The Story of Sakichi Toyoda
Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Industries Corporation, possessed a strong ambition to contribute to society from his days as a youth. He had devoted his 63-year-long life to invention.
Adhering to a quality first approach, Toyota Industries strives to realize monozukuri (manufacturing) that quickly responds to the diverse, ever-changing needs of customers.
Carrying on the spirit of founder Sakichi Toyoda, Toyota Industries strongly believes that quality is the lifeblood of a company. Focusing on quality first and ensuring customer safety and reassurance are our most important responsibilities to our customers and form the basis of our approach to CSR.
Toyota Industries strives to maintain and improve the total quality of our corporate activities, which encompasses not only “product quality” but also “marketing quality” and “management quality.” “Product quality” is embodied in the safety, eco-friendliness, durability, ease of use and workmanship of our products, while “marketing quality” entails excellent sales and service in addition to these attributes and “management quality” further enhances our overall corporate image and brand strength in terms of all of these attributes.
Placing top priority on our “Customer First” philosophy, Toyota Industries undertakes product development that meets customer expectations.
At Toyota Industries, development of a new product entails defining specific goals to incorporate quality in every stage from product planning and design to production preparation, production, sales and after-sales services. We perform a design review (DR), which allows a product to proceed to the next stage only when a responsible business division head examines and approves whether the product has reached the target quality level.
Should a defect occur after the product launch, the quality assurance departments of each business division immediately devise necessary measures. At the same time, a probable cause is identified from both technical and structural aspects, and if deemed necessary, the new product development system itself is reviewed to prevent a recurrence in the successor model.
Quality forms the basis of our operations and is essential in attaining the goals of our Vision 2020. As such, we formulated our Quality Vision 2020, which defines our philosophy in ensuring quality.
Quality Vision 2020All members in the Toyota Industries Group ensure quality first and build in quality with ownership at their own workplaces and positions in an effort to continuously supply attractive products/services that anticipate global customers’ needs.
To achieve the goal of this vision, we issue the Quality Guidelines, which identify priority quality-related issues to be implemented in each fiscal year, to all production bases in and outside Japan and engage in quality assurance activities accordingly. The implementation status of these guidelines is reviewed by top management at the QualityFunctional Meeting chaired by the head of the Production Headquarters*2 for identifying additional issues and devising countermeasures. Issues raised are followed up at meetings of the Company-wide Council of Heads of Quality Assurance Departments chaired by the head of the Quality Control Department*2. The president also checks on the outcome of these activities through genchi genbutsu inspections.
* As of March 31, 2017
To achieve a level higher quality control and assurance, heads of all business divisions, quality assurance departments and engineering departments share information on defect prevention activities upon new product development or launch of mass production at the Quality Confirmation and Defect Prevention Meeting. Additionally, we provide education on a periodic basis not only to employees of Toyota Industries but also to our business partners to improve work procedures and mechanisms for defect prevention.
If a defect is found in a product after its launch, we implement thorough measures to prevent a recurrence and apply the results to other business divisions.
We have been strengthening measures to prevent the occurrence of similar defects in all products we develop and manufacture in the future.
To ensure that we live up to our customers’ expectations in terms of quality, we believe it is important to have a high degree of quality awareness on an individual level. That is why we engage in various activities to raise quality awareness, including organizing various events during Quality Month. As a new initiative in fiscal 2017, we published two quality-related booklets to promote higher quality awareness.
One of the booklets, which is for all employees, reaffirms the origin of our quality assurance activities and includes such topics as the introduction of a Company-wide quality management structure in 1982 and details of the Deming Prize we received in 1986. This booklet was translated into English and distributed to major production bases outside Japan.
Based on the results of quality awareness questionnaires that have been conducted since fiscal 2016, we also created a booklet for engineering departments to facilitate the application of statistical quality control methods.
Since improving the quality of our products requires concerted efforts with our business partners in and outside Japan, we are strengthening joint quality assurance activities with major business partners.
In each quality audit, we determine priority areas, confirm the improvement status of the previously identified deficiencies and provide quality education on items that should be reinforced in order to cultivate a deeper understanding of kaizen (improvement). As a result of these activities, in fiscal 2017 we successfully reduced the quantity of defective products delivered to us by about 30% from the previous fiscal year.
These activities enable our business partners to attain the level of quality assurance that Toyota Industries requires and establish a culture to foster quality assurance on their own.