ARaymond Japan* plant sets high efficiency standards for industry

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State-of-the-art facility near Tokyo expanding capacity to supply fastening solutions to car manufacturers and non-automotive markets.

Ergonomic workspaces, a multi-skilled workforce and lean manufacturing methods make the new ARaymond Japan plant one of the most productive of its kind in the whole of the Asia-Pacific region, according to the fastener company.

ARaymond**, one of the worldwide leaders in fastening and assembly solutions, relocated its Japanese operations to Hadano,60km west of Tokyo, after outgrowing its old building.

Nearly twice as big and built at a cost of 2.1 billion yen (€15.75 million), the 7,000 sq m plant is fully automated – its 23 molding machines and six assembly machines operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To upgrade working conditions for the 43 employees, there are spacious rest and recreational areas, insulation to reduce noise, and hi-tech eco-friendly systems to control temperature and humidity.

In the production area, the workforce helped plan and design their own departments to improve ergonomics and incorporate lean manufacturing methods that save time and physical effort, optimize the use of materials and reduce waste.

“Our employees will spend more time in the workplace than they will at home so we wanted to provide the most comfortable working conditions possible,” said Yasuki Takenaka, Managing Director, ARaymond Japan.

“All our operators are autonomous and polycompetent, meaning they are multi-skilled and responsible for running their own projects. Our other objective was to create an open, transparent environment that makes it easier for our people to meet, communicate and work with each other.

“We believe this will foster greater innovation and ultimately help to increase efficiency and productivity per head. We are already one of the leanest, most modern automotive plants in the region.

“We hope the new plant will also help us to retain all our skilled employees, around half of whom have worked for the company for more than 15 years. We want them to stay with us until they retire, and even encourage their sons and daughters to work for us.”

The plant, which became operational in August 2014, produces around 50 million quick connectors a year, mainly for fuel systems, and has the potential to boost output to 60 million.

Mr Takenaka said: “We are planning to increase our capacity by 5% this year and by between 10% to 15% over the next three years.

“The Japanese automotive sector is shrinking and ARaymond Japan is one of very few companies serving this industry that is expanding.The extra capacity will allow us to develop the next generation of value-added automotive fastening solutions, as well as serve growing markets outside the automotive sector, namely solar.”

For more than10 years, ARaymond Japan has kept a flawless record for timely deliveries, even during the relocation of production from the old factory to the new one. In that time it has also maintained high quality levels, with product defect levels in the region of 50 to 100 ppb (parts per billion), well above the industry average.

“Quality is of paramount importance to us because the parts and components we supply are classified as safety parts,” said Mr Takenaka.

“As well as improving productivity and efficiency, the new plant will ensure we maintain our very high quality and service levels, giving assurance and confidence to our customers.”

About ARaymond Network***

The ARaymond Network is a worldwide leader in fastening and assembly solutions for the automotive industry. Its products are used in the manufacture of nearly all vehicle classes, from city cars to luxury limousines. Other key markets are: Truck, Industrial, Energies, Agriculture and Life.

Headquartered in Grenoble, France, the ARaymond Network is made up of 37 independent enterprises located in Europe, North and South America, Asia and North Africa. Together these companies operate 22 production sites and employ 5,500 people. Six per cent of turnover is invested in research and development every year.

Established in 1865, the ARaymond Network has been a family-owned business throughout its history. Current CEO Antoine Raymond is the great-great-grandson of founder Albert-Pierre Raymond.

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