We strive to improve quality and safety throughout the product lifecycle—planning, manufacturing, sales and services—in an ongoing drive to make products that satisfy customers.
Fuji Electric advocates a commitment to its customers: “With innovative technologies and a dedication to customer service, we strive to satisfy the needs of our customers and to anticipate their future requirements.” Below are some examples of Fuji Electric (formerly, Fuji Electric Systems) initiatives in this regard.
We offer our Repaired Product Information Management System to customers in Japan who use our facility management system. This system allows customers to check the delivery dates of repaired products, as well as their current status. We also offer the Fuji Maintenance Information Service (FMains), which allows each customer to view data related to their facilities, such as maintenance plans and history, on a dedicated website. FMains has proven popular with our customers.
We introduced Solution Sales Training in FY2009 to improve the skills of our sales staff and enable them to better meet the needs of our customers. This program was held 11 times in Japan in FY2010, for 180 participants, and we plan to continue it in FY2011.
We analyze the corrective action data stored in our CRM24* system in Japan, so as to improve service quality by shortening turnaround time. We have reduced our turnaround time to within four hours from the time the call is received until the problem is solved, an improvement of 9.5% over the previous fiscal year.
To reduce turnaround times even more, we will set target times and introduce specific measures to achieve them.
* CRM24: Fuji Electric’s own data management system, which we developed to support our management system. It provides consolidated management of customer data.
To enhance understanding of our inverters, servomotors and other component products, we have been hosting product study sessions since 1998. These events comprised 106 sessions at three locations during FY2010, with 563 participants drawn from 172 companies.
Fuji Electric utilizes opinions and requests from customers to upgrade and improve its products. For example, Fuji Electric Retail Systems, which makes vending machines, has responded to calls for vending machines that are considerate of the needs of elderly and disabled customers by offering products that incorporate barrier-free and universal design solutions.
In March 2010, the Japan Industrial Standards Committee established the Directive on Elderly and Disabled-Considerate Vending Machine Operability Design as the standard for barrier-free design in vending machines. Fuji Electric Retail Systems will continue to improve its machines based on this directive.
Fuji Electric (formerly, Fuji Electric Systems) has been conducting our Customer Satisfaction Survey at three branches in Japan (Eastern Japan, Western Japan, Chubu) since FY2002. This effort entails presenting our customers with a Customer Service (CS) Postcard Questionnaire when we conduct equipment checks or visit customers, and asking them to indicate their satisfaction with our maintenance service.
In FY2010, we conducted the survey during the period from June 1, 2010 through April 30, 2011, and received 215 replies. Our customers voiced many opinions and requests, such as “After the failure response, follow-up on remaining items was slow,” “So far there has been little in the way of maintenance proposals (information provision),” and “Technical skills are lacking,” highlighting basic issues prior to any major breakdowns.
We took these indications into account in FY2010 in seeking to strengthen our customer response across the organization by distributing training videos composed by the Customer Engineering Department in other regions and departments. In repaired product delivery, a target of particular dissatisfaction, we make certain to provide mid-course reports to customers and having the sales coordinator provide follow-up by phone within three days of receipt of the postcard. We hope to achieve significant improvement through such efforts.
We will continue to analyze customer satisfaction levels, thereby developing greater “visibility” in our CS efforts.
The Fuji Electric Call Center handles customer inquiries in Japan 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by telephone and via our website. We launched a Help Desk for quick chargers for EVs in FY2010, while the total number of inquiries (excluding those concerning Fuji Electric Retail Systems products) made to our Call Center was 6,123, up 1,600 (37%) from FY2009.
Technical inquiries, such as those concerning equipment operation, remain the leading category and make up the majority of inquiries, but these span a broad range, with questions of a highly specialized nature continuing to increase. Therefore, we have sought to provide speedier and more accurate responses by developing and operating our own system for managing inquiry histories and other data, the CRM24 system. We updated the CRM24 system in December 2010, boosting its capabilities and speed. We also began conducting regular liaison meetings to strengthen ties between the help desks for the various products.
Annual service inquiries regarding Fuji Electric Retail Systems products topped 170,000* as a result of the specialized nature of its products, such as those directly concerning food safety. We respond to these in careful detail.
*This represents a marked decrease from the 300,000 inquiries received during the previous fiscal year, which is due to the transfer and merger in April 2010 of Fuji Electric Retail’s cold chain equipment business, which focuses on refrigeration and cold showcases, with Fuji Electric Co., Ltd. (formerly, Fuji Electric Systems).
Content of Call Center inquiries in Japan in FY2010
*Excluding Fuji Electric Retail Systems products
Fuji Electric established our Quality Policy in 1970, stipulating our assurance of the industry’s highest standard for quality in all of our products and services.
We set forth a High Reliability Activities Policy every year based upon the Quality Policy, and put our all into improving quality at every stage of our business, from product planning through sales and service.
As a result, we achieved an 8% year-on-year reduction for quality issue indicators such as “Product repair costs” achieving our High Reliability Activities Policy target of 0.3% or less of net sales.
In addition to maintaining our FY2010 policies in FY2011, we will strengthen our expert evaluations during product development and seek further improvement.
(Established in 1970; revised in 2008)
Fuji Electric recognizes quality as an integral element of production technology. In November 2005, we established a Production Technology Committee, comprising four subcommittees, as part of our bid to promote production technologies across the organization.
Quality improvement activities center on the Quality Assurance Working Group and are promoted in coordination with the other sub-committees. We also strive to enhance customer satisfaction through stable and consistent levels of quality.
QC Diagnostics are implemented at important business sites. The Quality Assurance Working Group determines the important business sites where quality issues are seen as requiring immediate solutions, based on the previous fiscal year’s product repair service costs and other factors. This is observed laterally by the members of the sub-committees. Business sites other than those deemed particularly important also conduct self-evaluations using a shared checklist.
In FY2010, we introduced QC Diagnostics at five business sites in Japan and one overseas. In addition to identifying issues that are common throughout the company, we conducted enhanced evaluations involving outside experts.
Quality control training was also initiated at our Chinese manufacturing bases in FY2010, taking into consideration the surveys conducted in FY2009. Training of local staff was conducted at Fuji Electric Dalian Co., Ltd.
Membership in the Quality Assurance Working Group was revised in conjunction with the management framework restructuring that took place in April 2011. Comprehensive checking of manufacturing technology is planned.
Production Technology System and the Quality Assurance Working Group
President, Fuji Electric
Fuji Electric is acquiring ISO 9001 and ISO/TS 16949 (automotive industry quality management systems) international certification so as to support and enhance our quality management systems structure.
As of March 31, 2011, 93 of our worksites and affiliates, constituting 85% of our domestic bases, domestic affiliates, and overseas affiliates, had acquired certification.
Fuji Electric is aware that providing customers with products that are safe and reliable is one of a corporation’s social responsibilities. Based on this recognition, we comply with the stipulations of Japan’s Product Liability Act, Consumer Products Safety Act and other pertinent jurisdiction. Moreover, in June 2008 we formulated the Voluntary Action Plan for Product Safety as part of a concerted drive to ensure product safety.
In FY2009, we established assessment standards pertaining to the progress of our efforts to implement the Voluntary Action Plan for Product Safety. We have also created a Product Safety Evaluation Sheet, which contains four categories—Compliance, Quality Assurance System, Product Safety Design, and Product Accident Response—and began using it in conducting surveys for diagnosis and evaluation. These were executed at 23 business sites in Japan in FY2010, with the product safety efforts of each site evaluated according to identical criteria. As a result, we discovered clear discrepancies among business sites and product categories, so we are continuously making improvements.
Fuji Electric seeks to develop the awareness of all employees based upon the Voluntary Action Plan for Product Safety. In FY2010, we conducted five product safety-related courses, with 93 employees in Japan participating.
We also proceeded with the cultivation of personnel who have taken Safety Assessment Qualifications® (product safety design and technology qualifications) among our employees who have taken the Product Safety Basic Course. In FY2010, we trained one employee who had acquired the Safety Leader Assessment qualification, the highest level of Safety Assessment Qualification for leadership positions.
Fuji Electric has established rules and a system for quick response in the event that quality issues arise. Our response in such instances is based on our taking the customer’s perspective.
For example, in the unusual event of a serious accident, notice is quickly served to the president of Fuji Electric and all related parties. Afterward, the Quality Assurance Coordinator takes charge, and the cause is sought, countermeasures are implemented, and measures to prevent recurrence are taken.
Also, Fuji Electric has established Basic Recall Response Rules, which go into effect in the event that a product flaw could have a wide-ranging effect, so as to provide a speedy, accurate and effective response.