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Himeji Plant, Nippon Shokubai Co., Ltd.

Himeji Plant, Nippon Shokubai Co., Ltd.

As part of its manufacturing innovation activities, Nippon Shokubai’s Himeji Plant built a system to facilitate accurate and smooth communication of instructions and information pertaining to the operation of manufacturing plant. The successfully installed system is capable of collectively managing the current condition, past background, and priority of each event that occurs during operation. Consequently, the system has brought about changes in working styles on the production workplace.

Limitations of paper-based and oral communication in accurately conveying detailed information on operations

Nippon Shokubai Co., Ltd. is a chemical company that conducts business based on the corporate philosophy, “TechnoAmenity: Providing affluence and comfort to people and society with our unique technology.” Nippon Shokubai’s Himeji Plant is situated on an 880,000-m² site in the western part of the Harima Coastal Industrial Zone. As Nippon Shokubai’s main plant, the Himeji site produces a wide range of chemical products such as acrylic acid ester for use in various applications including paints, glues, and adhesives; superabsorbent polymers for paper diapers and sanitary products; as well as fine and specility chemicals and automotive catalysts. These products are highly acclaimed by industries both inside and outside of Japan.

“Since 2007, the Himeji Plant has been actively conducting ‘Himeji Manufacturing Innovation (HMI) Activities’ with the aim of creating an ‘extremely safe and reliable manufacturing plant.’ In order to strengthen our manufacturing platform and attain optimum operation of the entire plant, we have organized several teams for each activity domain, such as quality control, conprehensive safety, business processes, operation, plant maintenace, and human resources development, and are striving to realize our vision of what our plant should be like,” said Mr. Okazaki.

Among those activity domains, job instructions and communications related to plant operation was an issue that demanded close attention.

“Production activities were performed by regular daytime operators and shift operators based on the four-group three-shift system, and information was communicated verbally or on paper using daily operation records during a briefing at the time of shift takeover. However, with that method it was difficult to accurately communicate detailed information about problems and precautions, and thus it left much to be desired when it came to reliable dissemination of information to all staff members,” said Mr. Munechika.

“Personnel who did not attend the shift takeover briefing — for example, section managers who organize and manage the information of events at the manufacturing site and staff members who prepare reference documents — could not fully grasp the details or progress of an event that occurred during production by reading the daily operation records, or subsquent events,” said Mr. Nomoto.

Note: Some of the information for March 2012 and earlier may use the former names of azbil Group companies.
These case studies were published in the 2012 Vol. 2 issue of the azbil Group's corporate magazine, azbil.