Initiatives to Improve Quality

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Basic Philosophy

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD. is working to share and practice the concepts of TQM (Quality Management) in order to become a group company that creates value for all stakeholders and has a system that can respond flexibly and swiftly to change.
Based on our CSR Policy, we have updated NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.’s Corporate Quality Rules and identified the following five areas as the mainstays of total quality management (TQM).

1)Quality assurance

In order to provide products and services that meet the needs of our customers and society, NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD. will establish all operations and guarantee their safety and reliability and promote development activities aimed at creating new value.

2)Daily management

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD. will consider methods and indicators to measure the quality of all our operations and promptly investigate the causes when results that differ from normal are obtained as well as taking countermeasures to maintain and improve quality.

3)Policy management

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD. will further improve and innovate activities to maintain and enhance quality. We will establish strategies and objectives for creating new value for customers and responding to the evolving internal and external business environment and explicitly identify issues and problems that need to be tackled as we work towards achieving our strategies and objectives.

4)Small group improvement activities

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD. will use small group teams to solve the various issues and problems identified through daily management and policy management, thereby developing human resources.

5)Quality control education

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD. will create the understanding and awareness of the mainstays of TQM, which are the prerequisites for maintaining and enhancing quality and activating improvements and innovation and then establish and implement a grade-specific education system.

Running “Quality Activity Events” Year Round

We run quality management events year-round, not only in Japan’s Quality Month which is held every November. Our quality expos are held at all the sites of group companies in Japan and are visited by more than 6,000 employees each year. We established the expos as an opportunity to share our approach to quality as well as the diverse quality-related initiatives in workplaces.

Quality exhibition

We also promote activities to maintain and enhance quality while engaging all employees in a range of events such as raising awareness about quality through collection of quality slogans and attendance of lectures on quality, expansion of QC circle activities through presentation and attendance at lectures including our suppliers at our QC circle workshops, and promotion of problem-solving through inspections by local senior management including overseas business sites.

NGK SPARK PLUG Group QC circle workshops

SDCA Activity

Standardizing our work and operations plays an important role in supporting TQM (quality management). As a manufacturer, we are promoting the manufacturing worksite SDCA (Standardize, Do, Check & Act) activity to stably and reliably conduct daily management at our manufacturing worksites. We are working to improve quality of our manufacturing while being susceptible to any abnormal state in the worksites and maintaining the worksite without muri, muda and mura (unreasonableness, waste and inconsistency) as a daily routine through good communication.

Quality Training Raising the Quality of Our Manufacturing

We are working to develop our human resources as developing things is developing people. We have established fulfilled training programs that include quality control and QC Circle Activities, and many of our employees attend these programs. We are also further strengthening more advanced support activities at sites. We expect that training participants will improve their skills by implementing their techniques through familiar themes in addition to spreading the awareness to the employees around them. We also offer quality training and practical support for problem solving for suppliers so that they provide us with consistently high-quality parts and materials based on continuous quality improvement

Quality Training

QC Circle Activities (Small Group Improvement Activities)

We are implementing QC Circle Activities aimed at advancement of personnel training and workplace capacity by continually solving problems and issues we face in daily work. We call this activity "NQC Activities." (N denotes an initial letter of Nittoku).

Presentation and Sharing of Results of NQC Activities

NQC activities are working to spread and hold improvement activities in domestic offices as well as overseas offices. Since fiscal year 2015, we have invited the best overseas teams to jointly hold a presentation for the best improvement practices at our annual presentations of domestic NQC activities. In 2017, we invited every group from the offices in Siam and other offices in Thailand to improve our group activities through giving direct instruction and supporting their presentation practice. Furthermore, office groups in Thailand won 2nd place for their presentation regarding office improvement at New Born Class in Thailand Quality Prize 2018, which is the largest QC group competition in Thailand. People in all industries participate in Thailand Quality Prize from all over Thailand.

Office groups in Thailand

Measurement Management

Appropriate measurement management in order to obtain reliable measurements is vital in manufacturing.
In order to protect the NGK SPARK PLUG brand, we support our group companies in the way adapted to individual tasks by making importance of measurement known to the entire group.

Expanding measurement management system into NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.

When new products are put to market, we must maintain the same level of the quality of existing products. The same thing can be said when we introduce new equipment internally.
In order to provide value new markets, it’s necessary to nurture personnel assets who are knowledgeable about accurate measurement systems and crisis management, which is why we are in the process of selecting a precise and verifiable measurement system.

Development of Measurement Management System for Group Companies in Japan

We have established the unified criterion for the measurement management system so that such system is implemented at higher operation level. We believe that the unified criterion will lead us to enhancement of quality assurance system. We are performing audits of measurement management systems and confirmation of manufacturing worksite measurement at each company and have been working to unify standards and enhance the quality of frameworks and management.
We will offer the support to voluntary level-up through key person development for the jobsite confirmation and human resource development conducted in each company.

Support of Overseas Group Companies in regard to Measurement

We visit the plants of overseas group companies on a regular basis to support the quality assurance system from the viewpoints of measurement and contribute to the improvement of accuracy and consistency.

[Calibration Certification]

We educate the local people who conduct inspection, calibration and certify them according to the sills they acquire. In order to improve measurement skills and further motivate measurers, we plan to hold a measurement skill competition among factories to upgrade the whole NGK group.

[Measurement management system audit]

In order to check if the right measurement machines are in the right condition, we conduct a measurement management system audit. The in-depth confirmation is intended to further improve measurement management levels directly linked to manufacturing. We will work on localization so that each company is able to perform skill certifications, training, and process confirmations on their own.