Sustainability

Creation of Quality

Quality-Related Education

In order to facilitate greater product value and to better meet the expectations of customers, the NGK Group provides employees with quality-related education focused on acquiring skills that can be used to incorporate specific customer needs into new products.
NGK, along with other Group companies, is continuously working to improve quality management system (QMS) training, which incorporates real-life topics into practical training and the promotion of operational improvement measures.

Quality-Related Education in FY2019

Program name Number of days and participants Objective
QCI 3-day lecture, 1 consultation session, 1-day report session, total approx. 40 days; 51 manufacturing staff members in their 3rd year and 80 mid-career hires Perform data-based decision-making and QC7 tools exercises; carry out QC story-guided problem-solving procedures
QCI Training for Group Companies 2-day lecture, 3-day consultation session, 1-day report session, total 11 days: 8 people in total QCI level problem-solving practical training implemented by NGK
Quality Basic II 4-day lecture, 3 guidance sessions, 1-day report session, total approx. 45 days; 62 engineering staff members in their 3rd year + 2 Group company staff members Outside and in-house instructors provide instruction in statistical approaches to quality control and oversee exercises in applying them to business task-specific problem-solving
Learning from Failure and Methods of Creation 1.5-day lecture, 4-day exercise, 1-day presentation session, total 6.5 days; total of 155 participants

Lecture and exercises that teach analysis and application skills useful for learning from failure

Supplemental special lecture focused on common examples of organizational failure provided in order to facilitate reorientation in thinking among management

Prevention Training 1.5-day lecture;
total of 16 participants

Develop an understanding of product liability laws, including how such laws have been applied in specific B2B cases

Understand basic approaches to preventive action and recurrence prevention; understand risk elimination procedures

Issue examination and discussion: 0.5 days × 4 groups;
total of 20 participants
Operational systems improvement training based on participants' work challenges and aimed at stimulating prevention activities
QMS Training Lecture on ISO/IATF standards: 1 day for each;
total of 340 participants
Develop an understanding of the intent and key requirements of standards
Lecture on ISO/IATF standards: 2 days for each;
total of 122 participants
Cultivate and certify internal quality auditors
Strengthening internal auditing capability: 1 day;
38 participants
Building up process auditing ability for improved QMS effectiveness and greater quality compliance awareness
VDA6.3 process auditing: 1 day; 33 participants Develop an understanding of process auditing required by VDA standards

Points of Strengthening Quality-Related Education

QMS Training

We provide training aimed at helping personnel be able to more effectively capitalize on internal audits and, thereby, improve the effectiveness of quality management systems and increase awareness and knowledge of quality compliance. In fiscal 2019, we worked together with outside instructors to prepare skills enhancement courses tailored to internal auditors within the NGK Group, and, based on the positive response received from course participants, we will continue to develop them further.

77 Employees Pass Self-Maintenance Expert Test (Grade 1: 31 Employees, Grade 2: 46 Employees)

Seventy-seven manufacturing division and engineering center employees who are engaged in NGK's voluntary maintenance activities passed the Self-Maintenance Expert Test (Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance) conducted in October (Grade 1: 31 employees, Grade 2: 46 employees). This qualification is given to those who possess a broad range of knowledge and skills necessary concerning quality management, safety, and machinery maintenance, and are certified to have the ability of planning and implementing voluntary maintenance activities and giving instruction. NGK will continue to encourage employees to acquire such qualifications in order to improve quality management capabilities at manufacturing sites.

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 2019, the contest was held over two days, and was divided between manufacturing and non-manufacturing divisions.
For the manufacturing division contest, 13 practices were introduced, including those from six Group companies in and outside Japan. The non-manufacturing division contest began with a keynote speech in the morning about how to create a “self-propelled” organization. This was followed in the afternoon by the introduction of eight non-manufacturing practices, including those from three Group company teams. Around 700 NGK Group employees and executives attended the competition.

Suggestion Activity Participation Rate

FY2017 FY2018 FY2019
Manufacturing divisions 98% 100% 98%
Non-manufacturing divisions 93% 92% 85%
Clerical divisions - - 60%
Number of suggestions Approx. 38,000 Approx. 28,000 Approx. 29,000

Sending Award Recipients and Outstanding Proposal Commendation Recipients to Training in and outside Japan

Training at a Group Company outside Japan

From the end of October to the beginning of November, four fiscal 2018 QuiC Outstanding Proposal Commendation recipients and two fiscal 2019 QuiC Grand Prize recipients visited NGK Group company ACE in Belgium. There, the visitors and local employees presented and discussed best practices and mutually reinforced the importance of pursuing operational improvement.

Training in Japan

In late December, six fiscal 2018 Outstanding Proposal Commendation recipients and 13 fiscal 2018 QuiC Excellence Award and Special Award recipients visited Okinawa to attend a nationwide QC Circle Conference and participate in discussion sessions about the differences between NGK and other companies, among other topics.

Quality Activities at Production Bases outside Japan

From their inception, production bases outside Japan have created quality systems appropriate to their situations and acquired ISO 9001 or IATF 16949 certification.
Monthly reports from each base regarding customer complaints and the status of manufacturing quality are discussed at quality activity meetings, enabling the entire NGK Group to evaluate the quality status in a timely manner. Moreover, quality activity rules and annual quality objectives are distributed in an attempt to develop and enhance quality activities.

Strengthening Quality Education at Production Bases outside Japan

In fiscal 2019, quality compliance-related education seminars were held at six NGK Group companies in the U.S. as part of quality of operation activities focused on maintaining and improving the operational systems that are in place to ensure that promises made to customers are fulfilled.
The issue of the NGK Group’s non-conformity in delivery testing procedure of insulators, along with the initiatives undertaken and rules put in place in response, was presented to the attendees in order to foster greater understanding of, and recognition about the importance of, quality compliance.

Expanding Improvement Activities to Production Bases outside Japan

The NGK Group is working to expand improvement activities to production bases outside Japan.
For the overseas training in 2019 we visited Group company ACE in Belgium and implemented the following:

  • Team discussion and a presentation to local staff on the topic of “What is ‘improvement’?—proposals and small groups”
  • Toured the factory with local staff and discussed how to identify problems and solve them
  • Presented examples of improvement
Members of a visiting group company, Belgium's ACE, holding discussions to expand improvement activities.