|Always Make Your Products Friendly.
This Attitude Prevailed from the Very First Product (1948)
|Dont make anything that gives
your customers trouble! This is something I heard constantly from the Old
Man, more often than I care to remember, ever since I started working here,
said Kawashima. When youre making something, think about the
person wholl have to be spending the most time with it. And, The
person who spends the most time with it will be the customer, right? Next is the
repairman at the place that sells the product. Next is the people in our plant.
Even though youre the one who makes it, the designer spends the least time
with it of all. If you put yourself in the place of the person wholl be
using the product over a long time, then you wont be able to design an unfriendly
product. This was typical of the way the Old Man talked to us.
When the chimney engine was being reconstructed, Mr. Onda also examined its sister product, the A-Type engine, very closely.
I was just amazed, he said. All through the engine I saw the signs of what we call a friendly design. I noticed it when I dismantled the engine. What? I thought, When I remove a nut from this machine, no parts fall off anywhere. Whats going on? For example, there are locknuts on the crankshaft and speed reduction gearbox bearings. In other words, these were screws that hold on the rotating shaft, and they were designed so they wouldnt cause immediate trouble even if they somehow got loose. Either the screw wouldnt come out completely, or it was arranged so that the mechanism wouldnt break down right away if the screw did come all the way out. It was designed to hold at least until the driver realized something was not right, and the problem was noticed. This shows a concern for safety. In those days, screws were low-precision items, and everyone accepted that no matter how well you tightened a nut, it was going to work itself loose. That must be why they thought up this design.
The same kind of detailed care was taken with maintainability. As Onda observed: People werent equipped with the kinds of specialized tools you find today, so we designed it to make things easy for repairmen, to make it so they could dismantle the machine and reassemble it without using special tools. In effect, this was also a kindness to the customer.
Rediscovering the thoughtful design that, still a goal today, had been built into the A-Type engine, Onda was deeply impressed.
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