Kyocera Mita's goal is not average but top quality, comprising superior reliability, safety and ease-of-use. To achieve this goal, Kyocera Mita ensures rigorous quality control by implementing various measures in several production processes including manufacturing, inspection and shipment.
For production of the TASKalfa series, we introduced the Group Cell production system. Unlike the conventional production line system, where processes are aligned sequentially, the group cell production system bundles several processes into a "cell." A single worker handles tasks equivalent to several processes in a production line and takes care of several products, thereby eliminating redundant work and minimizing variation in quality. This system requires highly skilled operators and therefore was thought inappropriate for production in China, where the employee retention rate is much lower than that in Japan. Thus, we had been reluctant to introduce this system in China.
However, when it came to the production of TASKalfa, strong commitment to this product shared by our entire workforce prevailed over such stereotypical thinking, and led to a decision to introduce the group cell production system for attaining not average but top quality. All members from operators to supervisors joined together in developing operation methods, repeatedly undergoing uncompromising work training, and eventually succeeded in establishing the distinctive group cell production system of Kyocera Mita's Shilong Plant.
As a result of these efforts, since the start of production of the TASKalfa series, 100% of our products from the very first unit have passed the shipment inspection, demonstrating a quality level much higher than before.
The most important thing in work is the power of concentration. You can eventually create a defect-free product by exercising concentration in your work. We have become competent operators through diligent daily training and have also become capable of working in the group cell system. It was difficult to learn the necessary skills and we sometimes had tough times in training, but we have nevertheless acquired varied knowledge and improved ourselves through these hardships.
The spirit of teamwork was also developed and the attitude of mutually helping each other was generated in the team. This made our workplace more lively and pleasant than before and the team more like a big family. We feel that our team members are united and are making improvements every day. Now we are all striving to be qualified as meisters,* with the aim of becoming good role models for and giving good influence to younger employees.
* In the Meister System, seven rank titles are given according to the skill level.
Since the TASKalfa series is regarded as the "most important model" in the Shilong Plant, not only the members in manufacturing and engineering but also the members of all related fields have been engaged in this project and made cumulative efforts. In trying to satisfy the required technical levels, our MONOZUKURI ability seems to have improved greatly.
After learning the principles and production processes of color MFPs, we found and solved various problems occurring before mass production in cooperation with the Japanese members. After all these efforts, we were thrilled to see TASKalfa in the marketplace, feeling that our efforts had been rewarded.
Knowing that the new color MFPs to be developed in the Plant would bear the brand name "TASKalfa," the Production Division set up a project system to facilitate collaboration with the Shilong Plant, so that the process design and production problems would be shared with the Shilong Plant's manufacturing members from the early stage of engineering trial production.
The integrated efforts between the Japan and China sides enabled early detection of problems as well as speedy correction and implementation of countermeasures, leading to achievement of the high quality required of TASKalfa. In the mass production trial stage at the Shilong Plant, trial products were disassembled and inspected repeatedly to verify the assembly quality. The results of inspections were reflected in the operation instruction manual. The jigs and tools were adjusted and improved repeatedly. We were all engaged in the MONOZUKURI project, which required higher quality and productivity than ever.
Believing that Kyocera Mita's primary mission is to listen sincerely to the voices of customers and develop products from the standpoint of the customers, Kyocera Mita takes the following actions to assess reliability and safety.
●To realize high reliability and ensure stable performance at the customer's location, we conduct various types of tests under severe conditions from high temperature and high humidity to low temperature and low humidity, covering approx. 1000 test items. In the early stages of development, we invited the product support staff members of our dealers from inside and outside of Japan to conduct joint assessment. The purpose of this assessment was to determine, before launching the product to the market, the potential problems that might arise due to the environment or methods of use unique to each country, and make necessary corrections.
●To secure safety, besides ensuring compliance with the safety standards of each country, we have established our own PL (product liability) safety standard to eliminate potential risks in advance. Verification of serviceability and maintainability using actual products was included in the development step, and disassembly tests were conducted to determine structural problems.