Sustainability

Creation of Quality

Customer and Quality

Guided by the Corporate Philosophy, which puts customers first, the NGK Group considers the provision of products and services that contribute to a better social environment to be one of its most important missions in an effort to create quality from the customer's perspective.

Basic Approach

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 2020

In fiscal 2019, we further built upon the quality of operation*1 initiatives begun in the previous fiscal year by instituting training aimed at boosting senior management’s awareness, as well as strengthened the system to reflect contractual specifications into operations. These initiatives have led to continued improvement in quality of operation among NGK’s various business divisions and to more widespread adoption of quality of operation improvement activities.
In fiscal 2020, we expanded the scope of training aimed at boosting managers’ awareness to also include section managers and supervisors. We also made a concerted effort to foster an environment where employees are encouraged to voice their concerns.
With regard to product quality, we are working to strengthen business department-led implementation of ongoing QRE-P*2 efforts.
Additionally in fiscal 2020, we sought to ensure that organizational culture reforms take hold by establishing quality objectives, which promote problem awareness and place positive value on problem identification.

  • Quality of operation: Level of operational systems that are in place to ensure that promises made to customers are fulfilled.
  • 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.
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 “quality of operation” as well as “product quality”.
As a result of crisis management revisions implemented in fiscal 2020, in the event that a serious quality issue arises that involves legal, ethical, or other such concerns, it will be dealt with by the Quality Committee Chair in conjunction with the relevant committee. 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.

Quality Activity System

The quality activity system can be roughly divided into two systems: a group-wide system centered on the Quality Committee, and business division internal activity systems carried out by each business division.

Acquisition of ISO 9001 or IATF 16949 Certification

FY2015 FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019
Percentage of ISO 9001 certified sites (%, Group) 100 100 97 97 97

Note: NGK Ceramics (Thailand) Co., Ltd. has been preparing to obtain certification since fiscal 2017.

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.

Four Rules for Quality Activities

Seeking Greater Effectiveness from Quality Activities and Innovation in Operational Procedures

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 2019, we added Guidelines for Quality Risk Prevention in New Product Development to the company-wide regulations in order to better facilitate quality risk elimination during new product development by the Research and Development Division and others. Two quality assurance review meetings were held in accordance with these guidelines. The findings of not only the developer but also those of numerous experts were collected, so that robust discussion about quality risk elimination could be carried out prior to the product being used on the market.
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.

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.
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.

Flow of DR activities. Based on the DR (design review) guidelines, the designer carefully studies the design of products and processes, discusses and deliberates at the DR site, and eliminates product quality risks.