Together with Customers
Society has become increasingly interested in product quality. The Toyota Boshoku group works to develop products based on the Customer First principle and is rebuilding its quality assurance system by going back to the basics to prevent the recurrence of claims from the market and so that its competitive advantage does not decline.
Going back to the basics in quality assurance
The Toyota Boshoku group has reconfirmed the fundamentals of quality assurance in the three areas shown below in accordance with its quality function policy and is working on various quality assurance related activities.
- Devise technical drawings that factor in quality
- Create a process that guarantees the quality of drawings
- Enhance quality in daily manufacturing operations
In order to ensure optimal quality assurance, it is important for each and every company member to implement the concept of Jikotei-kanketsu (all processes in-house). This refers to deciding on what is normal and abnormal individually and one's own behaviour.
The Toyota Boshoku group conducted Jikotei-kanketsu activities not only within the production section but also to share and permeate the concept with development and production preparation members and to carry out kaizen (continuous improvement). We promote activities for each step from start to finish in order to develop products with world-class performance.
Strengthen quality assurance system
With the aim of satisfying customers around the world and delivering products that inspire, the Quality Assurance Division and Global Quality Control Division of the Quality Improvement Group have joined forces to enhance the quality assurance system for the Toyota Boshoku group.
Reinforcing our global quality assurance system
The Toyota Boshoku group is working to strengthen our quality assurance system in parallel with global business expansion.
First, at quality function meetings, global policy related to quality management is formulated and key issues are discussed and followed up on while determining the quality policy of each region and its implementation status. Information is shared at the global level to enable effective quality-related measures. Additionally, the Company is cooperating with respective regions through quality function meetings held at each RM&CH to ascertain the status of quality for respective regions and deploy initiatives towards achieving targets.
In fiscal 2011, we clarified the method of operation of milestone meetings at each stage of initial milestone activities and the basic meeting agenda, thereby establishing the main points of the operation of milestone meetings for each stage to prevent problems when starting up new products. Accordingly, evaluation of the level of completion as opposed to benchmarks for transitioning to the next stage and progress by each stage as well as countermeasures to address delays in progress were visualised in each step of quality assurance activities. In this way, we are working to further strengthen our quality assurance system.
Expansion of ISO/TS 16949 certification
The Toyota Boshoku group promotes acquisition of ISO/TS 16949 certification to meet the requirements of many automakers worldwide, including in Europe and the United States. In order to prevent deficiencies in the supply chain, the group has obtained this certification at five plants in Japan and 24 regional entities around the world. In fiscal 2012, we will implement company-wide training and promote initiatives to further expand the acquisition of ISO/TS 16949 certification centred on the TS 16949 Promotion Committee.
Deployment of quality-related activities
The Toyota Boshoku group deploys quality-related activities from the perspective of people who drive cars as well as automakers.
Prevention of significant quality issues
To prevent product claims and major quality deficiencies, we conduct what are known as 5N activities for all parts earmarked for commercialisation. With 5N activities, we identify areas that are either new or have been modified in the design of a new product from five perspectives: new structure, new materials, new manufacturing method, new processing and new application. This approach helps to eliminate any deficiencies in advance. For instance, if a totally new material is slated for use in the design of a new product, it is set and registered as a product subject to 5N activities. Development, product technology, procurement and quality divisions then work together to prevent deficiencies in key areas of quality through evaluation and verification activities. The implementation status of 5N activities is evaluated at a production transfer meeting held at each stage. Products for which these activities have not been completed do not make it to market.
Design and process development to prevent defects in products
The Toyota Boshoku group is undertaking efforts on a daily basis in design and process development that do not result in product defects. In fiscal 2011, we further ramped up efforts to thoroughly promote the Jikotei-kanketsu concept. In addition to monthly meetings on quality (attended by approximately 100 companies), we have also strengthened activities to enhance awareness of quality by implementing the HOSHIN Confirmation Meeting for Quality Activity (Quality Assurance Policy Confirmation Committee) three times a year at respective group companies. By sharing examples of process improvements and activity policies with respective companies through documenting case examples of process improvements and quality activity plans, we are striving to increase the level of quality across the group.
Swift discovery and response to defects in products in the market
Toyota Boshoku promotes activities aimed at swift discovery and response to serious defects in products in the market. Defects with a high propensity to cause harm, that occur frequently or may impact the market are classified into two rankings and registered. Countermeasures are then implemented in line with a set deadline based on comprehensive follow-up procedures. Clear rules are defined for defects designated with a high ranking, including countermeasures, deadline for implementation and method of implementation.
We always strive to provide products that provide satisfaction through swift and precise countermeasures to defects.
Promotion of QC Circle/SQC*1Activities
As part of TQM activities*2, which are company-wide quality management initiatives, we promote QC Circle/SQC activities worldwide. Marking its 8th event in fiscal 2011, the All Toyota Boshoku QC Circle presentation has become well established as an occasion to present global activities.
In Japan, training by job classification, manager and other relevant education was conducted during fiscal 2011. In other regions outside Japan, the development of promoters and leaders was implemented with a focus on developing a system for nurturing local leaders. Steady results were also achieved in the four regions of North & South America, Asia & Oceania, China and Europe & Africa by promoting various measures such as holding contests for selecting cases of improvement by base.
SQC activities, which target administrative and technical divisions, are being deployed across the board.
- *1 Statistical Quality Control
- *2 Total Quality Management activities refer to initiatives that aim to make personnel and the organisation more dynamic based on the concepts of "Customer First," "company-wide participation" and "kaizen" in order to maintain a strong and flexible corporate structure.