AISIN Group has advocated the philosophy of “Quality First” and believes that enhancing the quality of its products and work forms the basis of its existence. In addition, it promotes Total Quality Management (TQM) as a corporate activity to improve the constitution of the Group based on a “Customer First” mindset, in which everyone involved in work within the Group cooperates with each other to achieve management goals.
To reinforce our “Quality First” and “Customer First” philosophies, the Group held the third All-Aisin TQM Conference in fiscal 2018, in which 461 participants, including members of top-level management from various Group companies, directly shared their commitment of AISIN’s top management to TQM activities. AISIN Group continues to develop human resources capable of maintaining and improving quality standards throughout the Group. As part of our efforts to protect quality and raise the level of our human resources development, from both a Group-wide and global perspective, AISIN Group also invited lecturers from JR East to speak at the conference.
In fiscal 2018, it established “No. 0,” which forms the foundation for the Group management policy, as “Top Prioritization of Safety and Compliance and Quality First.”
A Group-wide and worldwide effort to put customers first
With the arrival of a major period of transformation for the automotive industry, which is said to take place once in a century, customer attitudes with regard to quality and approaches to quality assurance are changing. In April 2017, the Group established the All-Aisin Quality Assurance Center, and is now driving various quality-related initiatives based on the implementation of a new Group quality policy aimed to make the Group companies face a single, common direction. In terms of activities to prevent the occurrence of quality-related issues, AISIN Group is seeking to share experience and know-how among Group companies and has sought to improve efficiency by developing mechanisms for making effective use of their equipment and human resources. In fiscal 2019, it will shift toward full-scale operation of these mechanisms at Group Companies.
Aisin Seiki is engaged in global quality assurance activities working to enhance quality, with the Company’s head office working in collaboration with counterparts in each region—the core of these consisting of Overseas Regional Quality Improvement Committees in North America, Europe, Australasia, China, India and South America. Moreover, QA (Quality Analysis) centers in North America, Australasia and China are driving the development of local human resources in those regions who are able to perform swift and effective quality analyses. Moving forward, we will seek to achieve Group-wide “All-Aisin” collaboration as we continue to advance these efforts.
Avoiding a repeat of the same failures
In April 2016, AISIN Group established the Quality Learning Zone for the purpose of “learning from past failures.” In July 2018, with the aim to further improve quality awareness, the Group installed a “tunnel for learning how scary quality problems can be” based on the theme of knowing and feeling the importance of quality at a company. AISIN Group also plans to create a new simulator, present the voices of people who have experienced quality issues in the past and hold various exhibitions of expertise gained from past faults and defects at various Group companies.
Raising awareness of quality through full employee participation
AISIN Group companies conduct QC circle activities that engage all personnel in each workplace, and activities to propose innovative improvement ideas for achieving higher product quality and work quality. They also promote human resources development through these activities.
These QC circle activities are now widespread throughout Group companies in and outside Japan, with a total of 2,595 circle groups participating. After a regional conference based selection process, the outcomes of successfully selected circles are announced at the Global QC Circle Conference. In fiscal 2018, a total of 47 circles with 200 members from 47 Group companies in 15 countries participated in Aisin Seiki’s conference and reported keenly on their activities. As for activities to propose innovative improvement ideas, AISIN Group remains at the highest level in terms of the number of awards for the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Awards recognizing outstanding examples of improvement.
Developing professionals in quality
AISIN Group promotes the nurturing of quality professionals capable of using statistical quality control (SQC) methods in their work and encourages employees throughout the Group to attain QC certification (levels 1-4) issued by the Japanese Standards Association. By the end of fiscal 2018, 30,139 employees from the 14 main Group companies had acquired the certification. Additionally, to cultivate scientific problem-solving capabilities, the Group is promoting the practical use of a fact- and data-based scientific approach through training in SQC methods and by sharing information in improvement examples.
Initiatives to ensure reliability
AISIN Group thoroughly surveys actual product usages to increase the level of its performance evaluation, and consequently, ensure safety and reliability in products.
In an effort to ensure the reliability of automotive parts, the Group operates three large-scale proving grounds, and from the standpoint of users, conducts repeated adaptability tests using actual vehicles. Each testing ground has updated its test tracks designed to recreate various road conditions around the world to reflect changes in the marketplace. It also repeats tests across the world based on stringent conditions that accurately reflect different natural environments and ways in which vehicles are used in different countries. This enables AISIN Group to accumulate new knowledge and data, which it then incorporates into development, quality assurance and improvement of evaluation technologies.
In fiscal 2018, AISIN Group began considerations with regard to evaluation testing and facilities for the evaluation of next-generation products. It developed a Group-wide collaborative framework for training test drivers at Fujioka Proving Ground. Moving forward, in addition to testing with actual vehicles, AISIN Group will also work to construct virtual evaluation models by incorporating simulation technologies utilizing computers.
For lifestyle and energy related products, the Group conducts repeated tests using environmental chambers and other large-scale equipment, so that it can continue to create products that are both safe and reliable.
Young engineers who are leading the evolution of evaluation technology
The young engineers in our Reliability Technology Department make challenges in new areas and work continuously to develop next-generation technologies. At Toyokoro Proving Ground, with the cooperation of experts from Toyohashi University of Technology, young engineers who have studied precision measurement techniques evaluate their own ideas from a user standpoint in view of multiple aspects. Although they sometimes face difficult issues, they work to expedite the development of next-generation products by acquiring new evaluation technologies, with a strong sense of mission that they themselves must “lead next-generation development.”
Responding to customers
AISIN Group listens seriously to the voices of its customers and responds to their requests. In order to do so, it organizes large-scale quality example exhibitions regularly and sets up permanent booths where employees can listen to complaints from customers. For lifestyle related products, the Group has renewed its telephone response system and improved workability for its operators. In order to improve their skills at handling telephone calls, all of the operators are working to obtain Level 2 “Moshi Moshi” proficiency test certification. The opinions that the Group receives from customers are communicated to relevant corporate officers and departments, and analyzed and distributed internally.
Developing human resources and systems with a consumer-oriented perspective
The Customer Support Department works to ascertain information regarding the latest revisions to relevant laws and regulations, such as the Act Against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations and the latest trends at the Consumer Affairs Agency, and incorporates this information into internal education and training programs. In its screenings of user manuals and sales promotion tools, the department seeks to improve and enhance the content of its screenings by obtaining overseas-oriented screening know-how, and by preparing and distributing glossaries for preventing proofreading errors. In fiscal 2019, the department clarified key screening points in order to respond better to the increase in the number of sales promotion tools utilizing web and video-based approaches. These points will be incorporated into future screening processes. AISIN Group currently has 30 consumer lifestyle advisor qualification holders in-house, who work to build connections between consumers and the company. In fiscal 2019, as well, it will continue to support employees taking examinations to obtain these qualifications.