Our commitment to quality
Quality is one of our basic corporate principles
“Quality First” is one of AISIN Group’s basic corporate principles. We believe that one of the most crucial requirements for staying in business is increasing the quality of our products and our work in every way we can, and all of our employees work together with a customer-first mindset under management policies aiming to improve the framework of our company and TQM (total quality management) practices.
To define this principle in more specific terms, the 4th All-AISIN TQM Conference was held in FY2019. Attended by 489 people including the top management of each company, the conference instilled a thorough awareness of quality in every attendee.
In FY2019, “Top Prioritization of Safety and Compliance and Quality First.” became a universal principle at the foundation of AISIN Group’s management policies.
Global, group-wide activities to put customers first
With the automotive industry experiencing the biggest period of change in 100 years, customers’ attitudes about quality and approaches to quality assurance are changing. In April 2017, AISIN Group established the All-Aisin Quality Assurance Center. A new group quality policy was established at the beginning of the year to set a single, common direction for all of the companies in AISIN Group. To prevent quality issues from occurring, AISIN Group is seeking to share experience and know-how among group companies and developing mechanisms to make effective use of their equipment and human resources. In 2019, we established and began using an all-AISIN system for autonomous auditing of special processes.
Aisin Seiki is engaged in global quality assurance activities to improve quality, with the company’s head office working in collaboration with counterparts in each region, mainly Overseas Regional Quality Improvement Committees in North America, Europe, Australasia, China, India and South America. Moreover, QA (Quality Analysis) centers in North America, Australasia and China are driving the development of local employees who are able to perform swift and effective quality analyses.
Making sure the same failures do not happen again
In April 2016, AISIN Group established the Quality Learning Zone for the purpose of learning from past failures. In July 2018, AISIN Group installed a “tunnel for learning how scary quality problems can be” based on the theme of knowing and feeling the importance of quality at a company, to further improve quality awareness. AISIN Group also plans to create a new simulator, present feedback from people who have experienced quality issues in the past and hold various exhibitions of expertise gained from past faults and defects at various group companies.
Raising awareness of quality with involvement from all employees
AISIN Group companies conduct QC circle activities that engage all personnel in each workplace, and activities to propose innovative improvement ideas to achieve higher product quality and work quality. Our companies also promote employee development through these activities.
There are now a total of 2,677 QC circle groups around the world. After a selection process at regional conferences, the outcomes of the successful circles are announced at the Global QC Circle Conference. In FY2019, a total of 206 members from 47 group companies in 14 countries participated in Aisin Seiki’s conference and passionately reported on their activities. Our activities to propose innovative improvement ideas have also been a success—AISIN Group remains at the highest level in terms of the number of awards for the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Awards recognizing outstanding examples of improvement.
Developing professionals in quality
AISIN Group promotes the nurturing of quality professionals capable of using statistical quality control (SQC) methods in their work, and encourages employees throughout the group to attain QC certification (levels 1-4) issued by the Japanese Standards Association. By the end of fiscal 2019, 31,339 employees from the 13 main group companies had acquired the certification. To cultivate scientific problem-solving capabilities, AISIN Group is promoting the practical use of a fact- and data-based scientific approach by conducting training in SQC methods and sharing information on examples of improvements.
Initiatives to ensure reliability
AISIN Group thoroughly surveys how our products are used to increase the level of our performance evaluations and ensure safe and reliable products as a result.
To ensure the reliability of our automotive parts, AISIN Group operates three large-scale proving grounds, where we conduct repeated adaptability tests using actual vehicles from the standpoint of actual users. The test tracks at the proving grounds have been updated to recreate various road conditions around the world, enabling us to reflect changes in the marketplace. We also repeat tests across the world based on stringent conditions that accurately reflect different natural environments and ways in which vehicles are used in different countries, and incorporate our findings into quality assurance and improvement of evaluation technologies.
In FY2019, Aisin Seiki and Aisin AW adopted five vibration testing machines that can withstand vibration between 35 and 125kN/G, enabling timely improvements in initiatives to improve our strength evaluations, strength models and simulations for products such as our panoramic sunroof and automatic transmissions. We plan to strengthen these functions even more in future to accelerate our development of CASE technology.
Young engineers who are leading the evolution of evaluation technology
The young engineers in our Reliability Technology Department make challenges in new areas and work continuously to develop next-generation technologies. At Toyokoro Proving Ground, with the cooperation of experts from Toyohashi University of Technology, young engineers who have studied precision measurement techniques evaluate their own ideas from a user standpoint in view of multiple aspects. Although they sometimes face difficult issues, they work to expedite the development of next-generation products by acquiring new evaluation technologies, with a strong sense of mission that they themselves must “lead next-generation development.”
Responding to customers
AISIN Group takes feedback from customers seriously. To facilitate and respond to customer feedback, we organize large exhibitions featuring examples of our excellent quality, and have set up permanent booths to handle complaints from customers. For lifestyle-related products, we have renewed our telephone response system and improved workability for the operators. All of the operators are working to obtain Level 2 certification in the “Moshi Moshi” proficiency test, which tests an employee’s skills in handling telephone calls.
Developing human resources and systems from a consumer-oriented perspective
Our Customer Support Department works to ascertain information on the latest revisions to relevant laws and regulations, such as the Act Against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations and the latest trends at the Consumer Affairs Agency, and incorporates this information into internal education and training programs. In its screenings of user manuals and sales promotion tools, the department seeks to improve and enhance the content of its screenings by obtaining overseas-oriented screening know-how, and by preparing and distributing glossaries for preventing proofreading errors. In fiscal 2019, the department clarified key screening points in order to respond better to the increase in the number of sales promotion tools utilizing web and video-based approaches. There are currently 30 employees in AISIN Group who hold lifestyle advisor qualifications. These employees work to build connections between consumers and the company. AISIN Group will continue to support employees taking examinations to obtain these qualifications in fiscal 2020.
Aisin Densho-kan (Educational Center) is a place for all AISIN Group employees to learn about workplace safety and disaster-prevention initiatives and unfiltered feedback received from customers. The center also picks up lessons from past incidents and passes on valuable insights gained from problems that have occurred in the past to foster an awareness of quality and improve the caliber of our work. For example, the Kumamoto Earthquakes Learning Zone is an educational space for ensuring that insights and lessons learned from AISIN Group’s responses to the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes are properly passed on our employees. This zone features easy-to-understand exhibits designed to increase awareness about disaster prevention and readiness by presenting efforts made from directly after the occurrence of the disaster until recovery, along with impressing upon employees the importance of initiatives to reduce earthquake damage.
*Aisin Densho-kan is not open to the general public.