Concept of Quality and Customer Satisfaction (CS) Improvements
Sumitomo Electric has been committed to scientific business management for many years, and the Deming Prize we won in 1962 is an example of our achievements. In 1975, the Reliability Improvement Campaign was launched throughout the Group, involving all employees. Since then we have carried out Group-wide quality and reliability improvement campaigns, selecting priority subjects related to “quality” and “reliability” according to the needs of the times.
On the basis of the accumulation of such achievements, the Sumitomo Electric Group has conducted its QR-1 campaign in pursuit of the world's top quality under the slogan "To become an enterprise rated No. 1 by our customers." The campaign is conducted with strong focus on two key aspects: quality and customer orientation. This is because the Sumitomo Electric Group's business activities consist mainly of so-called business-to-business (B2B) transactions, and we believe that further quality improvement by identifying opinions and demands from customers through our daily sales activities will certainly lead to greater customer satisfaction.
Development of the QR-1
We launched the QR-1 campaign in fiscal 2002. We have promoted own process
quality assurance activities as Phase V of the QR-1 campaign for three years since
fiscal 2013. Returning to the basics of “Do not produce defects, and do not pass
down defects to the following process” in each process, we have been committed
to the establishment of defect-free process conditions and the clarification of criteria
for product quality judgment.
It is necessary to clarify thoroughly the mechanism that generates defects so as
"Not to cause defects," and promote measurement and inspection technology
development to detect defects so as "Not to send defects to the following process"
with close cooperation between the departments: development & design, production
engineering, and manufacturing.
Audit and Support Activities for
We evaluate the quality activities of the departments based on customers'
assessment and quality cost so as to improve weaknesses of their quality control
activities and systems.
We promote "Global quality audits" which are intended to enhance the quality
assurance systems according to the plan. When a serious complaint occurs, we add
the root cause of the complaint to the items to be subjected to out audit. And then
we perform audits and support activities.
In the global quality audits, we identify structural weaknesses in terms of
management, design, and manufacturing, and support to overcome the weaknesses,
while improving the quality level.
Activities to Enhance Employee Awareness
We are encouraging all our employees to understand the top management's approach to quality and thereby raise their own quality awareness. Sumitomo Electric holds Group-wide quality improvement conventions for this purpose, and displays banners with slogans on quality. In November, which is specified as "Quality Month" every year, each of our Works displays quality-related flags and posters. Messages from the President are disseminated through in-house magazines, in-plant broadcasting, and other media on appropriate occasions, and inspection of manufacturing sites by top management is organized, to enhance quality improvement awareness among employees.
Sumitomo Electric also established quality achievement awards to commend divisions implementing activities that set a good example for other divisions, and individual employees who have created excellent QC-related posters and slogans, to encourage awareness of quality improvement.
Develop Employee Capabilities
Sumitomo Electric has provided employees with training programs at the "SEI University". With that, to improve and ensure the quality of products and services at higher levels, it is essential for individual employees to develop their operational capabilities. Every year, we make annual education plans required to improve quality at the beginning of the fiscal year, and provide position-based education for all employees, function-based/administrative-position-based education according to divisions or positions, and needs-based education to learn knowledge. Furthermore, Sumitomo Electric has dispatched instructors to relevant departments upon request, to deliver “on-site seminars” to teach how to make use of quality management tools and improve the ability to identify problems and real causes. For product safety, we organize technical seminars yearly on the Product Liability Act and the revised Consumer Product Safety Act in partnership with the Legal Department. Practical training sessions are provided to all divisions to deepen their understanding of the laws, and cover subjects such as recent cases, product safety review and warning labels to ensure product safety, collection of product safety information, and response to accidents.
Activities for the Improvement of Logistics Quality
Sumitomo Electric is committed to the improvement of logistics quality in concert with transport companies currying our products, in order to prevent product damage,/fouling and other accidents of products during transportation and ensure to carry our products to customers without any accidents. In particular, nearly half of the accidents of products during transportation are damage caused by a forklift truck. To reduce such accidents, we prepared a visual training text, which presents the issues to be considered on the basic operation of forklift trucks, and distributed it to not only our company and our group companies, but also transport companies. We also have been taking various other measures including a forklift truck basic operation competition, which aimed to improve the abilities of forklift truck operators.
The Sumitomo Electric Group believes that manufacturing quality and office work quality are inseparable on business execution and equally focuses on office work quality improvement activities, aiming to eliminate critical office work mistakes and raise the office work efficiency. Specific activities are: (1) development and periodical review of relevant documents such as company regulations, business rules and office work instructions, (2) thorough implementation of measures to prevent recurrence of mistakes to eliminate office work mistakes, and the use of“ Hiyari-Hatto” memos, or near-miss reports, to prevent mistakes and (3) improvement of office work efficiency by“ Kaizen” at the office. To promote these activities in each division and group company, we encourage them to conduct an annual self-assessment of their progress and organizational climate with the aim of utilizing the results for their subsequent improvement cycles. Furthermore, we started town meetings where the committee of office work quality improvement activities and each division’s personnel in charge of them gather to exchange their opinions and share information on their progress, thus maintaining our efforts for further improvement in office work quality.
Activities by the Sales Group
Our Group's business activities consist mainly of business-to-business (B2B) transactions, and we therefore believe that the proper identification of the opinions and demands from customers (companies) through daily sales activities and further quality improvement of products will lead to greater customer satisfaction. Based on this recognition, a 360-degree survey has been conducted since fiscal 2002 for, persons in charge of sales. Specifically, the sales capabilities of the sales persons are determined and assessed with a questionnaire administered to themselves, their superiors and clients (3 to 5 companies). The assessment results are fed back to the sales staff and their superiors to encourage the staff to enhance their sales capabilities. In addition, the overall results are used to review the education and instruction methods so that Sumitomo Electric can strengthen its sales capabilities and further improve customer satisfaction.