Kubota Corporation and Accenture have formed a new joint venture company, Kubota Data Ground, Inc., to accelerate the digital transformation (DX) of the Kubota group’s business model and operating infrastructure. The new company will begin operations on September 1, 2022.
Kubota Data Ground will be a subsidiary with strategic capabilities in DX that it will use to further contribute to solutions for food, water, and environmental sustainability. In addition, the company will develop digital human resources and a cloud-based digital platform that will strengthen and upgrade existing businesses by connecting internal and external services and data.
The Kubota subsidiary will focus on promoting four key initiatives:
Creating Sustainability Solutions
The company will collect and analyze data related to food, water, and the environment, using it to develop more efficient business processes and create sustainable solutions.
The company will apply IoT, AI, and cloud technologies to data on crops and farmland to improve overall productivity in agriculture. In addition, the company will aim to solve food-related challenges and create new added value for the entire chain, starting with farmers through to distributors and consumers.
The company will create solutions that improve efficiency and extend use-life for pipes, treatment plants, and other urban infrastructure. It will also look to improve disaster resilience with monitoring and management platforms capable of responding to conditions throughout the water supply ecosystem.
It will also create resource recovery solutions that collect and sort waste materials and recycle them into electricity, fertilizer, and valuable metals.
Promoting Business Transformation
The company will use digital technology to enhance Kubota’s existing services, improve quality, and promote the efficiency and sophistication of its operations, including the development of an even safer working environment. As part of this initiative, the company will promote the establishment of smart factories that optimize efficiency and help prevent accidents by utilizing data collected from RFID tags and sensors on factory equipment, vehicles and from mobile applications distributed to workers. In addition, the company will build a digital twin, which is a virtual representation of product design, development, and manufacturing. At the global level, this will speed up data-based decision-making, standardize processes, promote automation, and save labor, realizing more intelligent operations.
Creating Digital Human Resources
To promote DX, Kubota Data Ground aims to train approximately 1,000 DX specialists by the end of December 2024. This will include both highly specialized technical experts and those focused on business operations. In addition, the company will hold digital workshops for senior management and educational programs for all Kubota employees to raise digital literacy across the group. Workshops covering business operations will focus on internal and external DX case studies, providing a practical curriculum that will lead to real-world solutions.
Building a Cloud-Based Digital Transformation Platform
To realize the data-driven and flexible management needed for further global expansion, Kubota Data Ground will build a cloud-based DX platform to accumulate and share internal and external data, including up-to-the-minute information on weather, crop growth, and yields. The platform will be built on Microsoft Azure. In addition, Kubota will strengthen IT governance at its 66 global sites, improve its global security risk detection system, and provide training for overseas security personnel to achieve a higher level of security globally.
Yuichi Kitao, president and representative director of Kubota Corporation, said, “Since its foundation, Kubota has been working to solve social issues related to the essential needs of food, water, and the environment. In recent years, food and water shortages, climate change, and other global issues have been presenting increasingly complex and diverse challenges.
These challenges require holistic solutions that leverage digital technology. As part of its commitment to being a platform provider that supports life, the well-being of society, and a sustainable environment, Kubota will take on the challenge of contributing to these solutions while still achieving business growth. With this joint venture with Accenture at the lead, we will accelerate the development of new solutions, strengthen our business foundation, and continually create corporate value.”
Atsushi Egawa, who leads Accenture’s business in Japan, said, “Our goal is to create 360° value for all our stakeholders — our clients, people, shareholders, partners, and communities. Kubota is a leader in addressing global issues in the areas of food, water, and the environment, so this joint venture embodies the combined ambition and philosophy of our two companies. Together we will continue to strive towards a sustainable society by fully leveraging our strengths, including the utilization of data, cloud, and AI, as well as the development of people who specialize in digital transformation.”