Case Study 21: Car navigation-Tohoku TKR

Implementing Asprova to visualize work in progress from initiation to completion, improve information access and speed up decision-making

-Tohoku TKR Corporation-

The electronics world is all about pushing boundaries: lighter, thinner, smaller.

Tohoku TKR is responding by seeking out high performance and reliable technology. They are working hard to meet the needs of “Variety and Creativity” through efficiency and high quality, not only in their assembling process, but from circuit boards to finished products.

In response to customer needs and to enhance competitiveness, Tohoku TKR are taking a variety of approaches, one of their goals is to realize labor saving , business standardization and provide information required quicker by establishing a standardized system. They decided to implement Asprova supplementary to their production management system.

Mr. Saito Koichi, Systems Management Center manager, and Mr. Oohashi Yoshimi , factory director told us about their implementation of Asprova.

Implementation purpose

  • Uniform management from beginning to completion
  • Optimize management system and speed up decision-making
  • Visualization of information in order to promote consensus view for all employees

Tohoku TKR Corporation produce car navigation, car audios, digital cameras and so on, from parts processing through to product completion.

When implementing Asprova in 2008, they aimed to establish standardized systems and uniform information management, and re-examined their information system significantly.

Meanwhile, they were seeking ways to deal with the common challenge in manufacturing – while coping with uncertainty, such as change orders or equipment failure, worker holidays, how to visualize orders and finish time, how to find out bottleneck equipment, and how to shorten lead time, reduce inventory.

To deal with these problems, they decided to implement Asprova as a tool. The detailed goals of implementing scheduler were automatic scheduling, shortened scheduling time, immediate response to worker and equipment load, control working progress in time, visualization of inventory. Asprova was chosen to meet these needs.

Another reason to choose Asprova was their motto of 2010, “Speedy action for everything!” To response order changing and uncertainty quickly, Asprova’s high speed scheduling convinced them to realize the goals.

From implementation to operation
Internal penetration through Asprova promotion project

Although implemented, it cost much time to persuade the work floor to work in the same order as scheduled. The calculated result from considering lead time and inventory status was not always the easiest ordering for the work floor to operate in. Mr. Sato was responsible for implementing Asprova and launched the Asprova promotion project, taking actions as below:

・Make implementation objectives and measures known internally

・Review the settings of process units, planning period and operation methods

In the seminar, besides explaining the objectives and effect of implementing Asprova, in order to raise awareness of the production planning system, he appealed to the necessity to understand and cooperate among schedule planners, planning managers (manufacturing, materials, product authentication, management, etc.), and workers who work according to the plan.

They were going to use Asprova in whole processes (40 steps) in original plan, but changed direction to a simple 5 steps. Since they made a rough plan by week rather than give detailed instruction daily , this allowed more discretion at the work floor.

Use new features actively
Realize information visualization

Initially TKR were going to use Asprova in car navigation assembling line, but switched to the printed circuit board mounting line, which influences a lot of post-processing steps. There are 7 large displays in the work floor of Tohoku TKR, showing Asprova Gantt charts. They can confirm the pre-processing start time and finish time by the connecting lines shown between each process, and so are able to clearly see the manufacturing flow (image below).

In addition, since over 90% of components are supplied by in Tohoku TKR, components are registered as stock, so the availability of components can be confirmed in advance.

Department head and staff can view work progress by importing production results and rescheduling, adjusting component supply plans of customers and delivery date changes. They are still looking forward to maximizing the effect of Asprova.

Based on a plan according to customer’s delivery date, they are going to ascertain when components will be needed, adjust order priorities and detect whether to request an extend delivery date.

Tohoku TKR Corporation

Founded: April 1972
Capital: 28.8 billion yen
Number of employees: 284 (as of May 1, 2010)
Business description: Various printed circuit boards, digital cameras, car navigation systems, car audio, broadcasting timers, amusement electronics, medical equipment assembling


Tohoku TKR Corporation
Factory director
Mr. Oohashi Yoshimi (left)
System management center
Center manager
Mr. Saito Koichi(right)

■Partner in charge

NEC NEX Solutions Corporation
Manufacturing & Equipment Solution Division
Sales department
Mr. Mae Yasutoshi


Implementing Asprova to visualize work in progress from initiation to completion.

Optimize management system and speed up decision-making; Visualization of information in order to promote consensus view for all employees…

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