Quality and Reliability—Responsible Commitment to Customers
The fundamental principle of Monozukuri (manufacturing competitiveness) lies in Komatsu's commitment to quality and reliability in order to provide products—both hardware and software—that customers are happy to own. To achieve this, Komatsu puts the customer first as one of its Basic Managerial Policies, with the pursuit of maximum customer satisfaction at the foundation. The company carries out a continuous process of reform and refinement with all divisions responsible for putting this policy into practice, whether in development, manufacturing, sales, after-sales service, or administration. In practical implications, Komatsu includes the global environment, quality assurance, and the education and training of human resources within the scope of its quality management and uses indices to promote such management.
Our Principles (Komatsu's Principles Governing Quality Assurance)
Komatsu has established the following principles on quality in its products and services, which all subsidiaries and employees are responsible for putting into practice.
Principles that Increase Quality and Reliability
Provide products, services, and systems that are environment friendly, safe, and innovative from the perspective of the customer.
Definition of Quality Assurance
The company has a responsibility to take actions that will ensure it is able to provide products and services that the customer can purchase and use with a sense of assurance and satisfaction and use for many years to come.
Principles Governing Quality Assurance
- (1) Putting customers first, being receptive to the views of the customer, and responding appropriately to the customer, thereby earning the customer's satisfaction, are fundamental to the job of every employee and constitute the responsibility of every employee.
- (2) Complying with international standards and the legal requirements particular to individual countries as a matter of course, and providing products and services that, from the perspective of the customer, have incorporated proper regard for safety and a sense of assurance and that do not easily malfunction, are fundamental to the job of every employee and constitute the responsibility of every employee.
- (3) Providing products and services that incorporate proper regard for global environmental conservation is fundamental to the job of every employee and constitute the responsibility of every employee.
- (4) Providing products and services that are creative and provide benefits to the customer is fundamental to the job of every employee and constitute the responsibility of every employee.
- (5) Giving the customer a sense of safety, assurance, satisfaction, and the ability to use the product for many years to come is a source of happiness for every employee.
Mechanisms for Quality Assurance
At Komatsu, all employees in each division, from product planning to development, manufacturing, sales, and after-sales service, share a sense of working as a single unit to continually develop products that are safe, innovative, and of high quality. Through a strengthening of Komatsu's unique Monozukuri system, the company is able to introduce competitive DANTOTSU products to the market and provide services and systems with substantial features.
At each step of the development and manufacturing system, meetings are held to consider and evaluate the product. The product's suitability is then assessed and enhanced until the ultimate goal is attained. In this way, the company conducts quality assurance activities that ensure quality and reliability is fully achieved.
Through such approaches the company is able to strengthen safety assurance and satisfaction for customers while simultaneously providing products and services that take the global environment into account and comply with both international specifications and the regulatory requirements of individual countries.
Structure for Quality Assurance
The majority of Komatsu’s products— construction and mining equipment, presses, and forklifts— are used as manufacturing equipment at customers’ sites of operation. These products are expected to contribute to customers through a higher rate of operation and productivity over long hours every day. In reflection of these product characteristics, sales and after-sales service personnel at Komatsu visit customers to give detailed recommendations on products and their usage and conduct maintenance activities. They then provide feedback to relevant divisions regarding the views and requirements that the customers have for these products. The company has created a system to increase customer satisfaction through rapid responses to such information.
Moreover, Komatsu maintains a database on product quality in the market so that the company can respond rapidly upon discovering a quality-related problem and have all the company’s sales and after sales service divisions able to access the information they need to help remedy the issue.
Increasing the Degree of Customer Satisfaction
In accordance with its Principles Governing Quality Assurance, Komatsu has piloted a variety of initiatives to increase customer satisfaction. First, Komatsu believes it is extremely important to give serious consideration to customers' views and examine them on a continuous basis. Consequently, the company conducts regular customer satisfaction surveys, including post-launch field surveys. Komatsu uses the results to improve both the products themselves and the structure promoting quality assurance. The surveys help furnish new value to customers as the company develops DANTOTSU products that anticipate customer needs in advance and delivers services with distinct features.
Komatsu is able to raise the level of customer satisfaction through these approaches.
Post-launch Field Surveys and Feedback of Results
Komatsu's post-launch field survey is part of its system for comprehensively assessing customers' degrees of satisfaction, with company personnel visiting purchasers of newly launched products to request product evaluations.
In concrete terms, these personnel listen to customers' feedback on a day-to-day basis regarding the degree of satisfaction toward the quality and reliability of its products. The company pays careful attention to the evaluations, views, and requests concerning its sales and after-sales service and replacement parts. Komatsu processes and analyzes the gathered data to decide upon objectives for improvement. The resulting information is shared across the company, notably with top management, and provided as feedback to divisions at every step in the process, including development, manufacturing, and sales and after-sales service. With the means to improve upon problems and revise the quality assurance system, the company can deliver products and services that satisfy customers.
Surveys Tracking Vehicles in Operation for Extended Hours*
Komatsu pursues improvements in product durability and reliability through a system of surveys tracking vehicles in operation for extended hours. This allows the company to provide products that satisfy the customer and consume fewer resources. Most recently, confirmation of equipment operating conditions has been made possible by the utilization of an ICT remote management system called KOMTRAX Plus. With the information provided by KOMTRAX Plus, we are able to confirm and analyze the status of the machine in terms of durability, efficiency and functionality. The company assesses whether or not the results satisfy customers' expectations and the degree to which their demands match product quality objectives at Komatsu. The company designs proposals to rectify areas not achieving the desired quality levels, later integrating these proposals into product revisions or the development of new products. This process increases product durability and reliability and thus extends product lifecycles, leading to greater customer satisfaction and less resource consumption and waste.
*Defined as vehicles with an operating history of 5,000 hours or more
Using ICT to Support Customers throughout the Product Life Cycle
Komatsu uses ICT-based remote vehicle management systems known as the Komatsu Tracking System (KOMTRAX) for conventional construction equipment and KOMTRAX Plus for large mining equipment to indicate the current state of a vehicle's “health,” its operating status, and other key information.
Quality Assurance Activities at the Global Level
Komatsu provides products of the highest quality at every location throughout the world by fully implementing quality assurance activities globally. For this purpose, the company aims for uniform technical drawings, manufacturing systems, inspection methods, information collection, and quality management across the globe.
Komatsu labels as “mother plants” certain global manufacturing locations with product development capabilities. These plants serve at the center of worldwide development and manufacturing activities, with their leading-edge technologies and techniques then transferred to other manufacturing locations around the world. This improves technology and enhances product quality, making them uniform throughout the company.
Standards for Product Safety
Komatsu puts safety and assurance at the forefront in its quality assurance activities. The company has formulated Standards for Product Safety and associated principles and has all employees comply with them in order to deliver products that are safe, provide a sense of assurance, and can be used for many years.
Information System for Product Safety and Services
In seeking to obtain information on problems with product safety as early as possible, Komatsu has established an information system for product safety and promptly deals with issues.
It continuously strives to make improvements so that the company, including top management, can respond quickly through coordinated actions, including (1) assessing the cause of the incident and procedures to be taken, (2) contacting the relevant governing authorities, and (3) deciding to take remedial measures such as a recall of products still on the market.
Standards for Product Safety
- (1) Compliance
The provision of products and services that comply with international standards and the legal requirements particular to individual countries is fundamental to the job of every employee and constitutes the responsibility of every employee.
- (2) Safety via prevention
The provision of products and services that are safe and provide a sense of assurance, and do no harm to the customer is fundamental to the job of every employee and constitutes the responsibility of every employee.
- (3) Security regarding accidents
The provision of products and services that minimize any injury that might occur to a customer who has an accident is fundamental to the job of every employee and constitutes the responsibility of every employee.
- (4) Transparency
The ongoing provision of advance safety warnings after receiving information from the customer and, in the case of a defect arising in a product or service, prompt response measures and the provision of information, are fundamental to the job of every employee and constitute the responsibility of every employee.
- (5) Improvement of organizational climate
In order to create a corporate climate in which product safety is emphasized, the standardization of the safety management system and safety techniques as well as ongoing efforts to improve them are at all times fundamental to the job of every employee and constitute the responsibility of every employee.
Providing Product Safety Information to Customers
Komatsu meets legal requirements for providing safety information to customers through (1) direct indication on products or in user manuals, (2) direct explanations by sales and after-sales service personnel, and (3) telephone consultations with sales and after-sales service divisions at plants. The company seeks to address each particular situation with, for example, engineers or top management visiting customers as the situation might require.
System for Dealing with Recalls
In recent years, customers have become more concerned about product safety in general and product recalls in particular. To help ensure product safety in the market, Komatsu is reinforcing its recall-related organizational strength, comprehensive response capabilities, procedures for prompt corrective measures, and proactive information disclosure while conducting increasingly rigorous monitoring.
Procedure regarding recalls:
- (1) Proposal for rectification of the situation based on information regarding the defect; decision regarding what measures the company will take toward the market
- (2) File a notice with relevant authorities as provided under the law
- (3) Inform customers by appropriate means
- (4) Take appropriate corrective measures including, for example, repair, replacement, or refund
Means for preventing recalls:
- (1) Strengthening of system for collecting information on product quality in the market
- (2) Promotion of technical verification of the problem involved in the recall and timely decision making
- (3) Regular auditing of recall-related operations
Komatsu strictly oversees compliance with legal requirements. Should a defect be found in its products or services, the company initiates prompt correction measures and moves forward with proactive information disclosure. The graph below indicates the number of incidents in which recall notices were filed. The company will continue to pursue safety to the greatest extent possible in the years to come.
Number of Incidents with Recall Notices Filed (for construction equipment and utility equipment products sold in Japan)
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