Author: NGUYEN THANH TUNG – VJU-MBA INTAKE 05TH
As one of the leading companies in the manufacturing of components, semiconductors, and machining mechanical parts, Fujikin – a Japanese company specializing in manufacturing, is an extremely favorable environment to study Operation management in the Japanese company system. From 13/12/2021 to 10/01/2022, I am Nguyen Thanh Tung, a master’s student at Vietnam Japan University, majoring in Master Business Administration (MBA) intake 05th. I had a valuable opportunity to test my knowledge and theories in Operation management, Lean management, Kaizen from Vietnam-Japan University in the actual business environment.
THE FIRST IMPRESSION
In the first interaction, one of the things that makes me feel the HR activities of Fujikin are very professional is the interview setting up in order to help the intern understand better the company overview and giving clear instructions, answering details about questions of the candidate’s internship. Although it was a difficult time because of the COVID-19 outbreak, I was very grateful that the company made it possible for me to participate in this internship. The organizational work to prevent COVID-19 is also very methodical and thorough. I was informed that I needed to do a quick test for COVID-19 before coming to the factory for the first time, and in the following days, I was tested every three days together with all staff of the factory. It can be said that this is a very elaborate and costly epidemic prevention work of the factory. This activity also helped the factory to always maintain normal operating capacity despite the very complicated epidemic situation at that time.
Regarding the first impression, it must be said that I was impressed when waiting for the shuttle bus from Hanoi to the factory with Mr. Hiroki Karube – the Director of Fujikin Bac Ninh Factory, and Mr. Kazuki Takahashi – The Manager of the Purchasing Department. The special thing was they wore the factory uniform – navy blue – regularly when waiting for the bus to come to pick them up. This point helped me to find the Fujikin staff easily even though I didn’t know them the first time. During the whole internship period, according to my observations, all of them were waiting for the bus on time, and the pick-up time was very accurate. According to the bus timeline of the Administration Department, I have never seen the bus be late for pick up, even one minute. The time of shuttle bus moving is about 40 – 45 minutes daily, although there are occasional small traffic jams. This exalts the Japanese spirit of punctuality that I need to learn a lot from.
On the first day of my internship, when arriving in the lobby of the factory, a very large red Daruma (達磨) doll attracted me. This is also the highlight that every morning when I come, I always observe it. It seems that Fujikin Vietnam has achieved a lot of success because the Daruma (達磨) statue looks very lively. Not only impressed by the square terraced architecture leading up to the office area from the foyer through interesting metal models and various photos of factory activities, but when sitting in the waiting room, I also listened to the exercise Taiso (体操) over the loudspeaker, the sound of the Japanese exercise reverberating throughout the factory signaled that a productive working day was about to begin.
Until Mrs. Thanh – the Administration staff led the way to the briefing room. This is the activity that impressed me the most on the first day. As I know, every morning, the factory leadership gathered in a large meeting room, where they only stood and spoke briefly about the plan of the day. On the first day when I came to Fujikin to intern, I had the opportunity to stand in front of the entire factory leadership to briefly introduce myself in Japanese. It can be said that this reporting activity left a huge impression on me.
In many other companies, this action takes at least 40 – 45 minutes, and people often sit in a chair and have a table. Sometimes this does not often work because the Administration Department has to arrange and set up tables and chairs, prepare water, and maybe the content is stretched unnecessarily. However, with just standing and short reporting at Fujikin, this activity is simplified because it happens every day but still remains effective because it is very simple in preparation. Personally, I think this is a very important step in the factory’s Kaizen activities.
THE FUJIKIN ATMOSPHERE
During the internship at the factory, although I did not interact much and did not have the opportunity to talk deeply with some people. This is partly because I sometimes had online lessons and partly because I could see their concentration when all employees were working in the office area. However, the atmosphere is not too stressful like in some other Japanese companies.
There is research about productivity in Kaizen. When leaders need to grasp how employees psychologically encourage them to improve their productivity and self-improvement, according to the research, we should not put too much pressure. It can sometimes backfire. Moreover, the application of the Japanese management model in Vietnam also requires flexibility. Obviously, at Fujikin, I feel that the working atmosphere has a harmony between the Japanese management style and Vietnamese culture.
This great and productive atmosphere may make staff want to continue working for Fujikin and is likely the reason why even staff who once quit Fujikin come back. Perhaps in the future, the way to maintain this working atmosphere will change to suit each stage of development, but it is something that Japanese leaders have cultural harmony with Vietnamese people. It’s very precious.
This harmonious atmosphere at Fujikin was further confirmed in my observations when I saw Mr. Tsuneo Yoshida – Director of Fujikin Vietnam, always wearing the same uniform as all other workers and staff. Every lunchtime, he sits down to have lunch with workers in the cafeteria and always has a very close attitude to all employees, especially workers under the sub-factory.
The fact that factory leaders such as Mr. Yoshida and Mr. Karube to Mr. Takahashi, who always wear the same uniform, have a friendly attitude towards the Vietnamese staff is the reason for this result. In the conversation with some staff of the Purchasing Department, everyone has a very good impression and appreciates the managers very much. Obviously, this is a significant premise that determines the long-term commitment of employees and their productivity.
THE VALUABLE EXPERIENCE
My most valuable experience is still observing Lean Management and Kaizen activities at the factory. Although the time was short, the brief observation also helped me shape more about the theories I had learned. Regarding the company’s operations: I am impressed with the Lean Management activities of the factory. Every day, the departments have mid-hour meetings to solve problems or incidents in order to agree on the handling point of view as well as the way to look at the cause. Every month and every quarter, the company’s information board has an assessment of Kaizen activities, 6S activities, and 6-sigma. In which the errors of each department have a review board to announce and then present the results, how have they been overcome?
A point where 6S activities can be observed, namely Seiri (整理 Sort), Seiton (整頓 Arrange), Seiso (清掃 Clean up), Seiketsu (清潔 Care), and Shitsuke (躾 Ready), Safety very vivid and detailed. For example, a CNC machine shops, machining and polishing workshops, especially warehouses, tools, and machines, are arranged in a very specific and orderly manner. Workshop floors and office corridors are always clean and tidy. Machines are always regularly maintained and stimulated for improvement. Moreover, on every table in the canteen, the notices of cleaning and throwing the trash where regulated are stuck in order to remind all employees.
Especially, I read an improvement proposal by a Vietnamese worker to change 01 transistors to save a large amount of money for the company from the Kaizen board in the lobby. This is a practical case of Kaizen activities that need to be encouraged regularly. Notably, this information is publicly displayed in the lobby near the company’s cafeteria so that all employees, including workers, can access it during eating time. From my point of view, this arrangement has a very subtle meaning because Kaizen and 6S activities need to be popularized and encouraged by the entire workforce, not just the department heads but also the workers.
THE SENSE OF RESPECT
Honestly, I was supported a lot, and that’s what I am extremely grateful to Fujikin for giving me and Vietnam Japan University. During this time, although there were many difficulties in epidemic prevention, the factory leadership still did their best to help me and create conditions for me to study and practice. Talking about the difficulties facing, I should replace it with the word “Regret” because I didn’t have more time to experience at the factory to learn and observe more.
On behalf of the Vietnam-Japan University and also personally, I would like to thank the factory leadership; Mr. Tsuneo Yoshida – Director of Fujikin Vietnam, Mr. Hiroki Karube – Director of Fujikin Bac Ninh Factory, Mr. Kazuki Takahashi – The manager of Purchasing Department; Mrs. Bui Thi Mai Trang – The manager of HR. Department, and other staff such as Mrs. Thanh, Mrs. Linh, Ms. Toan, and so on.
Especially in the Purchasing Department where I made my internship, I would like to thank Mrs. Huong – The manager of the Purchasing Department – who arranged the main work and helped me a lot during the internship; Mrs. Thu – who introduced me to the specific operation of the factory and guided me enthusiastically; Mrs. Bich – who helped me complete the survey, research activities and help me understand more about the work of the department; Ms. Phuong and Ms. Diep – who has helped me a lot in researching and understanding the company’s Logistics activities, although she is a new employee, it can be seen that her work ethic and eagerness to learn are very worthwhile.
I hope that during my internship, I can become a bridge between Fujikin and Vietnam Japan University in the future, continuing to strengthen the relationship so that the two sides can move forward and develop together.
Once again, I would like to express my sincere thanks to everyone. I hope Fujikin develops significantly and will have more and more collaboration opportunities with Vietnam-Japan University.
Fujikin Bac Ninh internship
Nguyen Thanh Tung