Within the Kuraray Group, quality management is carried out by implementing quality management systems such as ISO 9001 at each manufacturing site. The divisions have built a mechanism for each of their businesses to supply products that incorporate the requirements of customers. The corporate CSR Division is responsible for implementing and reinforcing quality management within the entire group.
This has been reinforced, since fiscal 2016, by implementing a scheme under which the divisions and the CSR Division together verify the current statuses of and improvements made in quality management at the divisions. In fiscal 2017, this scheme was developed into a PDCA cycle implemented by confirming a company-wide status and carrying out improvement activities in order to address issues derived or newly found in the previous year. In the future, Kuraray aims for improving the quality management within the entire group by continuously rotating the PDCA cycle.
Kuraray’s Approach to Quality
The Kuraray Group’s approach to quality is rooted in the Group Mission “For people and the planet – to achieve what no one else can." It also embodies Our Value “Constant creation of new value” and “Customers’ needs are our top priority” in Corporate Statements, as well as “We will constantly develop and provide safe, high-quality products and services” provided at the top of Our Commitment.
Our products and services can only be beneficial when the values are recognized and accepted by customers. In other words, Kuraray considers that quality is equivalent to “customer satisfaction." In order to be constantly perceived and chosen as a reliable partner by customers, we believe it is essential that all the members engaged in business activities together carry out initiatives to constantly increase customer satisfaction.
Based on this approach, beginning fiscal 2016, the divisions and the CSR Division have together endeavored to improve quality management within the entire group aiming to strengthen quality management constantly.
Quality Assurance Activity
Each department of the Kuraray Group is working on continuous quality improvement through originality and ingenuity to realize “customer satisfaction." For example, the EVAL Division since fiscal 2012 and GENESTAR Division since fiscal 2015 have implemented the “ICS activity” aimed at enhancing customer satisfaction, where members engaged in manufacturing, distribution and development work together to undertake cross-sectional improvement activities.
The group-wide quality management improvement activities undertaken together by divisions and the CSR Division are led by the Quality Assurance and Product Safety Working Team of quality assurance managers who are assigned by each division's general manager. In fiscal 2017, specific quality activities implemented by divisions, trend analysis on company-wide quality complaints, and measures responding to changes in customer requests in the automobile and electrical/electronic industries were shared within the working team, and good practices were actively adopted horizontally. Regarding the prior review of various laws, regulations and standards, as well as safety, concerning the quality of new product development, a matter extracted in fiscal 2016 as a company-wide issue, a check sheet which lists critical confirmation items of new product development, has been developed to enhance quality assurance at the development phase.
Quality Assurance Education
In fiscal 2016, Kuraray Group compiled the Group’s views on quality and issued the Kuraray Group quality handbook. This quality handbook prescribes the following five basic key items commonly applied to all members working for Kuraray:
|1||That everyone participates in striving for quality (participation by everyone)|
|2||That everyone bases his or her conduct on facts (fact-based management)|
|3||That employee conduct conforms to the "Gogen principle" of the genba (actual place), genbutsu (actual products), genjitsu (actual facts), genri (theory), and gensoku (fundamental).|
|4||That employees satisfy the requirements for a given process before going on to the next process (building quality into processes)|
|5||That employees constantly strive to improve quality (continuous improvements)|
In fiscal 2017, the concepts “quality as contemplated by Kuraray” and “quality is customer satisfaction” stressed by the handbook, alongside the key items, were directly reaffirmed by all division members by distributing copies and holding an in-depth tutorial session, to raise their awareness of quality. Moreover, an article titled “Quality as Contemplated by Kuraray” was posted in the company magazine both at home and abroad to make the concept well known to all employees. “Customer satisfaction,” rooted in these five key concepts, continues to be the goal of each individual of the Kuraray Group who works on daily operations.
In addition, as an initiative to educate the members on how quality assurance should be, Kuraray focuses on internal seminars for the purpose of improving the level of managers and personnel engaged in quality assurance. This includes a company-wide seminar held in fiscal 2017 on FMEA (Failure Mode and Effect Analysis), a risk assessment method which is becoming a standard.
Actions to Be Taken in Case of a Product Accident
Within the Kuraray Group, information on complaints and claims received from the customers is managed by its divisions, so responses to customers can be made promptly and action taken swiftly to prevent recurrence of the same flaws. However, actions to be taken regarding material complaints and claims are prescribed by the “Rules-on Product Liability-related Accident Response and Quality Complaint Report.”
On the occurrence of a material product accident, the CSR Division shall immediately report the situation to the management and an administrative agency set forth by law, while establishing the Corporate Emergency Headquarters to take prompt and appropriate action from the customer’s point of view. Moreover, a mechanism to take corrective actions to clarify the cause and prevent recurrence has been established not only for a material product accident which requires an emergency arrangement but also general accidents.
In fiscal 2017, no product recalls or accidents that cause severe damage to health or damage to property such as fire were reported within the Kuraray Group.
Quality management system certifications (as of the end of December 2017)
- (1) ISO9001
- Kuraray Niigata Plant
- Kuraray Kashima Plant
- Kuraray Okayama Plant
- Kuraray Kurashiki Plant, Membrane and Module Production Technology Development Department
- Kuraray Kurashiki Plant, Film Production and Technology Development Department
- Kuraray Kurashiki Plant, Research and Development Division, Functional Products Development Department
- Kuraray Tamashima Co., Ltd. (Ester Plant)
- Kuraray Saijo Plant
- Kuraray Tsurumi Plant
- Kuraray Plastic Co., Ltd. (Ibuki Plant)
- Kuraray Fastening Co., Ltd. (Maruoka Plant)
- Kuraray Engineering Co., Ltd.
- Kuraray Trading Co., Ltd. (Okayama Plant)
- Kuraray Techno Co., Ltd. (Building Management Service Division)
- EVAL Europe NV
- Kuraray Europe GmbH
- Kuraray Europe GmbH Business Area PVB
- Kuraray America,Inc. EVAL BU
- Kuraray America,Inc. Septon BU
- Kuraray America,Inc. PVA Division
- Kuraray America,Inc. PVB Division
- Kuraray America, Inc. Vectran Division
- Kuraray America, Inc. Trading BU
- Kuraray Korea Ltd.
- Kuraray Europe Moravia s.r.o.
- Kuraray Asia Pacific Pte.Ltd.
- MonoSol, LLC
- MonoSol AF, Limited
- Plantic Technologies Limited
* This includes the following group companies which reside within business sites and plants:
Kuraray Saijo Co., Ltd., Kuraray Kuraflex Co., Ltd. (Okayama Plant), Kuraray Okayama Spinning Co., Ltd., Kuraray Techno Co., Ltd.
- (2) ISO13485
- Kuraray Noritake Dental Inc.
- Kuraray Functional Materials Company, Medical Division, Bio Materials Department
- Kuraray Europe Benelux B.V.
- (3) ISO / TS16949, IATF16949
- EVAL Europe NV
- Kuraray Europe GmbH Division Troisdorf
- OOO TROSIFOL
- Kuraray Korea Ltd.