November 17, 2011,16:22 +0900(JST) Safe Environment, Product Quality, and Clerical Work Quality Conventions
At the outset of the second half of this fiscal year, the Sumitomo Electric Group held a Group-wide conference to report on the safe environment, product quality and clerical work quality improvement activities implemented in the first half and action policies and priority issues to be tackled during the second half. In each of the above areas, continuous efforts based on the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle are required to ensure steady improvement. Presenters reported on improvements they had continuously achieved by setting up different subjects in succession and developing and implementing innovative plans.
As for environmental activities, Quality Assurance Group Manager Lee of SEI Electronics Materials, Ltd., one of our Group companies in Taiwan, gave lively presentation on how they achieved zero emissions of waste.
There was also a report on aluminum wiring harness as an example of Sumitomo Electric’s environmentally friendly products, or “Eco-products.” This lightweight wiring harness has been adopted for use in Toyota Motor Corporation’s Ractis and Vitz cars. Since this product contributes to reducing vehicle weight, we expect to see wider adoption for automobiles.
This summer’s key phrase was “energy savings.” All of us in the Sumitomo Electric Group successfully cut power usage by 20% to 30%, far exceeding the target. This was largely due to the introduction of power generators, as well as the generous cooperation of all staff members, such as rotating days off, shifting working hours and frequently turning off air-conditioners. This winter again, I ask for your continued energy saving efforts to meet the target by all means.
Participation of all members, the key to achieving the above-mentioned improvement activities, depends on the zeal of the managers and supervisors of respective groups, companies and plants. Among other things, safety activities must be promoted with verve and zest under the slogan, “Safety comes first.” In the question-and-answer session, I became rather sharp-tongued because I am fully aware that occupational accidents could risk people’s lives or health.
“Do supervisors observe their work sites by visiting there in person every day?”
“I understand staff members are trying hard, but I don’t sense the zeal of plant managers and what they’re actually doing.”
“Given the over 100 years of Sumitomo Electric’s history, we surely faced similar problems in the past, but you sound like the problem is brand new. Haven’t you learned lessons from your predecessors?”
While ensuring employee safety is essential for business operations, the essence of a manufacturing company lies in quality control. The Sumitomo Electric Group offers an extensive lineup of products, ranging from electric wiring to components and tools, all of which differ in raw materials, shape, size and manufacturing method. Quality activities vary according to product category, which makes it difficult to manage quality. Nevertheless, respective groups reported the positive results of their quality control activities that they had strenuously implemented on a daily basis. I was particularly impressed by the report on ten years of “Pika Pika” activities or the Shining Clean Campaign for automotive wiring harness manufacturing. The report was perfect in terms of content and presentation skills. This comprehensive quality management program has greatly helped the Group company offer products of the same, best quality worldwide, achieving 25% share of the global automotive wiring harness market. Their experience is a real-life example of the saying, “Perseverance leads to success.”
I hope to see further development of these safety and quality activities. I also hope that the management of Group-wide organizations will selectively incorporate respective groups’ best practices into their activities to achieve substantial improvements.