SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group recognizes that it is the fields of manufacturing development that support quality and, in turn, emphasizes adhering to quality compliance.
Basic ConceptAdhering to Quality Compliance
SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group emphasizes quality compliance. Surmising that risks of quality irregularities and data falsification can occur as a result of insufficient investment in improving quality and various types of pressure from supply chains, the Group set about eradicating the root causes of such risks. To this end, beginning in 2020, we have been building a new quality management system (QMS) as well as digitalizing and reinforcing quality data.
Quality ManagementBuilding Quality Assurance Systems that Reflect Business Characteristics
SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group has built quality assurance systems that extend across all processes, from product development to design, production and sales.
We have developed a quality assurance system for each process and promote standards-based controls on a daily basis. At the same time, we recognize that it is the fields of manufacturing development that support quality and focus our efforts on innovation in production activities. In developing products and making improvements to quality, we conduct strict design screening from a variety of perspectives, such as those of quality assurance and safety.
In addition, we have established a system that enables maintenance and management of after-sale services for customers.
Rebuilding of the Quality Management Systems
We developed an original management sheet, which we dubbed the SEKISUI Process Management Chart (SPMC), in order to strengthen our process approach when promoting certification under the 2015 ISO 9001 standard. The SPMC provides an overview of the management flows of those processes, making it an effective tool in monitoring daily management, promoting corrective action as well as internal audits, and other activities including quality education.
In fiscal 2020, we produced explanatory videos as well as conducted hands-on training to improve the quality of internal audits in an effort to increase SPMC activities.
Every effort will continue to be made to promote the understanding and penetration of the SPMC and to pursue activities aimed at improving operating levels.
Formulating Quality Guidelines
Undertaking uniform quality control throughout the value chain—from product development to design, production, sales, and after-sales services—SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group is working to improve the level of its quality control in each process by formulating and issuing the following three guidelines.
The Development Guidelines for Strengthening Quality Assurance are aimed at preventing quality-related problems by predicting quality risks that can arise after commercialization. The Guidelines for Daily Management Activities are a collection of basic guides to routine management that must be followed in manufacturing.
The Contract / Specification Guidelines aim to reduce the risk of expanded compensation* related to product sales.
- Expanded compensation: Customers compensation in the case of product defects that extend beyond returns and exchanges to include compensation for processing / construction / items made with these products, and other related damage.
Fiscal 2020 Results
In fiscal 2020, two major quality issues (as defined by individual standards of divisional company) occurred*1. As a result, external failure costs*2 increased 25% compared with fiscal 2016. Focusing on strengthening Group-wide quality assurance systems and on design/development processes, we will promote the application of development risk prevention methods (such as FMEA and DRBFM*3) to reduce external failure costs.
The rate of application of development risk prevention methods in fiscal 2020 was 94%.
*1Major quality issues: Problems related to product and service quality that could cause significant damage to customers, society, or SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group if not thoroughly resolved on an urgent basis.
*2External failure costs: Costs arising from responding to product-related complaints.
*3FMEA: Failure Mode and Effects Analysis
DRBFM: Design Review Based on Failure Mode (a preventive approach in which problems in new designs are discovered and solved by focusing on points of modification and change)
Initiatives to Prevent Quality Data Irregularities and Falsification
SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group is putting into place a system and framework for the thorough prevention of data irregularities and falsification based on the new CS & Quality Medium-term Plan, which launched in fiscal 2020.
In fiscal 2020, SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group took steps to ensure the reliability and transparency of data particularly regarding product inspections and drafting of reports in order to ensure that the specifications agreed upon with our customers are observed. In addition, we are developing systems and revamping daily management work to make data input errors and falsification impossible, while focusing our efforts on digitizing and using inspection data.
SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group will continue to implement enhance internal quality control to ensure that the group re-instill an awareness of compliance for the purpose of enhancing its quality assurance capability and extinguishing any potential for fraud.
Compliance with Laws and Internal Rules for Product Safety
When a legal violation related to product safety becomes known internally or is pointed out from external sources, SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group rapidly discloses information about the incident and moves quickly to discover the cause and prevent a reoccurrence. This is also true if internal rules and standards for product safety have not been followed.
In fiscal 2020, there were no cases where we violated laws or internal rules related to product safety.
Design and Development SeminarsConducting Training Focused on Preventing Quality-related Problems
SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group holds a number of seminars on the theme of preventing quality problems. Development Risk Prevention Seminars aim to teach effective and efficient prevention methods. The DR Reviewer Training Seminars are held to improve the skills of employees who conduct DRs*1, while the QFD*2 Seminars are conducted to teach methods of organizing information on product development.
In fiscal 2020, we changed our method of conducting seminars, shifting from group, in-person training to online training in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some view online training as a better approach, mainly because it makes travel unnecessary while still enabling discussions with members from other business facilities. We plan to continue holding these seminars in fiscal 2021.
- DR：Design Review
- QFD：Quality Function Deployment
DR Reviewer Training Seminar
Acquisition of QC Certification*
SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group employs QC Certification effectively to measure employees’ levels of knowledge of quality control. As of the end of fiscal 2020, 4,571*2 members of the Group had attained QC Certification.
- A certification system conducted by the Japanese Standards Association and the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers and certified by the Japanese Society for Quality Control.
- Figures show the total number of employees who have acquired QC Certification levels 1 through 3
Group KAIZEN Activities on a Global ScalePublishing Guidelines on Group KAIZEN Activities in Accordance with the Long-term Plan
Group KAIZEN Activities are an initiative in which employees in each workplace form small groups to address various topics such as improvements in quality and productivity and increasing operational efficiency, and to take on various subjects through policy management. In particular, they are underway at numerous business sites in Japan and around the world, centered on production companies. These activities have a track record of more than 50 years in SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group.
We intend to extend Group KAIZEN Activities beyond measures to enhance manufacturing to date to develop people as well. To this end, we published the Group KAIZEN Activities Guidelines and Group KAIZEN Activities Manual in fiscal 2020 with the purpose of developing into an organization in which each employee can grow and strive. SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group employees in Japan and overseas can access these documents anytime via the intranet and SEKISUI Communication.
In addition, we have held briefings and workshops on Group KAIZEN Activities Guidelines mainly at domestic business facilities in an effort to create study opportunities to examine issues facing each business facility and mutually showcasing activity examples.
In the past, presentations on Group KAIZEN Activities had been conducted each January by representative groups from Japan, North America / Mexico, China, Europe and Asia / Oceania. These events were cancelled in fiscal 2020 with a view to preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, to keep the light of Group KAIZEN Activities glowing, we are continuing to implement these activities daily, including holding online presentations in certain areas and business facilities.
Note: Group KAIZEN Activities:Activities that began in 1966 as Quality Control (QC) groups and later evolved into small group activities before taking the form they have today.
Creating a Design Screening Platform for New Businesses
Sekisui Chemical has created a Gate Review (GR)* platform to perform strict design screenings when new businesses are launched and in fiscal 2020 began operating it on a trial basis. GR clarifies discussion points during design screenings by introducing a design check sheet to highlight perspectives that should be considered during the design phase. In addition, we introduced the External Expert Review aimed at gaining insights from internal and external experts as a source of initial design input in such areas as new business fields and legal regulations.
* Gate Review (GR):A continuous activity to judge whether or not to proceed to the next step (checkpoint management feature).
Business Sites That Have Received Third-party Certification for Their Quality Management Systems
Data Concerning Major Quality Issues
Number of Major Quality Issues
|Major Quality Issues||These refer to product and service quality issues determined by Headquarters or the divisional company presidents, based on evaluations and judgments by the quality assurance manager, which could cause significant damage to customers, society, or SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group and lead to the loss of society’s trust in the Group if not thoroughly resolved on an urgent basis including:
1) Major incidents
(1) Of the accidents that threatened user lives or lead to bodily harm, those in which the harm is serious.
(2) Product loss or destruction incidents for which there is a risk of severe or fatal user injuries
2) Problems which have serious impacts (cause serious loss) to customers, users, or society
3) Compliance (such as complying with related laws and regulations) problems related to product or service quality
4) Product recall problems
Data Concerning External Failure Costs
External Failure Costs
Indicator Calculation Method External failure costs Costs arising from responding to product-related complaints
|FY 2016||FY 2017||FY 2018||FY 2019||FY 2020|
|Number of participants in the Development Risk Prevention Seminar (cumulative total)||302||418||502||555||604|
|Number of participants in the DR Reviewer Training Seminar (cumulative total)||166||259||283||296||349|
|Number of participants in the QFD Seminar (cumulative total)||-||-||31||90||188|
|FY 2016||FY 2017||FY 2018||FY 2019||FY 2020|
|Number of people with QC Certification||4,103||4,228||4,337||4,626||4,571|