Konica Minolta Launches AI-Powered Service to Preserve Skilled Technicians’ Knowledge in Manuals for SMEs; Pilot Test Created a Manual in 2 Hours

REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao
A logo of Konica Minolta is pictured at a trade show for Japan’s manufacturing industry in Tokyo.

Konica Minolta, Inc. will launch a new service this autumn that involves interviewing skilled technicians at manufacturing companies and using generative AI to create manuals based on their expertise. The service will be marketed to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that lack the resources and time to create manuals and train employees, helping them to pass on technical knowledge.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The AI will analyze audio data from interviews with skilled technicians about their work processes and techniques, and compile the information into written manuals. Even techniques expressed through intuitive words like “whoosh” and “whoops” will be verbalized as much as possible.

In a pilot test conducted at a metal parts manufacturer in Shizuoka Prefecture, a draft manual was created from an interview lasting about 30 minutes. After revisions by the technician, the manual was completed in about two hours.

There is concern that if the transfer of tacit knowledge based on experience and intuition does not go smoothly, it could lead to a decline in quality and work efficiency. While some large companies are digitizing manuals using AI, smaller companies face challenges in keeping up with this trend.

Konica Minolta plans to improve the accuracy of manual creation, and aims to develop a system in which AI acts as an interviewer in the future.