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 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.

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Quality ManagementSystems in Each Section Reflect Business Characteristics

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.

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Formulating Three Quality GuidelinesMaintaining Uniform Quality Control from Development to Sales

Undertaking uniform quality control throughout the value chain—from development, manufacturing, and sales—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.
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Preventing Quality FraudImplementing In-house Quality Control Investigations

In light of the frequent occurrence of quality control related fraud from 2017 to 2018 in Japan, Sekisui Chemical implemented an in-house investigation to confirm that our quality data is not fraudulent and that inspection, etc., has not been conducted by uncertified personnel for all products throughout the Group in order to ensure that we do not put the lessons learned by others to waste. As a result, we have confirmed that there are no cases of deficiencies regarding certification of auditors, official certification and quality that hold the risk of violation or fraud.
Sekisui Chemical Group will continue to ensure that the specifications agreed upon with our customers are observed and that we re-instill an awareness of compliance for the purpose of enhancing our quality assurance capability. At the same time, by ensuring the reliability and transparency of inspections, we will continue to implement in-house quality control investigations that extinguish any potential for fraud.

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, 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 2018, 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

Sekisui Chemical Group complies strictly with laws and internal rules relating to the disclosure of product quality and safety.
In fiscal 2018, there were no cases where we violated laws or internal rules related to the disclosure of product quality and safety.Major Initiatives

Major Initiatives

Review of the Quality Management SystemsCertification Migration to the Revised ISO 9001 Standard Completed at All business Sites

During fiscal 2015, ISO 9001 underwent a full-scale revision, and in response, each company and each Group company revised its quality management systems (QMSs) starting in fiscal year 2016 in turn. As a result, all business sites had completed migrating their certification by the migration deadline of September 2018.

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, efficient 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 2018, we held case study meetings for ongoing development themes with the Musashi Plant of the High Performance Plastics Company and the Nara 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 2019.

  • Note: DR: Design Review
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DR Reviewer Training Seminar

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

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 and held several times each year. A total of 53 seminars have been held from the inception of the program in 2001 through the end of fiscal 2018.
With respect to the Basic Qualities lecture in fiscal 2018, Ryutaro Kawano (professor emeritus at Jichi Medical University), Representative and Center Director of the Safety Promotion Research Center, was invited to speak on the theme of the mechanisms that cause human error and their countermeasures. Mr. Kawano provided easy to understand explanations on the importance of assessing the actual conditions and having a scientific understanding when errors occur, as well as on the importance of maintaining a stance whereby we question why we considered something to be correct as an important attribute of error analysis. His talk made for an in-depth seminar that highly satisfied the participants.

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CS & Quality Seminar

Steady Penetration of Manufacturing Education and TrainingImplementing Manufacturing Supervisor Management Skills Investigations

During fiscal 2018, we implemented the Second Manufacturing Supervisor Management Skills Investigation. In order to reflect the results of this investigation into our education and training programs, we implement this investigation once every three years. As a result of comparing the scores received by manufacturing training program participants during the previous and current investigations, we observed positive results of the training, including particular improvements in facility management, production and inventory management, and cost management. However, because the scores did not achieve our expected level for each rank (assistant manager, section chief), we will work to improve the scores received in low-scoring areas though employee rank-based training, etc.

QC CertificationAcquisition of QC Certification*

Sekisui Chemical Group also employs QC Certification effectively to measure levels of quality knowledge, and as of the end of fiscal 2018, over 4,300 members of the Company had attained QC Certification.
Note: 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 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 53rd Sekisui Chemical Group KAIZEN Activities Presentation Meeting held in January 2019, a total of 13 groups (nine from Japan and four from other countries) made presentations. As a result, the sense of representing the Company among the various regions was stronger than ever before. 22 companies made requests in advance to view the proceedings of 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,” “I had a chance to exchange information and opinions with those working at other business sites and companies,” and “I was glad the real-time broadcast did not have any problems with the images and interpretation (business site in China).”

  • * 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. Group KAIZEN Activities on a Global Scale.
Award name Site Group
Gold Prize Iwate Plant, Sekisui Medical Co., Ltd. Yamadori
Silver Prize Shiga-Ritto Plant, Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd. Resi-cons
Bronze Prize Musashi Plant, Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd. PT-D Group
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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), Sekisui Chemical Group is promoting energy innovation activities at its business sites in Japan and overseas 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. These activities are aimed at rethinking the inherent (ideal) role of energy. 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 2018, energy innovation measures that equate to approximately 3.5% of the CO2 emissions generated by Sekisui Chemical Group’s operations were undertaken.

Instilling and Utilizing SPMCActivities for More Effectively Utilizing ISO9001 (QMS)

The 2015 edition of the ISO 9001 standard incorporated ways of thinking based on PDCA cycles and risks for the purpose of enhancing a process approach. In order to address this change, we developed SPMC (SEKISUI Process Management Chart) as a tool for organizing the essential factors for putting a process approach into practice in chart form. We are promoting activities to instill the effective use of QMS and to ensure that SPMC can be applied during internal audits in particular.

Training Content and Details

  • (1)
    Commentary on methods for preparing and applying SPMC (SEKISUI Process Management Chart)
  • (2)
    Commentary and exercises for internal audit procedures using SPMC
Performance Data

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

Other Data

  FY2016 FY2017 FY2018
Number of participants in the Development Risk Prevention Seminar 302 418 502
Number of participants in the DR Reviewer Training Seminar 166 259 283
Participants in employee grade-based training system for managers in
production departments
2,252 2,768 3,174
  FY2016 FY2017 FY2018
Number of people with QC Certification 4,103 4,228 4,337