CompaniesHutzper, Inc.

Solving labor shortages in manufacturing by using AI specialized in inspections

Hutzper, Inc.

Hiro Onishi
ContentsProviding AI-based services designed for the manufacturing segment
Web site

Hutzper Inc. provides AI-based services created specifically for production facilities.The company name comes from the Hebrew term chutzpah, roughly meaning “bold, unafraid to challenge the status quo, and gets things done.” Hiro Onishi learned the word in Israel as a youth and continues to cherish the concept. We talked with the CEO about Hutzper Inc.

Please tell us about Hutzper’s services.

Our service automates manufacturing checks or inspection processes by training AI to recognize visual imagery or vibrations. This process often relies on each worker’s experience or their five senses, such as visual, auditory, or tactile confirmations, to identify issues. However, SMEs find it challenging to secure staffing due to the recent decline in Japan’s labor force. Our AI services are fast, cheap, and accurate; they will hit the ground running to help the factory floor.

Hutzper, Inc.

Top half: Mekikibaito automates visual inspections using AI to solve understaffing, stabilize quality consistency, and streamline operations. Mekiki means someone with a discerning eye regarding quality, baito means part-time worker.
Lower half: Shindodaijin has a vibration sensor that is attached to existing fixtures to measure operation uptime, prevent malfunctions, improve production efficiency, and convey skills to the next generation. Shindo means vibration, daijin means minister.

With Mekikibaito, the camera captures a product’s externals, and AI determines the quality to identify defects. Using AI minimizes variabilities in inspection and missed defects, enabling accurate inspections.

Similarly, Shindodaijin identifies anomalies through sensors tracking the vibrations of the cutting tool. The AI senses the wear or damage of the blade or other defects in the machine and sends signals to stop operations when necessary. What was once based on each worker’s gut feeling is now visualized to alleviate workers’ workload, improve quality, enable night-time uncrewed operations, and maximize collected data.

Further, we are also running demonstration tests of another service that analyzes the actions of workers on the production floor. The service can help the company review staffing plans, make labor-saving decisions, and optimize traffic flow. We are currently working towards the launch of this service.

What is Hutzper’s mission?

Small to mid-sized manufacturers earn 20% of Japan’s GDP; we are a manufacturing nation. However, as the birthrate decreases and the population grows old, the labor market will continue to shrink. Our mission is to solve the labor shortage using AI so the amassed skills and know-how that support Japan’s industries are not lost due to the lack of staffing.

For example, to lower the threshold for SMEs, all our services are offered on a monthly subscription, minimizing their initial investments. Many of our client companies that use our services tell us they are pleased with the accuracy and high ROI.

We are currently running overseas needs assessments, too. In 2023, we participated in trade shows in Thailand twice and plan to be more aggressive outside of Japan soon.

Hutzper, Inc.

Please tell us about Hutzper’s past, present, and future.

Hutzper was co-founded by three friends who studied engineering at the same university: Kota Kurose (COO), Kazuki Yumiba (CTO), and myself. When we were in school, we would discuss our hopes and dreams of starting a company. Still, after graduating, we all went into the corporate world or graduate school. We would meet periodically during this time to exchange information or consider business opportunities.

I worked for a manufacturer of semiconductors and circuit components. I visited their production sites both in and out of Japan and witnessed firsthand the problems of understaffing and the complexity of systemizing. It was a wake-up call and made me genuinely want to contribute to the production scene in Japan. The experience shaped my vision of “delivering AI solutions to the production floor of small and medium-sized manufacturers.”

Our company now has 45 employees, with every person making the most of their skills. We pride ourselves on being the one and only company that specializes in AI development specifically for tests and inspections of manufacturing sites, based in Osaka, known as the manufacturing capital of Japan.
We will continue to carry “bold and brave” as our motto, listen to inputs from workers on the production floor, and create solutions that solve our clients’ problems.

Hutzper, Inc.

Exhibit panels from SWITCH 2023, held in October 2023.

Back to all stories