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Action Plan for Enhancing Proper Future-oriented Mold Management Compiled

As an important element for achieving a virtuous cycle for Japan’s economy, companies should improve trade practices with their subcontractors and other SMEs. To this end, in January 2017, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency (SMEA) established a Study Group for Future-oriented Trade Practices Involving Mold Management (Storage, Disposal, etc.), chaired by Mr. Koichi Hosoda, professor of the Faculty of Law, Kanagawa University, aiming to establish a fair trade environment for the automobile industry and the machine parts and tooling industry. Since then, the study group has held periodic discussions and finally compiled the discussion results into a report titled “Action Plan for Enhancing Proper Future-oriented Mold Management.”

1. Background

On September 15, 2016, METI released the Basic Policies for Future-oriented Trade Practices (Seko Plan). As an effort to clarify these policies and take specific actions in response to the results of discussions held by the Subcommittee for Discussing Issues Involving Fair Trade Practices of the Committee on SME Business Support under the Council for Small and Medium Enterprise Policy, in January 2017, METI and SMEA established a Study Group for Future-oriented Trade Practices Involving Mold Management (Storage and Disposal), chaired by Professor Hosoda, bringing together representative members from the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc., Japan Auto Parts Industries Association and companies in the machine parts and tooling industry, aiming to enhance the management of the molds that are necessary for manufacturing parts and other components. Since then, the study group has been holding discussions for the purpose of making the provisions stipulated under the standards for encouraging fair practices and other guidelines more specific.

On July 18, 2017, the study group compiled a report titled “Three Future-oriented Actions for Mold Management: Reduce Molds, Revise Management and Establish New Systems (Action Plan for Enhancing Proper Future-oriented Mold Management).” METI and SMEA hereby release the action plan.

2. Outline of the action plan

The action plan is a compilation of specific measures that contracting businesses and subcontractors should take to improve the fairness of company policies related to mold management in the future, focusing on disposal of molds, payment of storage fees, streamlining of manuals, and other topics, in line with the three basic policies as below.

  1. Increase the disposal / discard rate for molds [Reduce molds = reduce targets of management]
  2. Stipulate rules among stakeholders through holding consultations or concluding agreements concerning payment of required management and maintenance costs, e.g., storage cost, obligation periods of mold storage and other matters involving molds for which storage is still required. [Revise rules = make management of targets to be managed more appropriate]
  3. Establish new systems for mold management by stipulating guidelines for internal written rules, e.g., policy manuals, and by repeatedly reviewing ideal approaches for enforcing such rules. [Establish new systems = Make mold management practices automatic]

3. Future actions

In cooperation with industrial associations and other organizations, METI and SMEA will hold nationwide seminars explaining the action plan, and will take all necessary actions to thoroughly popularize the action plan.

Moreover, they will conduct a follow-up survey to learn the future state of companies’ efforts to realize the action plan and will revise the action plan accordingly to make improvements which will form the basis of a new action plan, scheduled for release in FY2018.

Release date

July 24, 2017

Divisions in Charge

  • Machine Parts and Tooling Industries Office & Automobile Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau
  • Fair Trade Division, Business Environment Department, Small and Medium Enterprise Agency
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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