Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Monday, December 5, 2022

Fujitsu, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, SAP Japan and Skillnote Collaborate to Provide Platform Services in the Manufacturing Industry 

TOKYO, Nov. 22, 2022 -- Fujitsu, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., SAP Japan Co., Ltd., and Skillnote Corporation plan to collaborate on the development of platform services supporting digital transformation (DX) in the manufacturing industry, with a focus on the manufacturing of aircraft, railways, ships, and large machinery.
The four companies will combine their experience and know-how in DX, system construction and engineering to create manufacturing platform services that strengthen the supply chain.

DX in Manufacturing for a More Resilient Supply Chain

Finding ways to respond flexibly to rapid changes in the global economy, including a dramatic reduction in the working age population in many developed countries, represents an ongoing challenge for the manufacturing industry. To this end, the demand for measures to ensure business continuity throughout the supply chain and to standardize and systemize technologies and skills is gaining increasing importance.

Many on-site production management tasks still rely on manual labor, however, and especially small and medium-sized manufacturers often face barriers to DX adoption, including trouble securing skilled workers and difficulty in calculating the return on investment. There also remain concerns that the local digitization and systematization of individual companies may create organizational silos that hinder overall optimization of the entire supply chain and operations linked to the engineering chain (1).

To address these challenges and to provide a basis for efficient, continuous high-quality manufacturing by using common data and information, Fujitsu, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, SAP Japan and Skillnote plan to develop manufacturing platform services “co-created” with users.
Moving forward, the four companies aim to provide subscription-type platform services for user lead system implementation, unified business and unified data that combines high-quality manufacturing management processes already in operation with the community infrastructure among users.

1. Features of the Platform Services

(a.) Provision of a one-stop business process from the design department to the manufacturing site

In order to drive the development of the manufacturing industry in the global market, linking the "value" created in the engineering chain to the frontline manufacturing sites in the supply chain, real-time monitoring at the manufacturing sites and feed-back of information to the design department in a fast manner represent important challenges. To achieve this, businesses need to realize tight data coordination between the design department and the manufacturing shop floor, accurate change control as well as visualization of activities.

Under the name “Smart-K Project” (2), Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. Aerospace Systems Company, one of Japan's leading aircraft manufacturers, has standardized the manufacturing process of aircrafts that requires high quality and transparency, and has realized digitization of its business by introducing SAP’s "SAP S/4HANA Manufacturing for Production Engineering and Operations (PEO)" (3) provided by Fujitsu and SAP Japan.
Within the Smart-K Project, the PEO solution links the manufacturing site with the ERP and PLM systems and the engineering and supply chains in a one-stop manner, enabling real-time understanding of the strict flow down of technology requirements and the current state of the manufacturing site.

The four parties aim to leverage the high-quality and efficient business processes cultivated through the Smart-K Project to offer users new platform services that provide value to a wide range of manufacturing supply chains.

(b.) Helping users to implement systems and improve their DX Skills

The new platform services aim to provide Fujitsu's system application know-how and contents as a service to enable users to take the lead in the implementation of new systems. It shall further help customers to improve their DX skills to proactively change their operations and continuously improve system operations.

(c.) Participatory platform services

In the area of system implementation, current approaches including “Fit to standard” (4) increasingly aim to reduce the burden on users. While this is an effective method to promote DX and to align business with standard functions, concerns remain that users’ requests for system improvements might not be reflected. The new platform services aim to create a new standard by enabling users to share their improvement requests and development priorities.

Business operations after the implementation of new systems, especially the role of engineering in the manufacturing industry represent another highly important factor. To this end, the services aim to enhance the value of the platform by providing engineering services such as master creation support necessary for businesses. To maximize the value of the new platform services, the four companies will work on leveraging data on the platform and linking it with various SaaSs.
Skillnote provides a SaaS-type service that supports human resource development through skills management, qualification management and training planning at manufacturing sites. With Skillnote’s support, the companies will contribute to the further development of the platform services and enable users to link skills management with manufacturing execution of the manufacturing site via the new platform services.

2. Roles and responsibilities (including plans)

3. Overview and schedule of the collaboration

Moving forward, the four companies plan to build platform services and develop a variety of support services based on hearings with user companies and various organizations. Starting with AeroEdge Co.,Ltd. (5), a manufacturer of components for aircraft engines, the four companies will conduct trials with several companies through the first half of fiscal 2023, with the aim to launch the new services in July 2023.

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu’s purpose is to make the world more sustainable by building trust in society through innovation. As the digital transformation partner of choice for customers in over 100 countries, our 124,000 employees work to resolve some of the greatest challenges facing humanity. Our range of services and solutions draw on five key technologies: Computing, Networks, AI, Data & Security, and Converging Technologies, which we bring together to deliver sustainability transformation. Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 3.6 trillion yen (US$32 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2022 and remains the top digital services company in Japan by market share.

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