forum visit to Japan this week.
The Japanese government confirmed three initiatives, relating directly to South Africa. These include the establishment of Human Resource Development Centres at the Tshwane University of Technology, which has already been piloted and an additional centre, most likely to be based at the NMMU.
Japan’s African Business Education Initiative for the Youth was also reaffirmed. The programme will train 1000 African youth from business, academia and the public sector in further study and internships at universities and private firms in Japan.
ADC Eastern Cape Supplier Development Manager, Lance Schultz, who was one of 22 senior automotive executives from the UK, Spain, Germany and South Africa, on the Best Practice visit, said 49 of the invited youth would be South African and that a large percentage of the group should emanate from the Eastern Cape.
He said one of the key benefits was a direct relationship built with the world’s leading Total Productive Maintenance institution, the Japan Institute for Plant Maintenance (JIPM). The Total Productive Maintenance Manufacturing approach was introduced into South Africa by the AIDC which is headquartered in Port Elizabeth.
“Japan has agreed in-principle to provide support to the SA Automotive sector and while details are to be concretised, this will cover expert trainers, breakdown maintenance support, conducting TPM audits and assisting local suppliers achieve the prestigious TPM awards and certification,” he said.
Japan Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry representative Mr Nakajima-Sou said: “Japan and South Africa have an in-principle agreement to provide experts to support the South African automotive sector, by seconding retirees beginning 2014.”
The Port Elizabeth based AIDC established the Total Productive Maintenance Manufacturing approach to South Africa’s automotive sector at the beginning of the year.
“While a Japan-funded Human Resource Development Centre, was established as a pilot at the Tshwane University of Technology, discussions are progressing well for a second manufacturing skills academy to be hosted at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, he said.
“There is huge opportunity for human resource development in the region. Central to the Japanese economy is the conviction that improving the human condition leads to a growing economy,” said Schultz. “And we can learn from that.”
Schultz said tour delegates were exposed to world class best practice in the application, education and training of Total Productive Maintenance and the Toyota Production System.
“We visited numerous plants, throughout Japan, including TPM world class winner Mutsuba Nisato Plant and Shindegen Okebe Plant which makes motor cycle parts.
Shindegen showed many examples of Karakuri Kaizens. The literal translation means “highly creative” or “enjoyable Kaizens”, using ideas developed from shop floor workers’ ideas.
Many of these improvements used so called “free energy to create movement” – simple ideas having motivational impact with the added benefit of using less energy, he said.
Schultz said the group heard a lecture about Toyota’s future plans and developments and had the rare opportunity to meet Dr Shuhei Toyoda, President of Toyota Boshoku and member of the Toyoda family that Founded Toyota.
A highlight, was a visit to Denso Technical Training Centre, which “raised the bar with all delegates around the level of technical capability, scope and scale of training and which has inspired the AIDC Eastern Cape to implement learnings for the benefit of the region’s industry.
The AIDC Eastern Cape was a wholly owned subsidiary of the ECDC and implementing agent of the Eastern Cape Provincial government’s automotive policy and strategy.
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