Initiatives for Quality Improvement
Based on its management philosophy, Ushio has created a unified quality policy for the entire Group, and continued its efforts to improve quality.
Quality Management System and Framework
Based on its management philosophy, Ushio has created quality policies. As the person in charge, the president and CEO designates the people in charge of quality at the various divisions and departments. Ushio also continually works to improve quality by applying standards such as ISO 9001 certification for quality management systems.
ISO Promotion Committee
Ushio has a system for improving the efficiency and speed of its quality management system. We maintain our mechanisms for swiftly responding to customer needs while meeting the requirements of ISO 9001. We aim to achieve radical innovation not bound needlessly to rules and firmly anchored in front-line realities, as we strive to achieve even higher levels of customer satisfaction.
We adopt best practices for ensuring quality from the accumulated expertise of each business division through collaboration between the Quality Assurance Division of each business division. We have also established quality management systems based on legal standards in the medical equipment business.
By strengthening our ties with overseas production affiliates and Group companies, we aim to improve the level of quality assurance throughout the entire Ushio Group.
Using Manga to Raise Group-Wide Quality Awareness
Lamps, which are Ushio's main products and are widely used by customers in cinema equipment, projectors and lighting, are produced in a variety of different places, including at overseas bases. Great care needs to be taken to ensure that there are no defects in these products as it may have an incalculable impact on the lives of people.
Amid these conditions, Ushio's Light Sources Division issued an educational manga comic booklet called “Quality First” in fiscal 2015 to raise awareness. The manga uses a story envisaging a problem occurring in a cinema projector lamp to show how a production line employee's simple slipup can end up having a variety of effects on many people, including the ultimate end user. This is a tool that enlightens through prompting understanding the effects of actions, and it is already being used.
The manga has also been translated into English and Chinese and sent out so that all those involved in Ushio's product quality Group-wide, which includes overseas bases, can develop greater awareness. The manga aims to help maintain stable high quality in all Ushio products as well as to contribute to a higher level of customer satisfaction.
Enhancing factory IT, Automation, Visualization, and UPS Activities (Harima Plant
In order to efficiently provide high-quality products amid drastic changes in the business environment, our Harima factory integrates the improvement activities (TQC and TPM) that it has cultivated over the years, and promotes activities called UPS (Ushio Production System) from a diversified perspective. We have 3 pillars; "Small Group Activities", "Human Resource Education", and "Loss Reduction"; in order to acquire the ability to identify problems and share problems with colleagues and vigorously improve their skills and product quality.
In November 2019, we reported the results of our activities at a workshop held by the Himeji Employers’ Association. Our UPS Activities, which we launched in 2011, have shown a tangible achievement.
Based on these improvement activities, we are continuing to adopt IT enhancement, automation, and visualization to respond flexibly to changes in the external environment for lamps and module products, and transform ourselves into a plant that can reduce human variations and mistakes, improve quality, and stabilize quality.
In the future, we will expand the scope of our activities to include not only the Harima Plant, but also domestic and overseas factories and our group companies. We will also expand the scope to include not only manufacturing processes, but also the operational areas of inspections and back-office works.
For many years, the large number of manual tasks required for lamp production resulted in reliance on the skills of individuals. We have started using robots for some processes that can be automated in order to reduce human mistakes and variations on quality.
Furthermore, these activities included revisions to production processes, automated inspections of all items produced and the improvement of processes by linking selected manufacturing steps.
In addition, in the lamps manufacturing process, we used to cover aspects such as intuition and tricks through competence management, but we are advancing activities to quantify and standardize these implicit knowledge.
For example, by optimizing process controls based on new knowledge about impurities in the manufacturing process, we are able to further reduce product variation.
As part of our efforts to enhance IT, we have introduced a process management support system that enables on-time visualization of conditions in each process.
We are continuing this initiative, as we are able to accelerate action to detect abnormal products, prevent the occurrence of defective products, and strengthen process management.
In FY2020, we integrated the business of Ushio Opto-semiconductors and expanded the use of IT in the manufacturing process of solid-state products (LEDs) to visualize process qualities and detect process abnormalities.
Creation of a Quality Management Control Database (Gotemba Division)
Many of the products manufactured at the Gotemba Division have over 1,000 individual components. Therefore, there is an enormous number of items for which quality control must be conducted. To help in the process, we created a database of past instances of non-conformance, created a TO DO list of controlled items, and made it possible to post and share non-conformance information in technical manuals.
Moreover, working groups are also formed for processes and utilized to help share information and improve quality.
Expedite a power supply development by base model design (Challenge 15)
Ushio develops a wide variety of power supplies for our equipment, lamps, and modules. In particular, in the development of a power supply for Care222 Filtered Far UV-C Excimer Lamp Module and other XEFL products, we accelerated development activities by designing base models (Challenge 15) and shortened the development period to one-third.
We will continue to respond to the diverse needs of our customers by designing and developing power supplies in a timely manner together with our light sources and equipment.