Improving Quality

Pursuing the “Three Zeros” in Accidents, Waste and Complaints

Management Approach

Basic ConceptOn-site Manufacturing Supports Quality

Recognizing that it is the fields of manufacturing development that support quality, since fiscal 2006 the Sekisui Chemical Group has focused its efforts on innovation in production. Based on its belief that quality defects lead to higher costs arising from handling complaints or increased waste, we are trying to reduce costs by targeting the “three zeros” of accidents, waste, and complaints.

Quality ManagementSystems in Each Section Reflect Business Characteristics

The Sekisui Chemical Group has developed quality control systems covering every process from production to product use by customers. Each section has developed a quality assurance system, and in each process, we promote standards-based controls on a daily basis. In developing products and making improvements to quality, we conduct screening from a variety of perspectives, such as those of quality assurance and safety.

Formulating Three Quality GuidelinesMaintaining Uniform Quality Control from Development to Sales

Undertaking uniform quality control throughout the value chain—from development, manufacturing, and sales—the Sekisui Chemical Group is working to improve the level of its quality control by formulating and issuing three guidelines: Development Guidelines for Strengthening Quality Assurance, Guidelines for Daily Management Activities, and Contract / Specification Guidelines.

Development Guidelines are aimed at preventing Basic Quality-related problems from occurring by predicting quality risks that can arise after commercialization. Guidelines for Daily Management Activities are a collection of basic guides to management on a daily basis that must be undertaken in manufacturing and post-development processes. Contract / Specification Guidelines were added in fiscal 2015 with the aim of reducing expanded compensation* risks 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.

Product SafetyCompliance 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, the 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 2017, there were no cases where we violated laws or internal rules related to product safety.

Products Information Disclosure and LabelingCompliance with Laws and Internal Rules Relating to Product Information Disclosure

The Sekisui Chemical Group complies strictly with laws and internal rules relating to the disclosure of product quality and safety.

In 2017, there were no cases where we violated laws or internal rules related to the disclosure of product quality and safety.

Major Initiatives

Review of the Quality Assurance SystemOver 70% of Business Sites Have Transitioned to the Revised ISO 9001 Standard

During fiscal year 2015, ISO 9001 underwent a full-scale revision, and in response, each Company and each group company has been revising its quality management systems (QMSs) since fiscal year 2016. As of the end of fiscal year 2017, over 70% of total business sites had migrated their quality management systems to the revised ISO 9001 standard.

Design and Development SeminarsDevelopment Risk Prevention Seminar and DR* Reviewer Training Seminar

Continuing from fiscal 2013, we held the Development Risk Prevention Seminar aimed at acquiring effective prevention methods as well as the DR Reviewer Training Seminar to improve the skills of people who conduct DRs. Both seminars are based on the topic of preventing quality problems before they arise.

In fiscal 2017, we held meetings to consider specific examples where risks were prevented before they occurred at four locations: the Tsukuba Site of the Housing Company; the Minakuchi Plant of the High Performance Plastics Company, the Ritto Plant and the Gunma Plant of the Urban Infrastructure & Environmental Products Company. We reconfirmed the importance of predicting and identifying risks to quality by focusing on points of change with existing products. We plan to hold these seminars again in fiscal 2018.

  • DR: Design Review
  • DR Reviewer Training Seminar

  • Development Risk Prevention Seminar

CS & Quality SeminarCS & Quality Seminar: Basic Qualities Edition Held during Quality Month

Since fiscal 2011 the CS & Quality Seminar: Basic Qualities Edition has been held during Quality Month every November with the goal of raising the level of Basic Qualities throughout the entire Sekisui Chemical Group.

In fiscal 2017, Dr. Satoko Tsuru, Specially Appointed Professor, Healthcare Social System Engineering Laboratory, School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo was invited to speak on the theme of service quality in the manufacturing industry focusing on the objectives and standardization of service excellence. Many of the people who attended the lecture commented favorably on the insight gained of the global trend toward service standardization led by Germany as well as activities in Japan. Others were impressed by the easy-to-understand examples of elderly housing with healthcare and supportive services.

CS & Quality Seminar

Steady Penetration of Manufacturing Education and TrainingRebuilding Our Manufacturing Education System

Since fiscal 2013, the Sekisui Chemical Group has been rebuilding its employee grade-based training system for managers in production departments in order to spread knowledge of manufacturing throughout all levels, and to pass down the expertise of veteran technicians to younger employees. We offer 15 courses in the three fields of technical skills, human skills and conceptual skills. A cumulative total of 2,768 employees had participated in courses up to fiscal 2017.

QC CertificationAcquisition of QC Certification*

The Sekisui Chemical Group also employs QC Certification effectively to measure levels of quality knowledge, and as of the end of fiscal 2017, over 4,200 members of the Company had attained QC Certification.

  • 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.
  • Note: Figures show the total number of employees who have acquired QC Certification levels 1 through 3

Group KAIZEN Activities on a Global ScaleHolding the Group KAIZEN Activities Award / Presentation Meeting Annually

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. These activities have a track record of more than 50 years. They are underway at numerous business sites in Japan and around the world, centered on production companies. Once a year in January, presentations are made by the representative group in each area - Japan, North America / Mexico, China, Europe, and Asia / Oceania - to share information and foster mutual improvement.

In the 52nd Sekisui Chemical Group KAIZEN Activities Presentation Meeting held in January 2018, a total of 13 groups (nine from Japan and four from other countries) made presentations. As a result, the sense of representing the Company as a whole was stronger than ever before. 15 companies made requests in advance to view the proceedings of the Sekisui Chemical Group KAIZEN Activities Presentation Meeting in real-time, and the event was broadcast to their offices as requested. This meeting has become a valuable opportunity to deepen our employee’s understanding of improvement activities, which was underscored by participants’ statements such as, “I was able to hear more details about the content presented,” and “I had a chance to exchange information and opinions with those working at other business sites and companies.”

  • * 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
Award name Site Group
Gold Prize Shiga Minakuchi Plant, Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd. Metaboslim
Silver Prize Kyushu Sekisui Industry Co., Ltd. Harada Electric Team
Bronze Prize Tokuyama Sekisui Co., Ltd. SBS

Representatives who Participated in the KAIZEN Activities Presentation Meeting

Efforts to Reduce Energy ConsumptionImproving Production Process Quality by Reducing Energy Use

With the intention of creating products with superior quality at a proper price (reduce loss-related costs), the Sekisui Chemical Group is promoting energy innovation activities as a part of its production processes in order to improve quality in line with its mission of helping customers achieve their green procurement standards. Energy innovation activities extend not only to each of the Group’s site in Japan, but also overseas.

In addition to reducing energy consumption compared with prevailing levels, we are also rethinking the basic way that energy should be used in the future. Aiming to consume the least amount of energy necessary, we are reassessing each production process at the design stage to cut projected energy loss.

In fiscal 2017, energy innovation measures that equate to 2.3% of the CO2 emissions generated by the Sekisui Chemical Group’s operations were undertaken.

Response to the Updated ISO 9001 Standard Implemented Training in Response to the 2015 Update of the ISO 9001 Standard

The 2015 edition of the ISO 9001 standard is characterized by its adoption of processes and approaches that incorporate ways of thinking based on PDCA cycles and risks. To engage in quality assurance in compliance with the changes to the standard, training sessions explaining the 2015 edition of ISO 9001, primarily targeting internal auditors, were held at a total of 19 business sites within Japan.

Training Content and Details

  • 1)

    Commentary and explanation of the key points of the update

    • Enhanced requirements
      Process approach and top management leadership / change control
    • Additional requirements
      Approach based on organizational conditions and risks / performance evaluation and improvement / knowledge of human error measures and organization
  • 2)
    Commentary on case studies of SEKISUI Process Management Chart (SPMC) application methods that meet the requirements of ISO 9001, 2015 version and that serve as a practical management tool that is consistent with actual business activities
Performance Data

Business Sites That Have Received Third-party Certification for Their Quality Management Systems

Other Data

  FY2016 FY2017
Number of participants in the Development Risk Prevention Seminar 302 418
Number of participants in the DR Reviewer Training Seminar 166 259
Participants in employee grade-based training system for managers in production departments 2,252 2,768
  FY2016 FY2017
Number of people with QC Certification 4,103 4,228