Konica Minolta Japan Announces Reorganization, R&D Expansion

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On December 6th, Konica Minolta of Tokyo, Japan, announced a major reorganization, beginning with reorganization of some of its research and development (R&D) and production functions in Japan, where those functions have been located in multiple facilities and sites. The new initiatives are part of the company’s goal to  optimize its R&D and production activities.

The plan calls for Konica Minolta to:

  • Strengthen its R&D in Imaging IoT; Konica Minolta will add a new building to an existing R&D campus (Takatsuki Site, Osaka) so that the core R&D human-resources work more closely. It will also open a new satellite office in Umeda, Osaka, to drive “open innovation.”
  • In reorganizing equipment and device production sites in Japan, three manufacturing subsidiaries (Konica Minolta Mechatronics, Konica Minolta Opto Products, and Konica Minolta Opto Device) will be merged. Konica Minolta will build a new factory at its  Mikawa Site in Toyokawa City, Aichi.
  • As the mainstay of the company’s core businesses, the Office business will reorganize development and customer-support functions, aiming to enhance the quality of the customer experience and deliver more-value through digital technologies.
  • Aligning with the company’s Corporate Real Estate (CRE) strategies, some facilities that will eventually have less responsibilities will be closed in 2020 and going forward.

Global Optimization in R&D and Position of R&D in Japan

Konica Minolta says it will be assigning functions to its global sites and facilities that leverage the unique strengths of the regions that they’re located in.

Regarding R&D, it says its U.S. R&D facilities have competitive strengths not only in cutting-edge R&D and alliances with partners in the ICT (information communication technologies) sector, but also in advanced bio-healthcare technologies. Konica Minolta will continue to focus on new technology development that takes advantage of these strengths.

It says that as its European R&D facilities have seen flourishing industry-academia collaborations and the progress of Industry 4.0, the company will expand its application software development.

In Japan, Konica Minolta says its strengths are in the power to develop platforms, both in hardware and software, with the core R&D capabilities provided its Tokyo Hachioji site. In Japan’s Osaka and surrounding western areas, Konica Minolta says it has facilities and human assets to develop Imaging IoT that takes advantage of its skills and assets in imaging AI and high-speed processing technologies. (The firm defines Imaging IoT as technologies that analyze image data and information from various sensors by utilizing AI, including deep learning, to assist decision-making and judgement in a variety of workplaces.)

With Imaging IoT at the core of growth driver for IoT and the data businesses it has been fostering, Konica Minolta says it will significantly enhance its development power by opening a new R&D building in Takatsuki Site in 2020 as a full-fledged Imaging IoT R&D center. It will also  be opening an R&D  satellite office in the Umeda area.

Global Optimization in Production

Mainly for its Business Technologies and Optical Component businesses, Konica Minolta’s primary factories are located in China. As challenges such as rising labor costs have started to emerge, it says its production outside of China has increased.

In May 2015, Konica Minolta launched full-scale operation at a new Malaysian factory which spearheads the company’s digital manufacturing as a cutting-edge product-assembly factory to lead Konica Minolta, and transfers production from China. Some consumables are being manufactured in factories in the United States and Europe to drive local production for local consumption for shorter lead time, inventory reduction, and “currency hedging.”

In Japan, Konica Minolta’s factories have been implementing the company’s digital manufacturing concept and rolling out technologies to other company facilities while  performing their roles in prototyping and small-quantity production of parts, units, and products that require high-level techniques. The leading-edge and highly precise production technologies are sad to be instrumental in enabling such difficult manufacturing in the factories in Japan.

Aiming to expand their roles, Konica Minolta will merge three of its equipment and device manufacturing subsidiaries in Japan (Konica Minolta Mechatronics, Konica Minolta Opto Products, Konica Minolta Opto Device) on April 1, 2019.

In an effort to achieve “manufacturing independent of people, place, country and variation,” Konica Minolta plans to create a new “manufacturing workplace in the IoT era,” by opening a new factory it its Mikawa Site in Japan in October 2020. BMME’s Odabuchi headquarters (Toyokawa City, Aichi) and the Ueda factory (Toyohashi City, Aichi) will transfer their functions to the new factory. The mission of the new factory is to realize highly efficient manufacturing of assembled equipment in small quantities, while eliminating losses in the production lines, and in-house logistics.

Konica Minolta will also be considering renovation of its OOP’s Fuefuki Factory (Fuefuki City, Yamanashi) for transferring functions of BMME’s Tsuru Facility (Tsuru City, Yamanashi).

Reorganization in Development and Customer Support Functions in Office Business,

As the mainstay of the company’s core businesses, Konica Minolta’s Office business will reorganize its development and customer-support functions, aiming to enhance the customer experience and increase added values with digital technologies

Customer-support function for the Office business that’s currently located in Itami Site (Itami City, Hyogo) will be transferred to Konica Minolta’s Toyokawa Site (Toyokawa City, Aichi).

Konica Minolta has also been considering transferring its controlling technology development function, currently located at its Mikawa Site, to its Mizuho Site (Toyokawa City, Aichi), so that the development functions for the Office business are integrated into the two sites (Toyokawa Site and Mizuho Site), which are located in close proximity.

It says this integration will bring skilled human resources together to further enhance collaboration among organizations.

Optimization of Assets in Japan under Global CRE Strategy

Under its global CRE strategy, Konica Minolta has been working on facility optimization both in Japan and abroad for strengthening its businesses. The initiatives include utilization of corporate real estate, site integration, and optimization of facilities and assets.

While the integration and reorganization of R&D and production functions in Japan will lead to new openings of an R&D building in Takatsuki and a factory in Mikawa, Itami Site, and BMME’s Odabuchi headquarters, the company’s Ueda and Tsuru locations will be closed in 2020, and going forward because they will eventually have less responsibilities.

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