December 17, 2019

AIP : Improvement Pays (You!)

NSK produces billions of bearings a year. From cars to planes, home appliances to industrial machinery, and computer components to satellites-NSK is all around you. But we don't just make bearings, we also teach our partners and customers how to work with them effectively, which is pretty important in the big picture. In this four-part series we dive deep into our AIP value creation program and its benefits for customers, distributors, and the environment.

Part 1: What is AIP? - Improvement pays (You!)

Part 2: How does AIP drive distributor sales growth?

Part 3: How does AIP reduce total cost of ownership?

Part 4: How does AIP benefit the environment?

── Today we will cover the key features of AIP as a philosophy and practical toolkit that benefits both distributors and end users. What is AIP?

Andrew "Andy" Bairsto

Andrew "Andy" Bairsto
Global Leader of AIP

── Thank you for joining us today Andy. Let's jump right into it, what is AIP?

Andy    AIP is our value creation program. We recently relaunched AIP under the key message "improvement pays." For end users, it improves machine reliability and productivity, and for our distributors, it unlocks new opportunities for profitable sales growth while also enhancing the skill set of their team, helping them to transition to selling on value rather than price. It's a win-win situation for everyone.

── So distributors benefit from a closer relationship with NSK and share in our specialist knowledge, and end users benefit from collaborative troubleshooting resulting in more reliable, cost effective bearing solutions.

Andy    That's right. AIP isn't a one-off service, it's a philosophy driving continuous improvement through tangible value-adding solutions. This is embodied by the five distinct steps of the AIP Value Cycle: Evaluation, Recommendation, Implementation, Validation, and Extension.

── How does this work in practice?

Andy    It's probably easiest to start with an example. Imagine the customer has an issue, such as frequent failures of a certain kind of pump in their facilities. NSK works with a local authorized distributor and conducts an investigation on the pumps, this is the first step of the AIP Value Cycle, 'Evaluation.' Next is 'Recommendation,' we have identified the issue, and after due consideration, propose a more appropriate type of bearing for the application.

── And then in the 'Implementation' step you supply the bearings and if required by the end user, help them with installation.

Andy    Right. We initially do a test run on the customer application, and following the successful proving period, move up to full implementation. From there, the next step is 'Validation,' we confirm that the new solution has effectively improved the situation over the long term from a financial perspective, such as by reducing purchasing costs (fewer parts bought), realizing maintenance cost reduction, and reducing the frequency of failures to eliminate unplanned downtime.


We undertook a 6-month trial on three pumps. Within this time, there were zero failures, so we proceeded to full implementation.


After changing to the NSK solution, there were no failures within the first 12 month, resulting in cost reduced purchasing and maintenance costs.

Bearing cost

Success Story: Real world example of AIP method applied to customer application.

── Sounds like a wrap, but there is still one more step, 'Extension.'

Andy    To review, in the first four steps we provided a value-added service to deliver a solution reducing the frequency of machine failures. This means we successfully reduced the end user's total cost of ownership: fewer replacements, less maintenance, and reduced downtime. Everybody loves to save money while also improving productivity, so the customer is happy with the result, and asks us to evaluate other parts of their plant. Extension is about driving further cost savings and benefits across all of the customers operations, which of course also benefits the distributor and strengthens the distributor-customer relationship. Like I said, everybody wins.

── I'm starting to understand why 'improvement pays.'

Andy    We are very serious about the benefits of AIP. Our customers highly appreciate the program, and we frequently publish AIP Success Stories on our website describing the benefits delivered to customers in almost every kind of industry. We help customers realize significant cost savings, and it's common to see costs reduced by 50% or more.

── To put it simply, NSK works directly with its authorized distributors to better serve the end user customers.

Andy    Remember that the distributor's customer is our customer, the end user is using NSK product, and we are committed to following through and ensuring a quality experience every step of the way. From surveys and inspections, to training and selection, AIP is a highly structured program to partner with distributors and deliver the benefits of our specialist knowledge.

── Sounds, great. Where can I find more information on AIP?

Andy    Visit our AIP webpage for brochures and an in-depth overview of the program. We also have a dedicated site for AIP Success Stories with examples from many industries. You can also follow us on Linkedin for regular updates on AIP.

For Customers: Looking for AIP service near you? See our list of NSK certified AIP Partners.

For Distributors: Interested in becoming an AIP Partner? Contact your local NSK representative.

Upcoming articles:

  • Part 2: How does AIP drive distributor sales growth?
  • Part 3: How does AIP reduce total cost of ownership?
  • Part 4: How does AIP benefit the environment?

About NSK Ltd.

NSK started its journey manufacturing the first bearings in Japan in 1916, and has since developed into a global organization researching, designing, and manufacturing Motion & Control? solutions supporting essential mobility and industrial applications. NSK is currently the top supplier of bearings in Japan, and is the third largest supplier in the world by market share.

Our responsive products and technologies are used to enhance performance and productivity while reducing energy consumption. In the early 1960s we set our sights outside Japan, and have established business locations across 30 countries.

NSK Corporate Philosophy

NSK contributes to a safer, smoother society and helps protect the global environment through its innovative technology integrating Motion & Control. As a truly international enterprise, we are working across national boundaries to improve relationships between people throughout the world.