Kyocera Document Solutions practices the "customer-first" principle throughout all processes of the product life cycle, from planning, development and manufacturing, to sales, use, support and recovery.
The Corporate Quality Assurance Division of Kyocera Document Solutions conducts evaluation beforehand assuming conditions in the market as well as various types of reliability testing to ensure that our products always operate stably during use by the customer. Furthermore, we conduct verification tests based on customers' actual usage environments. In addition, through market support, we listen to what customers say so that their feedback can be incorporated in new models. We also use the PDCA (plan-do-check-act) cycle for quality when manufacturing products.
Our company is making the following efforts to strengthen our quality assurance system, so that we can provide even better products to our customers.
Our Quality Assurance Department has the role of evaluating whether products are at a level where they can be sold in the market, correcting any problems discovered after sale, and working to prevent recurrence. The department previously evaluated quality based on past data and experience, but with previous techniques there were concerns that it would be impossible to respond to changing needs and satisfy the needs of customers in countries throughout the world with different use conditions.
Therefore, before performing evaluation of newly sold products, each of the staff in charge of evaluation develops an understanding of the nature of new technology and design changes, operating requirements, and factors which affect mechanisms, and they examine evaluation content taking into account the situations where customers will use the product and the environmental conditions of product use. After that, further discussions are held within the Quality Assurance Department regarding evaluation content, including issues likely to arise. By adding evaluation content incorporating perspectives deriving from the knowledge and imagination of all members, we carry out evaluation responsive to issues overlooked with previous criteria.
By conducting this sort of evaluation, we further strengthen verification of the quality of the sold product. We improve product reliability through prevention of potential problems in the development stage, before they occur, and thereby provide products which can satisfy the customer.
We are working to innovate in the area of verification techniques. Previously, pass/fail judgment was made using the criterion of whether or not, based on evaluation standards, the product provides the function and performance described in product specifications. However, at present, we do not limit ourselves only to variation in performance at the time of mass production and measures to counter the causes of such variation. We also conduct verification incorporating the behavior of parts while taking into account use conditions in the market. In addition, we make efforts to understand the technical background, know limits of products on that basis, and verify the failure modes in case those limits are exceeded.
Our Market Support Team plays the important role of gathering information from sales companies all over the world. As a liaison for inquiries and malfunction information from sales companies, this team investigates and responds in collaboration with relevant departments. It is also in charge of promoting product quality improvement, and incorporation of improvements into the next model.
To eliminate delays in information gathering due to time differences and distances with overseas regions, the Market Support Team holds daily meetings with technical supervisors from the umbrella sales companies. By exchanging information directly with sales companies every day, the team responds to new issues from the initial stage, and this is useful for predicting trouble which may occur in the future, and initiating a response at an early stage.
Problems which occur after a product has been released to the market are important reference information for product development and improvement. We gather and analyze market data relating to product and service quality from all over the world, and provide feedback to the relevant departments. In order to effectively exploit these precious information resources, we are working to innovate in the area of collection and analysis methods.
With the aim of making more specific and speedy proposals to resolve problems in product development, maintenance and service, we gather data broadly from both inside and outside Japan. This includes operation data gathered from products operating in the market, maintenance and service activity data from service personnel, maintenance part shipment information, and call center logs. Through statistical analysis and text mining of this data, we are building a system for integrated analysis of quality risks and failure factors. By using the analysis data obtained from this system, we strive to continuously improve the quality of products and services. We also identify the latent needs of customers and provide feedback for development of new products.
In addition to applying the regulations concerning product safety established by public institutions in countries where products are sold (safety specifications, laser specifications, environmental regulations, etc.), we have also established our own Product Liability Act Management Provisions and clearly set forth the procedures to ensure product safety and the roles of each division to prevent accidents before they happen.
We maintain a Safe Design Committee with the purpose of having customers use our products safely and increasing product safety even further.
The Safe Design Committee comprises experts who evaluate product design and confirm, from an independent viewpoint, that the product is safe to use.
Taking advantage of Article 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act, which came into effect in June 2001, we have made active efforts in the area of universal design in order to improve product accessibility. Universal design at our company uses a User-centered Design development method. The engineers and designers themselves who develop our products use equipment such as wheelchairs and kits that enable them to experience the same world as persons with disabilities or the elderly. In this way, they begin by experiencing and understanding for themselves the perspective of such people and from these experiences and a variety of data, the improvement and refinement of our products can take place in order to make them easier to use.