For customer peace of mind and satisfaction, we understand customers’ needs and concerns, and help customers solve various issues and realize their dreams by providing high-quality products and services. The Meiden Group strives to be trusted and depended on by customers and society.
Under Medium-term Management Plan 2020, we will promote initiatives to improve quality with the quantitative target of reducing the number of defects and the cost of rectifying defects by half in comparison with 2017 results and contribute to increased profits by increasing customer satisfaction and reducing unnecessary costs.
Under the direction of the President, who is our chief executive officer, and the Executive Committee, the head of the Quality Control Management Unit (Director and Senior Managing Executive Officer, Norio Takekawa) oversees quality management for the whole Meiden Group. The quality assurance (QA) promotion system comprises the General Manager of the Quality Control Management and Remote Monitoring Service Division, who is responsible for promoting quality at a company-wide level, and members under the direction of the quality assurance managers of each business unit. We conduct activities such as sharing quality information and roll-out of policies to other business units at meetings of the Company-wide Quality Assurance Meeting and each business unit’s Quality Assurance Meeting, etc.
Quality Assurance System
The Meiden Group conducts initiatives in each business unit for quality assurance and quality improvement according to the President’s Quality Management Policy. We comply with relevant laws, we have created quality management systems based on ISO9001 not only for production divisions, but for each business unit including sales divisions, technical divisions and for each Group company, with a focus on manufacturing companies, and we are implementing quality assurance measures.
In order to maintain and improve said systems, we conduct ISO9001 internal auditor education for all Group companies in order to improve the skills of internal auditors.
Furthermore, if there is a quality issue that is likely to have a severe effect on society, such as a blackout, a stoppage of water supply, or a recall, we handle the matter in accordance with stringent rules to ensure swift and appropriate action through reporting to management and sharing information with specialist divisions, relevant divisions, and relevant business units, etc.
Response Flow for Quality Issues
Each fiscal year, each business unit drafts a priority quality policy for their own business unit, promotes activities such as CS activities and defect elimination activities based on the President’s Quality Management Policy and the directions of the top management, etc., with the aim of increasing customer satisfaction.
Quality Activity Cycle
The Meiden Group has determined items that need to be managed from the perspectives of “no defective unit accepted,” “no defective unit made here,” and “no defective unit shall leave here,” in order to improve quality in each internal process, such as development, design, manufacture, testing, and inspection, including purchasing parts and materials, etc., from affiliates, and we conduct activities accordingly.
DR (Design Reviews)
In particular, we are strengthening activities relating to the quality of such development and design that has the risk of a defect with potential widespread influence.
The main content of those activities is as follows.
Specific risks increase if one of the three elements (3H: Hajimete “first time,” Henkou “change,” Hisashiburi “first case in a long time”) is applied to the four main elements of manufacturing (4M: Man, Machinery, Method, Materials). Therefore, we identify these three elements and consider them through DR, etc., and respond to them in advance, which leads to reduction of risk.
A risk map is used to assess the level of risks, and create a mechanism for clearly stipulating the level of DR.
Experts in each product field are nominated each time DR is conducted and these experts have a duty to participate in DR. With their involvement, we create an environment where extensive content is considered and risks can be identified, which results in high-quality DR. Furthermore, in order to facilitate nominating and requesting the participation of experts in DR throughout the organization, we have published a company-wide list of experts.
We have created and we implement and strictly manage a system of notifying managers and administrators of remaining items so that processes do no proceed without resolving matters that have been identified and matters that require consideration, etc., through DR by the deadline that has been set, in order to reduce the risk of defects arising from unresolved matters.
We have created and operate a system to convert information about trouble that has arisen into easily applicable knowledge and to facilitate the accumulation and application of this knowledge. We then apply this knowledge to subsequent development and design to ensure that similar defects do not arise in the future.
We comprehensively articulate management items and methods in each process in the Quality Control Process Chart (QC Process Chart) in each process, and we reduce the risk of defects due to disparity between persons in charge by ensuring that required actions are conducted. Furthermore, we encourage filling in the Quality Control Process Chart (QC Process Chart) so that the implementation status can be confirmed by third parties.
At the Materials & Semiconductor Device Analysis Center, we promote activities to improve product quality and prevent defects through analysis and reliability evaluation of semiconductor devices and materials that are used in our products, adopting “improving product quality,” “creating new products,” and “consideration for the environment” as our basic policies.
If new parts and components such as semiconductor devices are used, they do not only undergo evaluation of variation in electrical characteristics and failure analysis, but (1) they undergo non-destructive inspection, (2) they are removed from packaging and further examined, and (3) the internal structure is examined by taking cross-sections etc., to evaluate whether they comply with internal standards. We also actively work to achieve long-term reliability and have a system of checking the potential effects of a range of stresses such as heat, humidity, and corrosive gasses.
Also, we are improving screening technology for plastics that contain phthalates, in accordance with trends in environmental regulations and amendments to the RoHS directive, in order to provide products that customer can use with confidence.
X ray transmission observation of electronic components
Evaluation of electrical characteristics of semiconductor devices (power device analyzer)
At the Analysis Center, we conduct research and development relating to improving the precision of vibration analysis and obtaining more material strength data in order to achieve both product competitiveness and product quality through limit state design. If product components are made as small and light as possible, strength can be an issue where it was not in the past. We are therefore improving the precision of vibration analysis by conducting vibration analysis and testing of each component and whole product. We have also introduced high-speed fatigue testing equipment to obtain more complete strength data for materials such as copper, which is used in heavy electrical products.
For example, when conducting vibration resistant design for the switchboard of electrical equipment, we achieve reliable products by conducting vibration resistance analysis simulations from the initial design stage, and conducting detailed evaluations of equivalent models once design is complete. Furthermore, we conduct evaluation of product life by comparing results of vibration analysis of rotating machinery and materials strength data.
Structure Analysis of Switchboard
Ultra-high cycle fatigue testing of copper
In order to provide products and services that satisfy our customers, we are gathering and analyzing the needs of our customers on a daily basis, including information and requests provided by customers, complaints, and market trends, and implementing activities that lead to concrete actions such as proposing solutions, developing new products, and engaging in servicing and various improvement activities. In development, sales, engineering, manufacturing, and local construction divisions that have contact with customers, we work to improve our activities through the PDCA cycle, by reviewing and evaluating tasks being conducted at each division, creating a plan for the next fiscal year in each fiscal year, and conducting self-evaluation of the results of activities.
Furthermore, at factories in Japan, we ask customers who have visited our facilities through factory observations, etc. to fill in a customer satisfaction survey. The in-person opinions of our customers are shared with relevant divisions to provide information on customer needs, leading to rapid development of new products, specific proposals, and work process improvements, etc.
Flow of Initiatives for Finding Customer Needs
Composition of Customers’ Needs (FY2019)
In order to respond to urgent trouble or product enquiries in a timely fashion, the Customer Center has staff ready to provide support to customers 24 hours a day. We also use the Center to provide remote monitoring services for substation equipment and wind power generation equipment, etc.
We contribute to the optimal operation of our customers’ equipment.
(ISMS: Information Security Management System)
24 hour Customer Center
In order to increase all employees’ awareness of quality and impart basic knowledge of quality management, we conduct education relating to quality management technology for all employees that are involved with manufacturing, even if they are not directly connected to the Production Business Unit. We conduct training that includes drills relating to the role of quality management, how to promote reform, seven tools for quality control, analysis based on the five whys, preventing human error, and preventing defects and recurrence, etc., for each level of employee such as new employees and group leaders. We are in the process of rolling out the curriculum for Japanese and overseas subsidiaries.
At the technology center adjacent to Numazu Works, we conduct training programs for workmanship and technical skills maintenance engineers. We raise engineers who contribute to the stable, safe, and efficient operation of customers’ equipment through practical training using real equipment.
Instructors are veteran engineers with extensive real-world experience and the curriculum is formulated to allow participants to touch and experience actual equipment, such as extra high-voltage and high-voltage receiving substation equipment, computers, power converter equipment, generators, and rotating machinery. Maintenance training is conducted each year for customers to whom Meidensha’s products have been supplied. Participants deepen their understanding of the internal composition of machinery through cross-sectional models of products, and gain experience of actually operating disconnecting switches and circuit breakers, testing protective relays, and using generating equipment and inverters, etc.
As one of our 120th anniversary projects, we have granted internships to two Thai university students each year since fiscal 2017, and we have conducted technical education for these two university students in fiscal 2019 as before.
Thai university student internships (product observation)
Technical training (creating sequencing circuits for rotating machinery)