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Talking with our New Recruits

Akebono’s 2018 new recruits gathered to discuss their current jobs, why they chose Akebono, the differences they felt prior to and after entering the company, and their memories of the new recruit training.

  • Yoshimi Sakaba

    Yoshimi
    Sakaba

    Faculty of Engineering
    Graduate School of Organic Materials Science

  • Fukunobu Iijima

    Fukunobu
    Iijima

    Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
    Graduate School of Design

  • Yona Raj Martin Crove

    Yona Raj
    Martin Crove

    Faculty of Engineering
    Graduate School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering

  • Haruka Oishi

    Haruka
    Oishi

    Faculty of Arts
    Media Studies

  • Yuki Morita

    Yuki
    Morita

    Faculty of Engineering
    Graduate School of Electronics, Information and Media Engineering

※ Information on this page was accurate at the time of publishing

Host

Hello everyone. Thank you all for participating in today’s round-table discussion for new recruits. My name is Rikuto Asami and I will be your host.

Current Work

Host

Let’s get started by jumping right into our first topic for today. As new employees, I think you can all bring a fresh perspective to the conversation. To begin our discussion, could you please introduce your current positions?

Sakaba

I am currently working in the Advanced Development Division. My work involves developing new technology for the future of Akebono. I have to use a lot of equipment and machines I am not familiar with, and face various issues and challenges every day. I feel that there are still a lot of tasks which I cannot complete by myself. However, with the guidance and support of my colleagues I am able to take on these challenges and improve myself day by day.

Yona

I am developing systems for EPBs (Electric Parking Brakes). More specifically, I am involved in the development of control systems for the motors inside EPBs. It is important to create systems that operate effectively as well as meet the requirements of our customers. I feel that expertise and knowledge relating to electronic automotive systems is incredibly important in my role. I am doing my best to ensure our products provide the upmost safety for our customers.

Iijima

Fukunobu Iijima

In our department (Akebono Research & Development Center), we are in charge of developing MR (Magneto Rheological) Fluid Brakes, an innovative electric brake technology which does not produce sound or vibration. I am involved in mechanical design, endurance testing and data analytics – work that requires a wide range of knowledge relating to various fields.

In addition to my daily tasks, I also have the opportunity to participate in various conferences and seminars to acquire new knowledge and consider how new research developments can be applied in my work. The best part of my job is the fact I am able to be involved in developing new technology that doesn’t exist anywhere in the world.

Oishi

Currently, my role involves supporting Akebono’s international shipping and trade. I am mainly responsible for our product exports from Japan to Shanghai which includes the planning of shipping container loads and the completion of documentation for customs regulations. I am learning how international trade operates from the very basics. In addition to this, I am also studying simulations of potential shipping costs for new businesses, customs, and taxes related to certifying the product origin and materials.

Although it has only been five months since joining the department, there are a many things I need to remember and it can be challenging contacting a large number of people from other departments. However, with the support of my managers and colleagues, I am becoming more confident every day. These challenges fuel my motivation to continue to improve myself.

Morita

I am currently in charge of developing traceability systems required for IoT (Internet of Things) applications in the Machine Control Section, Advanced Production Engineering Division. The traceability system is a system that can identify the source of an issue when a defect is found at the individual unit level, rather than at the batch level during the manufacturing process. I am currently learning about programming as well as the manufacturing processes at different facilities necessary for system development while also assisting my managers and colleagues in their responsibilities. I also have the opportunity to visit various automotive manufacturers and railway companies as part of our maintenance duties. This all requires a vast array of knowledge relating to areas such as electricity and control and is therefore a great opportunity to develop myself and acquire new skills.

Why did you choose Akebono?

Host

Thank you for your detailed explanations. It was interesting to hear about the various experiences and challenges you have in your current roles. Next, can you tell us why you took interest in akebono, and what was the deciding factor that convinced you to choose to join the company?

Oishi

While studying abroad, I realized how well-known Japanese products are overseas, and for that reason started thinking about a career in the manufacturing industry. While looking for potential companies to work at, I first came across Akebono. I was particularly attracted to the company due the fact it produced brakes, a vital component of vehicles. Akebono also gave me a strong sense of being a global organization; somewhere I could utilize the experience I gained while living abroad. After hearing about Akebono’s welfare support and having the opportunity to meet some of Akebono’s female managers, I felt that Akebono is a company where men and women are treated equally. For these reasons, I decided to join the company.

Morita

Yuki Morita

As someone who likes cars, I focused on job hunting within the automotive industry.

Previously I had a strong image of the brake industry largely consisting of just mechanical engineers and assumed my studies in electrical and information engineering would be irrelevant. However, after participating in Akebono’s information sessions I realized Akebono is also pursuing development of AI and IoT technologies, an area in which I can utilize and develop my knowledge. For this reason, I decided to join Akebono.

Some other factors that also influenced my decision include the global working environment at Akebono, the company benefits, and the welfare support system.

Yona

I learned about the high reputation that Akebono’s products have and how the company has always taken an original approach to overcome difficult challenges within the automotive industry. This includes unique technologies Akebono has been developing such as MR (Magneto Rheological) Fluid Brake technology and Electric-Mechanical Brakes. Although there are many other technologies, I decided to join this company because I wanted to contribute to the advancement of future of brakes and saw great potential for the future of Akebono.

Iijima

I have a dream to have “people from around the world use products which I have helped create”. And in order to produce products which are recognized by people around the world, it is important to first develop myself as an engineer.

From the friendly support from associates in Human Resources, to the flat nature of the company creating an ideal workplace for all associates, I became highly interested in the working environment at Akebono. Another contributing factor to my decision included having the opportunity to meet an Akebono associate who I admired during the company seminars. The associate was not only a highly intelligent individual, but also someone who also truly cared about the people around them and the growth of their subordinates. I felt that these are the kind of people I want to work around, and a place where I can develop myself to achieve my dreams. For these reasons, I decided to join the company.

Sakaba

Not restricted to just the benefits of being an independent manufacturer operating in the automotive industry, the idea of instilling safety and security around the world through a wide variety of brake technologies was something I found attractive. Several of Akebono’s associates were also previous graduates from my university which initially sparked my interest in the company.

Amongst these associates, there was a person who had also graduated from the same course as me and therefore, I knew I could use my similar knowledge and experience within the company, too. As I progressed through the interview process, I also had the opportunity to directly talk with other female engineers, which led to my decision to join the company.

Expectations and differences before and after entering Akebono

Host

I understand each of you had a lot of considerations before you decided to enter the company. Would you tell me about the differences you felt before and after you entered the company?

Yona

Before I joined the company, I had an image that Akebono was a company only producing highly reputable brakes. However, after entering the company I understood that Akebono is not just a brake manufacturer, but also through developing, manufacturing, and selling high quality brake systems is delivering safety and peace of mind to people all over the world.

Iijima

The degree of freedom associates have in my department is much higher than I had imagined, which surprised me. When developing technology that doesn’t currently exist, we don’t have any experience or precedent to reflect on in order to understand and resolve issues that occur. For this reason, associates in my department have to be creative and innovative to find solutions and make progress.

Around the time I joined the department I was given a lot of freedom in my tasks; there were times I wasn’t sure what I should do. However, whenever I felt lost I knew I could always approach my seniors or manager and ask them for guidance. They would always give me great advice. Due to this, I feel that I can develop myself more and more every day.

Sakaba

Even after hearing of Advanced Engineering, I wasn’t really sure what exactly my work would consist of. However, after entering the department I was given a clear area of research and tasks which gave me real direction and purpose. Each associate is also asked to set mid-term goals every year which makes it clear to see in which areas you need to improve and advance your work.

Outside of my work duties, I feel that time management systems implemented at Akebono contribute to a positive working environment. This includes the ease of taking paid vacation days, as well as being able to properly record any overtime work.

Oishi

Haruka Oishi

There wasn’t really a large gap between my expectations before and after I entered the company. I didn’t have a set image of what my work would entail. Everything was fresh and I have always enjoyed facing new challenges every day.

I have the impression that there are many foreign associates due to the fact we are a global company. As my department is also involved with contacting overseas facilities, there are a lot of opportunities to use English within the company. I feel that each associate’s performance and efforts are clearly recognized, and that this is an organization in which women can work comfortably.

Morita

Prior to entering the company, I had a strong image of Akebono as a global organization and thought that everything from facilities and machines to data management were all automated. However, I feel that in reality people are still needed for difficult, detailed work, and there is a still a gap between completely automating jobs and the requirement for human experience and knowhow. Considering the difficulty training robots to do these tasks based on quantitative inputs and analyzing data based on clear goals, I learned that factory automation is a lot more complicated that I initially assumed. To fulfil my role as an engineer at Akebono, I’m putting my energy into learning new skills one by one.

Before joining Akebono I also thought, “If we just produced more products, shouldn’t we be able to sell more?” However, I now understand that there are a lot of other factors engineers should learn through Akebono’s production philosophy such as reducing waste and improving quality through principles such as Just In Time, Jidouka, standard operations and small lot production. Through my job I am studying new things every day to improve my knowledge and expertise.

New Recruit Training

Host

After entering the company, everyone participated in the new recruit training for three months. I would like to hear about the aspects you found enjoyable, difficult, useful, or any other opinions relating to your experiences.

Iijima

One of the most memorable things for me during the training was participating in improvement activities within the constraints of limited time and resources in order to provide a safer, more comfortable workplace for associates in the plants.

I noticed there was an issue in the plant where connecting parts of the Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), used for moving stock, was too low, requiring workers to crouch down to make adjustments and complete their work. Following the whole Monozukuri (manufacturing) process from the concept design, material procurement, transport, processing and assembly, we implemented improvements to create a better workplace for employees.

After many conversations with plant operators, and repeating the process of solving issues and seeing new issues arise, I will never forget how I felt after being thanked for helping reach a final solution. I truly understood how it feels to produce products that will bring happiness to others. I want to continue spreading that happiness to people through my work as an engineer.

Sakaba

Yoshimi Sakaba

I still have strong memories from my time training in the plants. Even though we only had a short time, there were a lot of unique things that we could experience and opinions we could only hear whilst training in this environment. Seeing how products and value is created within the plants was an extremely memorable experience.

I also became a lot closer to the other new recruits through the training. We would go out on days off together, and overcome challenges during our training together. Whenever I needed help, I knew other recruits were always there to support me.

Morita

During our three month training for new recruits, we learned about the fundamental concepts of ‘safety’ and ‘quality’. Through the practical training in the plant, we understood the importance of the principles Genchi Genbutsu Gennin to identify issues such as difficulty using equipment or ways to improve working conditions. If you don’t already have an inquisitive nature and ask for the reason behind things, there are often a lot of things that often go unnoticed in the workplace. The new recruit training allowed me to gain this new perspective and apply it in my work. It also provided an opportunity to strengthen connections with other new recruits, which made it easier to build networks even after entering our respective departments.

After being placed in my department, I participated in a further two months of training in production engineering. During this training, I not only participated in seminars related to production engineering and braking mechanisms, but I was also exposed to wide areas of knowledge through seminars on themes outside of production engineering such as hydraulics, pneumatics, sensors, robotics and PLCs (portable logic controllers).

Oishi

During the training, I deepened my understanding of Akebono through learning about our history and development based on our corporate mission and the goals. As a member of Akebono, I have developed an understanding that we can all contribute to creating a safer society. In particular, we were able to learn a lot of things that I believe you cannot learn in a classroom environment.

On top of the physical challenges of working in a manufacturing facility, we were also asked to think about the roles of departments who indirectly support manufacturing. I feel that I can utilize these experiences and skills I gained during the training at the manufacturing plants even in my current role. Also, I think the three month training is the reason why our all of the new recruits became so close.

Yona

Yona Raj Martin Crove

The opportunity to speak with executive officers and management and learn about their experiences and backgrounds really fueled my motivation. I was also extremely impressed after having the opportunity to experience how an ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) functions for the first time at Ai-Ring, Akebono’s test course.

Message to Students

  • Yoshimi Sakaba
  • Yoshimi SakabaAdvanced Development Divison
  • Without restricting yourself to a certain industry or position, take a broader view and look for a company that really suits you.

    Just looking at the surface I think it’s difficult to understand specifically what kind of work people are involved in. There is a lot of information that is hard to get while job-hunting, so I recommend speaking with as many employees as possible.

    Looking back, I feel that my time as a student was incredibly important. Not just using this time to study, but also using this limited period to find areas to develop myself which will benefit my future.

    To everyone who is currently job-hunting, if you are interested in Akebono, please come and see our technology for yourself.

  • Fukunobu Iijima
  • Fukunobu IijimaAkebono Research & Development Centre
  • I have one piece of advice. Finding a job is just one checkpoint in life. Before thinking of that, simply chase after your dreams. By doing this, you will naturally find a job that suits you. Spend all your time choosing a company where you can achieve your dreams and goals. I look forward to meeting you in the future.

  • Yona Raj Martin Crove
  • Yona Raj Martin CroveElectric Brake Business Division
  • Job-hunting can be exciting, but also daunting at the same time. Express yourself, relax, and find a job that you can enjoy. I wish you all the best in your future.

  • Haruka Oishi
  • Haruka OishiManufacturing Division
  • If you have the chance, try and talk with some employees or visit the company and imagine if you could see yourself also working there. Although I think you will have a lot of worries while job-hunting, I think that it is a good chance to talk to various people. So take your time and enjoy it.

  • Yuki Morita
  • Yuki MoritaAdvanced Production Engineering Division
  • Out of the countless companies out there, it may be difficult to narrow down which one to choose. In my case, in order to prevent a potential mismatch and find a company I would truly enjoy, I considered the ‘things I like’ and ‘things I’m good at’ as a basis for my decision while considering jobs.

    While job-hunting, looking at a company’s corporate information is of course important, but I felt that before you can understand someone else it is important to first understand yourself. If you first complete an analysis of yourself, I think finding a job will come naturally.

    Regardless of corporate information, I think you can also prevent mismatching with a company by actively participating in company seminars to see and confirm the company environment for yourself (Genchi and Genbutsu). Without putting too much pressure on yourself, enjoy your time job-hunting.

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