Creation of Quality
The NGK Group engages in the creation of quality from the customer's perspective by defining Quality Objectives each year in accordance with the Quality Policy based on the NGK Group Code of Conduct.
Initiatives for Fiscal 2019
In fiscal 2018, we undertook product quality initiatives focused on expanding the existing QRE-P* operations protocol to both established and new products. In addition, with the launch of a quality compliance program focused on maintaining and improving the operational systems that are in place in each workplace to ensure that promises made to customers are fulfilled, we expanded the scope of our quality-related activities to include work quality.
For fiscal 2019, we have developed quality guidelines to clearly specify essential quality assurance items at every stage of new product development for product quality.
And for work quality, we are working to reorient management's thinking from a quality management perspective and to strengthen the mechanisms in place to incorporate contractual content into operations.
Our Quality Objective for fiscal 2019 is a continuation from fiscal 2018, as we recognize that insufficient progress has been achieved on the initiatives begun in fiscal 2018.
QRE-P (Quality Risk Elimination Process): An operational protocol intended to more effectively eliminate quality-related risks at every stage when bringing products to market, from product planning to mass production.
Quality Activity System
The NGK quality activity system consists of a company-wide system, led by the Quality Committee Chair, and business division internal activity systems, led by the heads of each business division. In terms of company-wide activities, the Quality Committee was established to function as a deliberative body assisting the Quality Committee Chair, while business division internal activity systems were put in place for each business line, creating appropriate quality systems for each. Quality assurance, quality control, quality improvements, and quality education activities are promoted by the acquisition of ISO 9001 or IATF 16949 certification.
In the event of a serious quality-related issue, the CSR Committee Chair and the Quality Committee Chair will discuss and cooperate in making a response. Technical issues are discussed at Quality Review meetings, as necessary, to plan countermeasures, and the Quality Committee Chair supervises execution of the measures at the responsible division. In the case of an external issue, the CSR Committee Chair will direct necessary arrangements to take an appropriate response without delay.
Starting in fiscal 2018, we have sought to address non-conformity issues in the delivery tests by codifying standardized rules that will further strengthen our quality compliance. In addition we have expanded quality-focused activities for "work quality" as well as "product quality".
In terms of organizational structure, we have made revisions to the members of the Quality Committee to ensure that quality activities are directly overseen by senior management, and, with regard to the Power Business Group and its compliance issue, we have assigned customer quality assurance duties to a quality assurance department, which is independent of the Business Group carrying out the business activities.
Quality Activity System
Acquisition of ISO 9001 or IATF 16949 Certication
|Percentage of ISO 9001 certified sites (%, Group)||100||100||100||97||97|
Note: In FY2017 and 2018, NGK Ceramics (Thailand) Co., Ltd. was preparing to obtain certification.
Enhancing the Elimination of Quality Risks Company-Wide
NGK Group Quality Activity Rules
The NGK Group promotes restructuring of its quality activities to respond more precisely to increasing and diversifying quality demands from customers in different target markets. In particular, quality activity rules have been formulated to enhance the elimination of quality risks in the market; we are promoting the establishment and improved effectiveness of the rules.
Seeking Greater Effectiveness from Quality Activities and Innovation in Operational Procedures
Since fiscal 2017, we have been promoting Quality Risk Elimination Process (QRE-P) activities throughout the NGK Group. Through these activities, we can identify procedural innovations in product realization in order to eliminate risk while improving quality. In fiscal 2018, we revised regulations in around 40% of our divisions. In fiscal 2019, we will continue to revise the regulations in around 75% of our divisions.
A lot of practice and experience are necessary to reach the level of understanding required to be in charge.Staff members deepen their understanding by working closely with the person in charge.
Four Rules for Quality Activities
Activities to Strengthen DR Functions
The increasing and diversifying quality demands from customers call for the integration of knowledge among various members, not only from the design division but also from the manufacturing and production engineering divisions, throughout the development process. For this reason, the NGK Group considers the Design Review (DR) to be the most critical activity. DRs are conducted when development milestones are reached or when production processes change. Critical DRs are conducted by reviewers from throughout the company to support the elimination of quality risks.
The DR Guidelines were created to promote DR discussions and to thoroughly eliminate quality risks. We are constantly enhancing the effectiveness of DRs through efforts to spread these guidelines company-wide, including awareness and review of each DR. In addition, each division is required to prepare and utilize the DR evaluation indicators to check by themselves of their level and to encourage their improvements.
Furthermore, NGK organizes a company-wide DR (quality review meeting) for quality issues that are difficult to solve by one division. At this meeting, relevant engineers and experts from across the company discuss broad aspects of issues related to the reliability and safety of products.
We are also deploying the above-mentioned QRE-P approach to facilitate improvement of design level at the pre-DR period as well as to ensure the more effective utilization of organizational knowledge and experience from DRs.
QuiC Activities to Improve Quality with Full Employee Participation
Since 2003, the NGK Group has held QuiC (Quality up innovation Challenge) quality improvement activities in which all employees participate. These activities consist of quality improvement activities by small groups or individuals and suggestions that strive to enhance the quality of production; best practices are then shared by the entire NGK Group. Every July, NGK holds a company-wide contest at its headquarters to highlight examples of outstanding improvement activities with the intent of horizontal expansion throughout the company.
In fiscal 2018, the contest was held twice: once in May and once in July. Continuing from last year, the manufacturing and non-manufacturing divisions' activities were once again held in May and July 2019.
The non-manufacturing divisions' contest began with a keynote speech in the morning, followed in the afternoon by the introduction of eight non-manufacturing practices, including those from two Group companies in Japan. For the manufacturing divisions' contest, 13 practices were introduced, including those from three overseas plants and five Group companies in Japan. Around 600 NGK Group employees and executives attended the competition.
FY2018 suggestion activity participation rate
|Number of suggestions||Approx. 28,000|