Face CASE34 Face

Honda Motor Co., Ltd., and Honda Logistic Service Co., Ltd.Transportation Domain of Honda Group Operations

Part 1: HLS Proposes a Motorcycle Logistics Reform Plan

Akinori Kumagai, Manager, Marketing & Product Planning Department, Sales Division, Honda Logistic Service Co., Ltd.

Akinori Kumagai, Manager, Marketing & Product Planning Department, Sales Division, Honda Logistic Service Co., Ltd.

Makiko Tanaka, Assistant Manager, Marketing & Product Planning Department, Sales Division, Honda Logistic Service Co., Ltd.

Makiko Tanaka, Assistant Manager, Marketing & Product Planning Department, Sales Division, Honda Logistic Service Co., Ltd.

Conflicting requests from customers and shipping crew

 "The impetus came when I noticed something strange happening in 2010. We received a request from Honda for more trucks, faster deliveries, and special one-time shipments. At the same time, our shipping staff were reporting that not many of the trucks were being used because of a lack of freight. We were using sales plans to adjust our total shipping capacity each month, so there was no reason for the discrepancy. What's going on? I thought. That's when the project started."
 Akinori Kumagai is head of the Marketing & Product Planning Department in HLS's Sales Division. The Marketing & Product Planning Department is the department in charge of gathering request from customers and shipping staff in order to improve operations and propose new solutions to customers. Kumagai, working with Assistant Manager Makiko Tanaka, began to pore over shipping data from the last three years.
 "We started with Yamaguchi, the region where Honda asked us to increase the number of truck shipments," said Tanaka. "No one had ever scrutinized past transactions so closely before, and this was my first time working in motorcycles, so it was hard in the beginning. But I stuck to it, and we discovered something."
 The Japanese motorcycle market has been on a course of steady decline in recent years. Unit sales today are almost half what they were a decade ago. And despite this, HLS's method of shipping motorcycles had gone largely unchanged.
 "It's like a bus still running around from the populated inner city to the countryside where everyone has moved out. There aren't enough buses in the city, and there are hardly any passengers in the country. That's the condition we had fallen into."
 As a result, the amount of money, energy, and CO2 it took to ship each motorcycle had steadily risen.
 That's when Kumagai and Tanaka decided to review their current approach and find a better way to ship. But in doing so, they also faced the troubling task of satisfying the requests from Honda and the dealerships for more shipments, even as they tried to reduce the number of trucks needed and total distance traveled.
 "Finding the best combination of shipping patterns out of the infinite number of possibilities was like working on a jigsaw puzzle," recalled Tanaka.
 For each dealer in the area, they researched everything from past sales numbers to closed days. They then conducted simulations trying to find the geographical grouping and route network that maximized loads without reducing the number of shipments and while increasing the number of shipments in areas that needed it. The two conducted head-spinning calculations over and over again. Finally, in January 2011, they managed to piece together a comprehensive logistics reform proposal for Yamaguchi.

Page Top

Honda Worldwide site

Home | Site Map | Site Index | About this Site

Copyright, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and its subsidiaries and affiliates. All Rights Reserved.