Manufacturer of starters, alternators, instrument clusters, safety components, and various automotive electronic products and inverters for hybrid vehicles
Connecting Virtually to Advance Engineering
Some would agree there have not been many benefits to come out of the COVID pandemic. If there is a shining star, the crisis has increased our speed and ability to communicate across campus, the nation and even the world. DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee (DMTN) demonstrated that overwhelmingly last week.
On Wednesday, August 19 (Thursday, August 20 in Japan), DMTN became the first DENSO company location to “virtually” host Global President and CEO Koji “Jack” Arima. And it couldn’t have gone better.
“It was very exciting to see our CEO and his reaction to all the hard work our associates have accomplished in preparation for his visit,” said DMTN President Sean Nakamizo. “Our location is poised for tremendous growth over the next several years and President Arima was excited to see the passion and confidence of our associates.”
Twelve specific GENBA stops across campus joined the tour via Zoom and shared challenge improvements, action plans and associate voices, all structured around five core pillars: Safety, Quality, Fixed Cost Reduction, Plant Reform and our actions to prevent COVID.
“This tour demonstrated our commitment to a ONE DMTN mindset,” said Senior Vice President Chuntao Ye. “We cannot survive working as individual units. We have to work more closely together to remove obstacles and borders that can hinder our growth.”
During the first pillar, Arima saw how technology is helping create a safer work environment for associates in CWH and 102. The second pillar highlighted how DMTN is breaking down barriers to reach ZERO customer returns and A-rank defects. President Arima learned how Digital Asaichi has strengthened collaboration during the third pillar GENBA and at the fourth pillar, four key business that are transforming our future were showcased: Global B, EHV, SMD and GSP2. Finally, Arima saw how associates are utilizing the five CORE safety actions to reduce COVID risk.
“Thank you for your videos and plant tours today,” said President Arima during his wrap up comments. “It has been two years since my last visit and was very nice to see a lot of passion and confidence.”
Arima emphasized the importance of continued improvements. “Today’s activity was good, but it is now essential to stop, think, review and act through Reborn-21 to make significant changes to survive and grow for the future.”
During a special moment at the closing, President Arima officially presented DMTN with the DENSO President’s Award for CARE – the first for our location. Bob Booker, Corporate Functions, Patrice Brooks, Electrification Systems, and Taylor Ellison, Information Safety, were on-hand to accept the award. DMTN was recognized for maximizing its national and state voice thru strong government relationships and developing a future workforce through training, school and work based programs. The DENSO Face Shield project was also part of the application.
“We applaud the efforts of every associate in DMTN,” said NA President and CEO Kenichiro Ito during the ceremony. “DMTN has a strong commitment to government and society and continues to be a strong ambassador for DENSO.”
“I cannot thank our associates enough,” continued Nakamizo. “This was a great opportunity to showcase DMTN to our global president and prove how COVID has not hindered the DENSO spirit. Congratulations to everyone!”
A complete photo gallery of the visit can be found on the DMTN Connection (accessible on DMTN campus).
DENSO Maryville Families – do you have a high school grad in your immediate family? Let’s recognize them!
Last week, DMTN hosted our largest tour group to date – 168 students from Hardin Valley Academy. The students visited the Information Safety Division where they enjoyed some friendly competition with DENSO trivia, a question and answer session on career opportunities and a brief tour.
Thank you to all of our associates who helped us host such a large group!
Last Friday, DMTN hosted the grand opening of the Central Technical Training Center located at Building 105. As snow fell across campus, community members and DENSO executives arrived to dedicate the new facility and demonstrate what it means for DENSO’s future.
DENSO North America CEO Kenichiro Ito was the first to speak at the podium, sharing his vision for the training center. “We believe human cultivation is key…collaboration between craftsmen and engineers is extremely important for success.”
Other speakers included TN Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell. Although the weather prevented former United States Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty from attending, he delivered a speech to the audience via live phone message.
“DENSO is a flagship corporate citizen here in Tennessee, critical to the fabric of our state economy and our culture,” said Hagerty. Consul-General of Japan Kayako Fukushima was also in attendance.
After Hagerty’s message, United Way of Blount County CEO Jennifer Wackerhagen presented DENSO with the Community Impact Award as a result of DENSO’s philanthropic contributions to the community.
The ceremony ended with an official ribbon cutting led by Mr. Ito. Both community members and DENSO associates then toured the training center for an up close look at opportunities the facility provides.
Check out the video recap:
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but the second shift Airbag 5 line has been wearing pink since September in honor of loved ones who have been affected by the disease.
Gabriel Wakefield said when he came across the pink shirt in the Company Store one day, he immediately thought of his grandmother, who is a breast cancer survivor. “I bought the pink shirt and it got me thinking – we could use this to promote awareness and encourage others to take precautions, like doing monthly self exams.” Team member Shaun Hurst was immediately a fan of the idea. “My mother had breast cancer, so I think it’s important to do anything we can to raise awareness.”
The team has been wearing pink every Thursday and is now challenging all associates to join them in wearing pink on Thursdays for the rest of October. If your team is wearing pink, send us a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DENSO associates were out volunteering in full force this past Saturday.
Associates worked with Habitat for Humanity, completing the soffit frame, preparing the house for siding and building internal walls. The home is part of the 2019 Women’s Build and will be dedicated to the Lollis family when complete. Volunteers are needed to continue construction August 17. If you’d like to help, contact Jessica Storey at Jessica_Storey@denso-diam.com or call ext. 2219.
Associates also participated in a community clean up at Sandy Springs Park on Saturday. The group picked up trash and cleared debris from the creek.
Thanks for helping make a difference in our community!
DMTN hosted more than 20 tnAchieves students at Electronic Products 202 last week. The group learned about DENSO, toured our facility and met representatives from engineering, maintenance, production and logistics. Here’s hoping they come back to DENSO when they enter the workforce!
tnAchieves is a partner organization to the Tennessee Promise Scholarship and aims to increase higher education opportunities for Tennessee high school students with mentor guidance. To learn more about becoming a mentor, visit tnachieves.org.
It’s always great to see associates taking advantage of DMTN’s tuition reimbursement program to further their education and grow within DENSO. Last week, a celebration was held to recognize four associates who are graduating with new degrees, as well as five associates who have completed the Tool & Die Apprenticeship program.
Tuition Reimbursement Grads:
Tool & Die Apprenticeship Grads:
Apprentice Team Competition
Recently, three apprenticeship teams completed their STS projects before going out on the floor for their final year in the program. They brought all three baseball pinball machines together for a contest, where the March presentation team took first place.
101 associates know all too well the effects of temperature shifts, especially during the summer. This past year that changed, as Facilities Engineering installed a global DENSO first, a Chiller Plant with Ice Supplement (Ice Plant).
Since 25-year old air handling equipment was in need of replacement, an opportunity to lower energy costs and reduce carbon dioxide emissions presented itself. An Ice Plant does just that by taking advantage of peak demand times. The plant utilizes 17 ice tanks that fill at night when the chillers lower their set point to make ice in the tanks, occurring at night when it is cooler. Then, during high temperature times of the day, the chilled water is circulated into the ice tanks cooling it instead of using a chiller. The chilled water is then circulated into Building 101 to the air handlers delivering cool air and keeping a consistent temperature of 78 degrees.
“This is a win-win for DMTN, associates and the environment,” said Ryan Miles, Facilities Engineering . “The work environment is safer and more comfortable for associates.”
The new Ice Plant has been benchmarked across DENSO North America, from other companies, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. It saves $500,000 annually in energy costs and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 18,000 tons a year. Additionally, it eliminated ozone depleting cooling chemicals used in traditional systems and 66 percent of the fans on the production floor have been removed.
With the heat going up, a unique approach to chilling the air has provided a better work climate for associates and the environment.
The Smoky Mountain Regional FIRST Robotics competition is developing the next generation of manufacturers – right here in our own backyard. The competition encourages teamwork, problem solving, design and more to prepare the future workforce.
Last week the 2019 Smoky Mountain Regional FIRST Robotics competition hosted more than 50 teams from around the world. The competition pits future engineers, manufacturers, programmers and others against each other to develop a winning robot.
But it’s not just about building robots, explains Body Electronic’s Jim McDaniel, mentor for the South Doyle High School SoKno Robo team. “We are teaching these students project management, engineering, design and more. This will be our future workforce and as part of DENSO I can help make a difference and mentor these young manufacturers.”
DENSO is a large sponsor of FIRST Robotics, helping provide funds and mentors for seven teams at this year’s competition. Volunteers and mentors are needed throughout the year.
“This country has given me the opportunity to work here and I want to give back and help as many future engineers as I can,” said Electrification System’s Hiroaki Masuo, mentor for the Pioneers2 team from Republic High School in Nashville. If you are interested mentoring a FIRST Robotics team, Masuo can help. Call 2924 to get involved.
When taking a vacation flight out of Knoxville, you most likely connect to a hub – such as Atlanta or Detroit. In the shipping industry, especially at DENSO, those hubs are known as cross docks.
The DENSO North America Integrated Logistics (NAIL) team has been working diligently to develop a streamlined approach for shipping parts to and from DENSO locations.
“NAIL ships more than 30,000 pallets per week to 30 DENSO locations across the continent,” said Joe Morgan, NAIL Section Leader. “When you consider the number of trucks, the miles they drive and quick turnaround our company requires, we need to continually improve the process.”
One solution has been to add cross docks to five locations in the United States and one in Mexico (soon to be two). One of the cross docks is right here in Maryville, Tennessee.
From suppliers, parts are shipped to a cross dock near their final destination. From there, parts are grouped by final destination and consolidated onto truck(s) for delivery. The Maryville cross dock delivers nearly 2,000 pallets to DMTN each week, all consolidated and on time.
By implementing cross docks, parts and products flow efficiently in and out to their final destinations. With more than 600 shipping suppliers utilizing the network, without cross docks, costs would be off the map and logistics would be unmanageable.
“We’re seeing a costs savings to DENSO of more than $5 million annually with the cross dock formula,” said Morgan. “And plans are in place for technology upgrades to increase the savings even more”.
NAIL CROSS DOCK LOCATIONS: