Initiatives to Improve Quality
NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD. shares the concepts of TQM (Total Quality Management) and practices by identifying the following five areas as the mainstays of TQM 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.
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.
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.
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 in order to maintain and improve our whole group’s awareness of quality. In fiscal 2018, focusing on fostering employees capable of performing quality activities, we nurtured employees who can play an active role in their workplace and provided an opportunity for raising awareness to improve the organizational quality capabilities.
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, as well as expansion of QC circle activities through presentation and attendance at lectures.
We promote company-wide on-site SDCA (Standardize, Do, Check & Act) activities to ensure stable and reliable daily management at manufacturing sites.
We share excellent activities which handle problems and issues specific to each manufacturing sectors in the SDCA Activity Briefing Meeting and works to further improve our daily management.
Quality Training Raising the Quality of Our Manufacturing
Based on our belief, "Manufacturing is fostering people", we provide training to our employees and many employees are involved in a variety of educational programs including quality control and QC circle activities.
In fiscal 2018, we provided the required training for engineers involved bringing our products to life to acquire practical skills for quality management methods and learn how to think and proceed with production. We also hold practical training sessions as needed to help trainees learn practical skills using the subjects familiar to them and directly teaching about quality control methods. Both aim to improve the overall quality of the product by increasing all engineers' knowledge and practical skills in quality management techniques.
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.
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
We are currently expanding production and fostering employees overseas in order to continually manufacture products which meet our customer's needs overseas.
Among them, NGK SPARK PLUGS (INDIA) PVT. LTD., where the production of both spark plugs and sensors are expected to increase, has started activities to improve quality capabilities as an organization by nurturing people who take initiatives on-site through small group improvement activities (QC circle activities) and quality education activities.
In March 2019, we held the first QC Circle Presentation at NGK SPARK PLUGS (INDIA) PVT. LTD. Many staff members attended and the plant manager gave a commemorative award to the presentation group.
In Japan, we are increasing the number of certified QC circle instructors. There are currently 11 qualified instructors. Practical guidance by QC circle instructors improves the quality of the NGK SPARK PLUG Group's QC circle activities. As a result of these efforts, a total of 15 circles from NGK SPARK PLUG Group presented their results at external contests in fiscal 2018, and 7 of them won top prizes. The award increases motivation and encourages further QC circle activities.
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.
Measurement management system audits and on-site confirmations are conducted among our group companies in order to unify standards and improve system quality and management. We also train key personnel at each group company so that they can train others who will then improve their skills on their own.
Expanding Measurement Technology and Techniques to Overseas Group Companies
We are deploying technologies and educational tools that we have cultivated in Japan to overseas group companies, training employees involved in inspection and calibration and certifying their skills. We are also working to improve the accuracy and stability of our measurement technologies by developing calibration technologies so that new measurement technologies can be calibrated at overseas group companies.