Face CASE34 Face

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

Toshio Kasuya, Manager, Logistics Department, Vehicle Assembly Plant, Kumamoto Factory

Toshio Kasuya, Manager, Logistics Department, Vehicle Assembly Plant, Kumamoto Factory

After 18 months of preparations, the project finally gets underway.

 "When I brought the proposal to Honda, I was pretty nervous. To implement this proposal, I was basically asking Honda to change its MOS (motorcycle ordering system), which Honda specially developed on its own, and carry out lengthy conversations with Kumamoto Factory and the dealerships. Honda's burden in this would be big, so I figured it would take a lot of persuading on my part."
 Contrary to Kumagai's worries, Honda promptly responded to his pitch with an eager, "Let's do it." From Honda's point of view, the project would create benefits for everyone involved—Honda, the dealerships, and HLS itself—while also making cuts to costs, energy use, and CO2 emissions. What's more, hammering out a proposal like this clearly took a lot of work; Honda felt a responsibility to implement it, whether it would take significant effort to get the job done or not.
 "We saw no reason to object. It would have no effect on the time it would take to deliver the products to the sales companies, it would increase the trucks’ shipping efficiency, and the overall result would be a smaller environmental footprint," said Toshio Kasuya, Manager of Logistics Department at Kumamoto Factory's Vehicle Assembly Plant.
 "Our department manages the logistics companies that transport products produced at Kumamoto Factory. We manage them, but we aren't apprised of the more detailed aspects of their operations, like what routes their trucks take in the last leg of shipment and how they load our products. That's valuable information that forms a part of their intellectual property. HLS took it upon itself to make the most of its know-how and provide us with the ideal proposal. Nothing could make us happier."
 Once the proposal was officially given the go-ahead, Honda Motorcycle Japan Co., Ltd. (HMJ) voluntarily joined the project to provide support. As a company that delivers Honda motorcycles to customers by way of sales companies nationwide, HMJ has direct connections to dealerships and is also the most knowledgeable about sales companies' operations. Essentially, HMJ's help gave the plan substance and ensured its success.
 "'This dealer is fine with that. This dealer sells mostly on Sunday and puts its orders in on Monday, so delivery on Thursday is perfect.' That's the kind of information they gave us, which allowed us to make small but important adjustments to our plan," said Tanaka.
 Following some 18 months of preparation since the initial proposal, the project to revamp shipping operations in Yamaguchi finally got underway in June 2012. Kumagai's and Tanaka's laborious simulations proved worthwhile: they succeeded in reducing the number of trucks and total distance traveled.

Yasuhiro Toyoda, Director, Osaka Office, Honda Logistic Service Co., Ltd.

Yasuhiro Toyoda, Director, Osaka Office, Honda Logistic Service Co., Ltd.

Logistics reform spreads to other regions

 Having successfully completed logistics reform in Yamaguchi, Kumagai and Tanaka next started to tackle reforms in other regions. They launched logistics reform in the seven prefectures of Kansai in December 2012, and four prefectures of Shikoku in March 2013.
 "Our experience in Yamaguchi did nothing to save us from having to follow the same slow process of piecing things together to find the best arrangement," said Tanaka. "In that sense it was tiring, but this time we found comfort in knowing that the dealerships and other companies would certainly appreciate what we accomplished in the end. [laughing]"
 The only region managed by Honda Logistic Service that has yet to undergo logistics reform is Okayama. Progress is currently being made in the drafting of a detailed reorganization plan. Logistics companies that handle the distribution of Honda products in East Japan are also introducing similar reforms.
 Yasuhiro Toyoda, Director of HLS's Osaka Office, who took part in the logistics reform as a fleet manager, talked about future aspirations.
 "From our perspective, there's still a lot to be done. From here we want to take on larger-scale reforms that include combining the transport of automobile and motorcycle products. We also want to get started on streamlining large-volume transfers from factories to the distribution centers, not just deliveries to dealers."

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