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Talking with our New employees

For this session, we have invited some of our new employees who joined in 2017, to discuss their current tasks, the reason why they chose akebono, any differences in their image of the company before and after joining the company, and their new hire training, among other topics, for a new employee’s fresh point of view.

  • Daiki Ishino

    Daiki
    Ishino

    Department of International Business, Faculty of Economics,

    HR Group

  • Naoki Matsukawa

    Naoki
    Matsukawa

    Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering,

    HP Business Unit

  • Misaki Moriya

    Misaki
    Moriya

    Department of Law, Faculty of Law,

    Purchasing Division

  • Dai Kano

    Dai
    Kano

    Department of Marketing and Distribution, Faculty of Business Administration,

    Aftermarket Business Unit

  • Arisa Matsumoto

    Arisa
    Matsumoto

    Department of Chemical Science, Faculty of Engineering,

    Akebono Brake R&D Centre Co., Ltd.

  • Koki Sekine

    Koki
    Sekine

    Department of Precision Mechanics, Faculty of Science and Engineering,

    Akebono Infrastructure & Mobility Systems Business Unit

*Names of departments and contents of interviews on this page are applicable at the time of each interview

Speaker: Daiki Ishino

Thank you all for taking out your time to join our new employees’ talk session. I am Daiki Ishino, and I will be facilitating this session. I look forward to hearing your fresh thoughts on all the topics.

Current work tasks

Speaker: Daiki Ishino

For the first topic, could you tell us a bit about your current work tasks?

Misaki Moriya

I work at the Purchasing Division where we purchase parts and materials not only from Japan but also from suppliers around the world. Currently I’m in the middle of learning new skills necessary to work as a buyer.
Buyers need expertise related to risk management in transactions, suppliers’ manufacturing methods, technology and finance – and these are the skills I am learning within my current tasks. To truly understand our suppliers, I go with my colleagues and supervisors to experience their practices firsthand.
Working in Purchasing requires knowledge from a wide range of sectors – including legislation - which makes it demanding, but it’s a job where you can expect personal growth.

Naoki Matsukawa

Naoki Matsukawa

The department I work at is in charge of developing brake designs for HP (High Performance) vehicles. As I’ve just started as a new hire, I haven’t yet dealt with developing a caliper from the start; however, I’ve been able to participate in making prototypes and partial changes in designs for volume production. Sometimes I also make calculations with CAD and analysis software.

Koki Sekine

I work with designs for high-speed train brakes. Currently I assist my senior colleagues with designing and considerations, and by doing this, I learn about material mechanics, brake composition and creating drawings. I also participate in testing high-speed trains to confirm whether the brake performance is in accordance with the drawings.

Arisa Matsumoto

I carry out research on a new type of resin used as a binding agent in brake pads. My senior colleagues teach me about methods for synthesizing resin and for analyzing material characteristics, so I’m constantly learning new things.

Dai Kano

My department is in charge of akebono’s aftermarket product sales. My tasks include starting up new projects related to brake pads and linings for the aftermarket, as well as arrangements including procuring and exchanging boxes, labels and washers when necessary due to changes with brake shoe kits. Furthermore, to increase our competitive force, I analyze competitor products by using product drawings to find any potential interchangeability with ours.

Why did you choose akebono?

Speaker: Daiki Ishino

Thank you for your detailed explanations. Although some of the tasks were typical for the departments in question, some of them were quite surprising, too. Next, can you tell us why you took interest in akebono, and what was the deciding factor for you in choosing to join the company?

Dai Kano

I first took interest after hearing that akebono provides brakes for the McLaren Formula 1 race team. I made my decision to send an application after being impressed with the hospitality of the recruiting staff at the event I participated in.
The deciding factors for me in choosing akebono were firstly that I was searching for work within the automotive industry, secondly that I felt working at an independent brake maker would allow a certain amount of freedom at work, and lastly, the kindness of all the people who I met during the screening process. I also felt glad to have had the opportunity to see these products even outside of work.

Arisa Matsumoto

Arisa Matsumoto

While searching for work, I wanted to do something where I would be able to leave behind something concrete. This is how I got interested in akebono. During the selection process, I felt that the company had a very relaxed atmosphere and after hearing about the different systems supporting female associates, I decided to join akebono.

Koki Sekine

My interest in akebono arose after learning that its brakes are used in McLaren’s Formula 1 team’s cars.
I participated in one of akebono’s information sessions and learned that akebono has a share in automotive brakes within and outside of Japan, and that the company’s brakes are also used in trains and industrial machinery.
I decided on akebono because I wanted to be involved with Japanese manufacturing, automotive and train industries, as well as with infrastructure. My final decision in joining akebono was based on the thought that I could gain experience in a wide range of areas – and supporting “safety and peace of mind” around the world was something I could stand behind.

Naoki Matsukawa

I have been watching Formula 1 races since entering middle school. Later on, I learned that akebono provides brakes for Formula 1, and that was how I took interest in the company.
However, I didn’t decide on akebono right at that moment. It was only later when I started job hunting that I became interested in the company as a workplace.
In the beginning of job hunting, I needed to define my areas of interest. That’s when I remembered akebono and decided to take the entrance exam.

Misaki Moriya

When searching for jobs, I wanted to work with a manufacturer that has a global presence, and I first came into contact with akebono at one of the information sessions at my university.
I decided to apply because I was impressed by the fact that through automotive brakes – which are essential for safety – I could provide safety and peace of mind around the world, and contribute to different communities regardless of the region.
A deciding factor for choosing the company was that during my interview, I felt that akebono has an equal and fair working environment. Another company I applied for required applicants to choose from general office work and regular positions (with a chance of promotion), and every time a female applicant had chosen the position that might include promotions in the future, the interviewers would ask why they had chosen this position. However, I heard that akebono expects the same things from all associates regardless of gender and background, so I felt I could expect a fair working environment.

Your Image of the Company; Then and Now

Speaker: Daiki Ishino

I see most of you have an interest in Formula 1 racing.
I’d like to hear about if and how your thoughts about the company have changed since you joined akebono as an employee.

Koki Sekine

I thought the company atmosphere would be tight, that there wouldn’t be so much communication with other employees.
After entering the company, I was blown away. My colleagues are all friendly, and my department is a fun environment to work in.
There are many things to learn, but the people around are eager to help when I need some instruction. After interacting with many departments, I believe this feeling is the same no matter where you go in akebono.

Naoki Matsukawa

Before, I thought that friction material was the most important part of a brake. I didn’t understand how much all the other parts affected performance. I studied mechanical engineering, but I thought it would be important to learn more about friction materials.
However, in my department, I was able to understand just how indispensable each part and every mechanism truly is for brake performance. Every part has a function in the brake system. I have plenty of new things to learn every day.

Misaki Moriya

My image of akebono as a global corporation was very strong, so as someone with little global experience, I felt a bit uneasy. Even the interview included some English questions!
Recently, I have been interacting more and more with our overseas facilities, and I am using English every day. I often get unexpected phone calls and communicating in English on the phone is still a challenge.
However, being able to utilize and practice my English skills with my colleagues at work is great, although I feel that whether or not you need English skills will depend on your area of responsibility.

Dai Kano

Dai Kano

I also felt that akebono was a very global company. Many members of my team can speak English, but actually we don’t have too many chances to use the language at work.
I am still new, so I feel that it is important to learn as much as I can about my workplace.
I want to have chances to go overseas, so I am working my hardest to be the best man for the job.
Also, I thought that we would be stuck in an office all day, but actually, we often have chances to work outside the office, too.
As someone with a background in humanities, I thought I’d have nothing to do with graphs and charts, but it turned out that my tasks include a lot of data analysis.
My last point is about people. I believed that most work could be done without much interaction between departments. As it turns out, we all work together to achieve our goals, so interaction with people is crucial.

Arisa Matsumoto

I was very surprised to find myself researching resins at a brake manufacturer, as I was not expecting this. Also, being assigned to the Akebono Research and Development Centre, I was a little worried that my work surrounding would be quite strict with a serious atmosphere, but actually it is a very friendly and cheerful environment that makes me feel at home.

New Hire Training

Speaker: Daiki Ishino

Can you tell us about the 3-month training period after entering the company?
What were the best parts? What were the most challenging moments? What parts of the training will be most useful to you in your job?

Naoki Matsukawa

A major part of the training period was spent in production line positions at our manufacturing plants. This included early shifts and late shifts that rotate every week, making it difficult both physically and in terms of your daily rhythm.
Looking back though, we learned many things that can only be learned through such hands-on experiences, and I feel that these experiences will help in my future tasks as well.
Since the on-site training took place in different areas of Japan, we were able to go sightseeing and relax between work shifts. It was an excellent experience that helped our training group gets closer to one another.

Misaki Moriya

Misaki Moriya

During the new hire training, we learned about akebono as a company, about our products and corporate goals, and many other topics to help us during our work. The part that left the biggest impression was the training at our manufacturing facilities. We were able to make actual products alongside the many operators in our production lines. We spent three weeks at each of two different facilities. Although it was a very short period of time, not only did we learn about the products, we could also feel the importance of our role in making the brakes that protect people’s lives. We walked in the shoes of the manufacturing employees and learned a passion for monozukuri (value-added manufacturing). It is a rewarding feeling when you see the product you worked on being packed up for shipment to a customer, and at that moment I felt proud working for akebono.

Arisa Matsumoto

At our test course, Ai-Ring, we had the opportunity to ride in a vehicle at speeds exceeding 200kmph. That was an exciting first experience for me.
Going out with the other trainees on the weekends and joining other operators for dinner some nights are all dear memories for me. Night shifts during the on-site training at the plants were physically hard. However, the experience and training during these first three months as well as within R&D after being assigned to my department have helped me deepen my understanding of our products.

Dai Kano

Having dinner and drinking with the other trainees every evening after training and learning new things about the production of brakes was great.
Some of my best memories during the training are going to the Ai-Ring Test Course, and the BBQ we had at the Ai-Village training center. Working in the manufacturing facilities was both the hardest part as well as the part where we could learn the most.
I still make phone calls to the facilities on a daily basis, so I feel that it was a very worthwhile experience, and I’m glad to have made so many connections. Furthermore, business manners, brake system production, and benchmarking were some training topics come in handy now during my work tasks.

Koki Sekine

Koki Sekine

“For the people, safety; For the product, quality.” This was an important lesson I learned during the on-site training. First, ensure your own safety; next assure the quality of the product. This is a crucial point of our method of production at akebono. We are taught to think of the people using our products while producing them, and I follow that approach even in my current tasks.
When I see a vehicle equipped with the products I made in the manufacturing plants, I feel joy. Aside from the training, I enjoyed spending time with the other trainees having dinner or going on trips.
Lastly, I am so thankful for the HR representative in charge of the training. At the end of the training, we were worried about our new departments and future tasks, but I still remember how he was always there to encourage us.

Our Message for Those Still Job-hunting

  • Naoki Matsukawa
  • Naoki MatsukawaHP Business Unit
  • There are many different approaches to job hunting, but I think the most crucial part is knowing what the most important factors for you are.
    I started with the question, “What am I interested in?” Of course, everybody has different methods and reasons when choosing a potential company, but when I look at my experience, my own interests and expectations were most important to me.
    It is a challenge to look for a job when you are worried about your future, but if you can keep your cool, you can definitely find the job you are looking for.

  • Koki Sekine
  • Koki SekineAkebono Infra-Mobility Business Unit
  • There are some things that you won’t know about a company before you ask an employee about their experiences, such as “What was it like when you were job hunting?” “What is the work like?” “What are your dreams for the future?” These questions can help you find out if it is the right company for you, and if you will be able to do what you want to do.
    When I was job hunting, interviews were the most difficult part for me, so I understand the feeling of anxiety that comes before an interview. However, if you take it at your own pace and speak with confidence, the interviewer will certainly lend you an ear.

  • Arisa Matsumoto
  • Arisa MatsumotoAkebono Research and Development Centre
  • Don’t follow the crowd – consider what the best career is for you.
    It is a challenging stage of life, but you have your family and friends to support you, so keep fighting until you reach the finish line. And as the hurdles are so high, it is especially important to take a breather and relax sometimes.

  • Dai Kano
  • Dai KanoAftermarket Sales Business Unit
  • The most important part of job hunting is to enjoy it. Of course there are tough times, but if you can enjoy the experience until the end, the results will fall in the same line. Make connections with the organizations and people you meet, and take those connections seriously. Finally, once you have secured your position at a new company, make the most of the time you have before starting work.

  • Misaki Moriya
  • Misaki MoriyaPurchasing Department
  • In my case, I didn’t have a vision for my future when I began looking for a job. However, if you are willing to look at many different companies with a broad perspective and without prejudice, then it can really help you clarify what you want for your future.
    Being able to hear the stories of many different people from many different companies is the privelege of those looking for a job. As a member of akebono now, I feel that having had the opportunity to speak with representatives from many companies was an invaluable experience. Compared to your life as a student, you are now introduced to a world where you can learn about society through your visits to several organizations and obtain new information. Please enjoy this opportunity and make many new connections.

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