Creating Attractive Products and Services

Advancing the Development of Human Resources, Systems, and a Culture Enabling the Creation of Attractive Qualities

Management Approach

Basic ConceptWe Consider Customer Feedback as the Beginning of Our Manufacturing

With the catchphrase “we consider customer feedback as the beginning of our manufacturing,” the Sekisui Chemical Group is working on building a customer-oriented, free and open-minded organizational culture to create Attractive Qualities that customers will continue to ask for by name.

Major Initiatives

Instilling CS & Quality ManagementBuilding a Mechanism That Will Encourage Concrete Action by Employees to Enhance CS & Quality

As a part of efforts to instill CS & Quality management under the CS & Quality Management Activity Roadmap, the Group reconsidered the questions included in Employee CS & Quality Assessments. Based on the understanding that efforts to promote awareness toward the words and concept had for the most part come to an end by fiscal 2016, the nature and content of questions were revised to encourage concrete action by each and every employee. The Sekisui Chemical Group published a CS & Quality Management booklet summarizing the information required to support concrete action. This booklet has been distributed to Group employees in Japan. A translation is currently underway for distribution to overseas employees in the future.

Measures were implemented to collate the results of Employee CS & Quality Assessments conducted in fiscal 2016. Steps were also taken to promote the sharing of pertinent information including issues and salient points with frontline managers at each business section and to make the most of assessment results at each plant floor.

Measures to Create Attractive QualitiesProviding Products and Services While Enhancing CS Sensitivity

The Sekisui Chemical Group strives to improve the CS sensitivity of individual employees and to build an organizational culture focused on CS, to continue creating Attractive Qualities.

Wakuwaku Chaya Study Groups for CS Culture

Study Groups for CS Culture began as a measure to improve awareness of CS when we realized there was not enough communication across organizational borders in Employee CS & Quality Assessments that were conducted in fiscal 2012. Employees steer their own study groups about how best to improve CS culture and have nicknamed the groups Wakuwaku Chaya. The Sekisui Chemical Group believes that having an organization where employees are able to enjoy and fully engage in work is a shortcut to enhancing its CS culture. Our study groups for CS culture are not meetings or debates, but opportunities for employees to engage in discussions among themselves. In these study sessions, all participants view documentaries about how other companies have promoted CS activities and share their thoughts and feelings with one another about CS. The participants declare action targets during the sessions and take back to their workplaces the knowledge they gained from this dialogue with their peers. Departments that have continued to hold these study groups have witnessed a natural improvement in their CS culture. Energies remain directed toward further advancing Study Groups for CS Culture not only as a forum to reflect on dialogue that promotes mutual understanding, but also as the means to deliberate on future aspirations and scenarios and to enhance employee satisfaction by sharing forward-looking visions.

CS & Quality Seminar

CS & Quality Seminars invite people from a variety of fields outside the Company to give lectures with the intention of improving awareness of CS & Quality. The lectures are split into Attractive Qualities themes about creating attractive quality and Basic Qualities themes to strengthen core quality. A total of 49 seminars have been held from the inception of the program in 2001 through the end of fiscal 2017. Authorities on a variety of themes relating to CS & Quality are invited to speak at each seminar. Among a host of topics, seminars cover instances where efforts aimed at motivating and satisfying employees have led to improved customer services and satisfaction. Seminars are also an opportunity to learn about the planning and development involved in producing hit and long-selling products and a forum through which to exchange views in quality management. Learning from case studies of progressive customer services stories from around the world, employees are able to not only increase their awareness of CS & Quality, but also gain opportunities to pick up the knowledge and wisdom needed to create Attractive Qualities. In this regard, the CS & Quality Seminar is indeed a very interesting event. In fiscal 2017, a total of 327 people participated in four seminars held at Sekisui Chemical's Tokyo Headquarters.

    • Date of seminar: July 3, 2017 Guest speaker: Seiichi Nakazawa, Shikoku Kanzai

      • Theme:
        “Creating an Organization Where Even Gossip is Positive in Nature”
    • Date of seminar: September 4, 2017 Guest speaker: Takumi Matsui, Matsui Service Consulting

      • Theme:
        “From Theory to Practical CS That Drives Business Growth ―The True Significance of CS Activities―”
    • Date of meeting: March 20, 2018 Guest speaker: Toshiya Terasawa, Live Lecturer® Practical Workshop

      • Theme:
        “Teaching Techniques and Live Methods for Public Speaking ― One Secret to Lighting a Fire in the Hearts of Listeners―”

Telephone Service Training / E-Mail Training

We have been conducting telephone service training, intended to improve the level of telephone service, continuously since fiscal 2008. Initially, the telephone service was geared toward the individual purchasing a new home. As such, the target of our training focused on the Housing Company. In fiscal 2011, this was extended to all division companies and then to all Group companies. By the end of fiscal 2017, telephone service training sessions had been held on an aggregate total of 19 times and attended by more than 1,888 employees.

Telephone service training is given to new employees, sales staff and customer service personnel who respond to inquiries by individual and corporate customers. As a new development, we are also providing telephone service training to employees in plant manufacturing divisions with the aim of improving telephone communications internally and externally. We are currently implementing training programs to improve the level of service in e-mail communications and to enhance the telephone answering skills of staff.

In fiscal year 2017, we launched “email training” as an extension of our telephone support training. Employees of the Customer Consultation Office serve as instructors and give visiting lectures on matters including business email etiquette, offering support on how to write in ways that do not confuse customers or leave them with unpleasant impressions.
Additionally, “Email Guidelines,” compiling the materials used in the training into booklet form, were uploaded to the Company intranet as well as added to the existing texts distributed to new Sekisui Chemical Group employees. Thus, the new guidelines are considered to be part of the required business etiquette expected of new employees.

Systems That Evaluate and Improve Attractive Qualities from the Viewpoint of SocietyAttractive Qualities Screening System for Evaluations by Outside Experts

The Sekisui Chemical Group has set up the Attractive Qualities Screening System for evaluating its Attractive Quality products from an external third-party viewpoint, in order to accelerate the creation of attractive qualities. This system has been utilized once every three years since fiscal 2008 and was used for the fourth time in fiscal 2017. Under this screening system, a cumulative total of 13 products have been selected for awards up to fiscal 2017, based on an evaluation of their value proposition for customers and society, in addition to their contributions to sales and profits.
In order to notify Sekisui Chemical Group employees about what concepts and perspectives were used to commercialize award-winning products, the Company’s intranet features The Story of Attractive Qualities, which reveals the secrets behind the development of these products through interviews with those involved. This initiative has made Sekisui Chemical Group employees more motivated to take on the challenge of developing new products despite the various hurdles they may face by providing helpful hints and raising awareness of development initiatives.

Award-winning Products in Fiscal 2017 (Two Products)

  • “Smart Power Station ‘100% Edition’” 100% energy self-sufficient housing
  • “Kucho Hyper CH” high-performance polyethylene tube for air conditioner piping

Systems to Confirm the Degree of Penetration of CS & Quality Management InitiativesExpanding Employee CS & Quality Assessments to Overseas Business Sites

Starting in fiscal 2012, the Sekisui Chemical Group conducts a CS & Quality Assessment (survey) program once every two years for employees in Japan, intended to ascertain the degree to which CS & Quality Management has spread throughout the organization, identify any related issues by measuring employees' awareness of CS & Quality and related activities, and reflecting this information in the code of conduct. More specifically, the survey identifies issues for creating the groundwork for CS & Quality culture, such as by measuring the degree that management’s philosophy and policies have spread throughout the organization, and communications up and down the ranks, across organizations and among members. Thereafter, based on the final report, new action objectives are set for each organizational unit with the aim of gradually fostering a culture of CS & Quality within the Sekisui Chemical Group.

Since fiscal 2015, we have expanded this system to include some overseas business sites. In fiscal 2017, CS & Quality assessments are being conducted at six organizations.

Systems That Use Customer Feedback to Increase CS & QualityImprove the Responsiveness of Customer Consultation Office

The staff of the Customer Consultation Office responds to questions, concerns, opinions, requests, and other inquiries from customers. To provide support that satisfies customers without requiring them to be directed to call the departments responsible for the matters concerned, all employees of the Customer Consultation Office learn about our products and technologies and strive to offer, as much as possible, responses to inquiries at a one-stop shop. Thanks to this initiative, we have received praise from customers concerning calls relating to opinions and requests. In fiscal year 2017, there were 13 such times when praise was received from customers.

Publication of VOICE That Summarizes Customer Feedback

The Sekisui Chemical Group’s Customer Consultation Office receive over 10,000 inquiries and comments every year. The Sekisui Chemical Group directly answers each inquiry and analyzes the factors that motivated the customer to make the inquiry in the first place, in order to discover the hidden needs of customers. Many of these customer inquiries contain requests and ideas for making improvements, such as changing product specifications and increasing the range of variations. By feeding back these customer opinions in the development and production divisions of each internal company, we are able to improve CS & Quality by revising specifications and enhancing catalog markups from the users' perspective.

As a new initiative starting in fiscal 2015, the Group has published VOICE, which is a summary of the inquiries received by Customer Consultation Office. This booklet is published with the aim of reflecting customer feedback in management activities, cultivating and instilling a culture of CS & Quality in all employees, and promoting understanding of these issues in Group-wide businesses in a manner that transcends particular operational areas. The Sekisui Chemical Group aims to improve three qualities (people, frameworks, products and services) based on feedback from customers.

Results of the Customer Satisfaction SurveyConducting a CS Survey

The Sekisui Chemical Group’s Housing Company conducts a CS survey to measure the level of customer satisfaction. Customer feedback gleaned from these surveys is broadly shared throughout the Company and used to improve product development capabilities and the quality of the Group’s services. Details of any customer dissatisfaction are closely assessed. Steps are then taken to make the necessary improvements and to further increase the satisfaction of customers.

Building on these activities, the Housing Company has been working diligently to consistently enhance the satisfaction of its customers. In fiscal 2017, the level of customer satisfaction reached a record-high 76.6%. Looking ahead, we will continue to take seriously the comments of customers and strive to improve our quality and services.

Framework for Employee Activities to Improve CS & QualitySTAR 55 Bulletin Highlights Good Examples of CS & Quality for Group Employees

In 2002, its 55th anniversary, the Sekisui Chemical Group implemented STAR 55 as a program to promote CS throughout the Company. In 2006, we issued the first STAR 55 Bulletin, a newsletter that focuses on CS & Quality with a collection of excellent case studies for CS & Quality for Group employees, with the aim of raising awareness of CS & Quality management. We have continued to publish STAR 55 Bulletin since fiscal 2006, issuing it a total of 36 times by the end of fiscal 2017.The name STAR 55 Bulletin embodies the concept where each employee of the Sekisui Chemical Group is a key player in fostering the Group’s spirit and culture by modifying their behavior to gain customer trust.

  • * Origin of the name:
    STAR 55 Bulletin S = Sekisui,
    T = Trust,
    A = Action,
    R = Revolution,
    STAR = Leader,
    55 = 55th anniversary since founding.

Performance Data

Data Relating to Telephone Support Training

  • Number of Incoming Calls, etc., from Customers

    Indicator Calculation Method
    Number of incoming calls, etc. Number of inquiries by telephone, email, letters, faxes, and other means
  • Telephone Support Training (total number of participants)

Data Relating to Improving the Supporting Capability of the Customer Consultation Office

  • Breakdown of incoming calls (Sekisui Chemical)

    Indicator Calculation Method
    Breakdown of incoming calls ・General inquiries: questions about Sekisui Chemical Group product specifications, how to use products, construction methods, stores selling the products, and related matters
    ・Incidents during which customers expressed their dissatisfaction or lodged rebukes concerning Sekisui Chemical Group products or support
    ・Requests for repairs: Requests for repairs of Sekisui Chemical Group products and calls relating to the repairs hotline
    ・Praise: Calls during which praise was received for satisfaction with the Sekisui Chemical Group's products or support
    ・Needs and expectations: What customers require of Sekisui Chemical Group products and services (product improvements and new products, etc.), and inquiries relating to business activities, or comments on what is expected of Sekisui Chemical Group
    Note: ”Insider Net”: A Sekisui Chemical Group intranet site on which incoming calls to the Customer Consultation Office are released in real-time.
  • CS Questionnaire 7-Step Evaluation (Housing Company)