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Sustainability: Moving from Common Sense to Common Practice
2016 International Conference
Leesburg, VA - National Conference Center

September 18th - 21st


Technology Breakthrough by Operation Breakthrough

Mr. Seita Kanai - Representative Director and Chairman of the Board, Mazda Motor Corporation
Mr. Mitsuo Hitomi - Managing Executive Officer, Mazda Motor Corporation
Mr. Akihiro Kidani - General Manager, MDI Project Office Mazda Motor Corporation



Many Japanese companies are facing the dilemma to fulfill corporate social responsibility by securing employment v.s. to deliver new innovative products by investing more money for new product development. With four straight years of negative performance and a plummeting share price, Mazda had to come up with a way to deliver car innovation without increasing costs while keeping employment. Starting with bottom up initiatives and later supported by a top-down commitment, the company utilized the TOC 5 focusing steps which enabled them to make laser -like focus on TOC implementation to the only constraint to developing an innovative, new technological breakthrough called "SKYACTIV.” Not only was Mazda able to cut its car development time in half, but also the mileage is competitive with hybrid cars without any compromise in performance and far less cost.

Among the KPIs for Mazda are a huge jump in sales and profitability with increased motivation and collaboration within the company coupled with people’s growth. Moreover, the company has won numerous industry awards for its technological breakthroughs. Above all, key learning from Mazda’s journey is "There is no limit for technology breakthrough. There is no limit for operational breakthrough. Even the sky is not the limit”





Seita Kanai Seita Kanai joined Toyo Kogyo Co., Ltd (present Mazda Motor Corporation) in 1974, after graduating from Tokyo Institute of Technology, School of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering. He worked exclusive in R&D and was Program Manager of the first-generation Mazda6 (known as Mazda Atenza in Japan) released in 2002. Promoted to Managing Executive Officer in charge of Vehicle Development and Technical Affairs in 2004, and Director and Senior Managing Executive Officer in charge of R&D in 2006, he led the development of Mazda’s SKYACTIV Technology, which was launched in 2010.

In 2011, he became Representative Director and Executive Vice President and in 2013, Representative Director and Vice Chairman of the Board. He has been Representative Director and Chairman of the Board since 2014.


Mitsuo Hitomi, Joined Mazda Motor Corporation in 1979, was engaged in research at the Technical Research Center until 1994, and then has moved to the Powertrain Development Division.

After worked on technology development on boosted engines as well as technology development for emission regulation compliance and served as a testing & research leader for the engine jointly developed with Ford, became the leader for development of SKYACTIV engine project which started from 2007. The majority of the career was spent in the advanced development field, and about 20 years out of which were dedicated for technology development for a boosted down-sized engine that is now the mainstream in the EU market. For the SKYACTIV development direction, however, selected not a boosted down-sized engine’s but the direction of a naturally aspirated engine with high compression ratio. Some people around him voiced doubts about this unique approach, but he believes in the SKYACTIV engine because what really counts for customers as well as environment is not fuel economy consumption values in catalogues but real-world fuel economy, and in that regard, a naturally-aspirated, big displacement SKYACTIV engine has a dominant advantage, and also, SKYACTIV is better suited for zoom-zoom that Mazda is pursuing for.

Has an ultimate vision for an internal combustion engine, and is currently devoting all his energy to its realization.

Since 2010, the General Manager, Powertrain Development Division.
Since 2011, the Executive Officer.
Since 2012, the Senior Executive officer


Akihiro Kidani joined Toyo Kogyo Co., Ltd (present Mazda Motor Corporation) soon after graduating from Yamaguchi University, Department of Production Mechanical Engineering. He consistently dedicated himself in the Prototype department where he was in charge of developing CAD/CAM system and applying it to Manufacturing. In 2002, he was promoted as a General Manager of the MDI (Mazda Digital Innovation) Project Implementation Office and lead Mazda’s product development process innovation by taking advantage of the CAD/CAM/CAE/MBD technology. Promoted to General Manager of the Powertrain Development Division, Powertrain Innovation office, he lead the implementation of Theory of Constraint’s CCPM and succeeded in introducing multiple of to SKYACTIV products into the market in a very speedy manner, which led to the market giving more attention to Mazda products. In 2013, he was promoted as a General Manager of R&D Technical Administration Division, and now in 2016, he serves as the General Manager of MDI Project Office (Division level) and is working on bringing innovation into the operation of Mazda Corporation.


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