Customer Satisfaction and Product Safety
Achieving Top-Tier Quality and Reliability
Konica Minolta's Approach
Background and Issues
Konica Minolta believes that ensuring product safety and security is essential for achieving highly consistent quality. With the advent of the IoT era, this is true not only for hardware but also for guaranteeing the quality of solution services. Based on this new approach, the entire Konica Minolta Group believes that this commitment to quality and safety is the key to sustainable growth.
To deliver value to customers, Konica Minolta continually seeks to enhance its products, incorporating cutting-edge technologies. Simultaneously, the Group is raising awareness among employees about addressing quality from the customer's perspective, while continuously enhancing quality management activities. The aim is to provide customers with products and services that offer even greater convenience, safety and peace of mind.
Key Measures and KPIs
- Enhancing product risk assessments and improving quality awareness: Number of serious product-related accidents*1 in fiscal 2017–2019: 0
- Reducing quality risk in the service business area: Number of serious security incidents*2: 0
- Serious product-related accidents refer to those accidents that cause serious harm to the product user's life and/or body and accidents that cause serious damage to assets other than the product.
- Serious security incidents refer to those product-security incidents that cause serious and significant harm to the product user's business.
Improving the Quality Assurance System
Taking various steps to improve the quality assurance system
Konica Minolta has established a quality assurance system. It is striving to improve its ability to resolve market quality problems that are related to the safety of products and services and is working to avoid serious accidents and reduce quality problems.
Investigating Quality Problems via Regular Meetings
Konica Minolta regularly holds quality meetings to discuss product safety and other quality-related issues and work to continuously improve quality by thoroughly implementing the PDCA cycle.
For example, twice a month the Quality Assurance Division of the Business Technologies Business holds a Quality Council attended by those in charge of development, procurement, production, and customer support. They work to solve cross-functional quality problems and improve the quality management system as a united team. Established at this council was the Double Quality Assurance System in which, in addition to self-assessments performed by those in charge of the development and production processes, evaluations are implemented from the unique perspective of the Quality Assurance Division. Since its start in April 2011, this system has greatly enhanced the quality management system.
Organization of the Double Quality Assurance System
Addressing Market Quality Issues
Whenever a problem related to product quality occurs, sales sites around the world are required to register information in a Group-wide critical accident report database within 24 hours. Registered information is instantly sent to the appropriate supervisor and shared with relevant departments. Using this system, the Group takes action to prevent a recurrence by thoroughly investigating all registered incidents, analyzing the causes, implementing countermeasures, and reflecting these in technical and assessment standards. In the unlikely event of a safety-related incident, a report will be immediately filed with the supervisor of the individual business and shared with the executive officer in charge of quality, as well as with the departments in charge of quality assurance, corporate communications, and legal affairs, regardless of the cause of the problem. When a quality problem with a potentially serious risk arises, a Quality Problem Countermeasure Conference is convened based on the Market Quality Management Rules in order to promptly deal with the issue and ensure thorough information disclosure.
Serious Product-related Accidents over the Past Four Years
|Number of Accidents||0||0||0||0|
Serious product-related accidents: Accidents in which products put the lives of product users at risk or cause serious bodily injury and those in which property other than the products is damaged seriously
Scope: All Konica Minolta products
Enhancing Product Safety Standards
MFPs and laser printers used in offices must be designed so that misusage and break-downs do not cause electric shocks, smoking, or injuries to users. For this reason, Konica Minolta has established independent product safety standards that exceed the requirements of the legal standards and have rules requiring the detailed check of every aspect of its products. Past quality problems are thoroughly analyzed, the causes are identified, and measures to deal with the problems are investigated. The results of this process are reflected in updated product safety standards. Continuous implementation of this process prevents the recurrence of quality-related problems and prevents new problems from arising.
Taking Steps to Ensure Safety
Expanding efforts to ensure product safety throughout the entire Group
Product Safety Training
Konica Minolta has developed a Group-wide product safety education system for technicians involved in design and development, manufacturing technology, procurement, and quality assurance. The Group has been implementing this system since fiscal 2010. The courses are designed to increase technicians' knowledge of product safety issues and increase their awareness of potential problems.
In fiscal 2014, the Group launched a new Risk Assessment Improvement Program focusing on risk-finding and assessment exercises using actual machines so that knowledge and skills cultivated in past training can be put into practice in actual operations. A questionnaire was given to trainees after the course was finished to verify that it is benefiting them in their actual work. The results have been fed back to the training planners to help improve the content of the program. Going forward, Konica Minolta will continue to improve employees’ product safety awareness and raise the level of their skills by providing continuing education.
Risk Assessment Improvement Program
Application of Risk Maps
Konica Minolta utilizes risk maps as a way to assess product safety. These maps describe the degree of risk by the severity and frequency of aftermarket accidents. Using these maps, the Group undertakes objective assessments of the risk of product quality problems in the market and evaluates the effect of countermeasures. The Group pursues high safety levels by using the risk maps as risk assessment tools in the development process as well.
Specifically, the Business Technologies Business and the Healthcare Business consolidate, scrutinize, and identify, in accordance with stated rules, information provided by customers worldwide. With respect to information involved in product safety, they apply risk management techniques. By clarifying its criteria, the Group can respond quickly to the market, determine essential causes, and improve procedures.
Test Laboratory for Combustion Testing
Konica Minolta designs its products to eliminate any chance of them catching fire or emitting smoke. However, in the event that such an incident or a building fire should occur, products must have a fire-resistant design to prevent the spread of fire. Therefore, fire-retardant plastics are selected when designing products. In order to get accurate data on fire safety, products need to be subjected to combustion testing.
A laboratory for reliability testing was built in 2009 in order to accommodate combustion testing. Now, detailed combustion information has been obtained for products using this laboratory, which has cutting-edge analysis equipment. The facility is also equipped with sophisticated smoke elimination technology, and it has thereby allowed combustion testing without any impact on the neighboring environment.
Taking Steps to Improve Quality
Improving quality awareness in the workplace and promoting the horizontal rollout of effective approaches
Sharing Information about Quality Problems and Cross-deploying Countermeasures within the Group
Konica Minolta is accelerating its Group-wide effort to disclose information regarding quality problems and cross-deploy countermeasures as “One Konica Minolta,” a policy launched in fiscal 2013. The goal is to increase sensitivity to quality issues, thereby resolving problems early on and ensuring better response.
As a specific measure of the cross-deploying efforts, the Group conducted Production Capability Assessments in fiscal 2017 at 16 production sites, including sites outside Japan. Members of each site serve as assessors in this effort to perform mutual cross-assessments of businesses. Assessments are designed to visualize issues at each site by quantifying different aspects, such as the 5S's (Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain), visualization, elimination of inefficiencies, and factory management. The 5S's and visualization are intended to encourage proactive improvements on the production floor by presenting ideals as guidelines. Additionally, good practices are cross-deployed by sharing assessment results and examples of initiatives from each site on the company intranet.
Initiative for the Development of Quiet Products
Konica Minolta is pursuing the development of quiet products that do not disturb the office environment by measuring and analyzing various sounds that are generated by MFPs and printers. As part of this effort, the company carried out joint development with a university to find a method for analyzing noise generated by products. After devising a method, the company could predict the noise level of planned products, thereby facilitating the development of quieter office products for more pleasant work environments.
In 2008, the company’s test laboratory, which has world-class acoustical characteristics, obtained ISO/IEC 17025* accreditation from the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the U.S. As a result, it is now able to perform noise-level measurements required for the German environmental protection label Blue Angel mark.
The inside of the acoustic test laboratory
- ISO/IEC 17025: General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories.
Verifying Whether Printers are Compatible with a Variety of Paper Types
In on-demand commercial printing, customers require the ability to print on various kinds of stock, including heavy-weight, light-weight, glossy, and rough-finish papers. Regarding MFPs in offices, the use of recycled paper or thin paper is increasing due to consideration for the environment.
In response to these needs and to make products compatible with more types of paper, Konica Minolta is conducting verification of image reproduction and paper feeding on a diverse array of paper types in its Media Evaluation Center. The characteristics of several hundred types of paper from around the world are measured, and the center verifies the optimal settings for each type by conducting printing tests on actual MFPs.
The results of these measurements and verifications are compiled in a database, where they are utilized for product development and to provide information to customers.
Media Evaluation Center
New Initiatives for the IoT Era
Enhancing Secure Product Development and Operation
In a society where an increasing number of devices are connected to the Internet using IoT technology, security incidents that involve exploitation of product vulnerabilities, such as unauthorized intrusion, unauthorized operation, and data tampering, are new threats that can cause serious damage to customer operations. In its Medium Term Business Plan, Konica Minolta has positioned its Edge IoT platform strategies, such as Workplace Hub, as a major growth driver among its new businesses. The company recognizes that the risk of IoT security incidents will increase in this area compared to its conventional foundational business.
Information regarding the vulnerability of products is being centrally managed group-wide. Along with promoting the necessary measures, the company has launched KM-PSIRT* as a group-wide organization to collaborate with external public organizations, and it has begun relevant activities. Additionally, Konica Minolta has established security guidelines spanning the entire product lifecycle from product planning and development to product use.
The company is also constructing mechanisms to ensure that secure products are provided to the market, and to respond and report promptly when incidents occur.
- KM-PSIRT: Konica Minolta's Product Security Incident Response Team, a product vulnerability response organization
Creating a Quality Assurance System in Service Business Areas in the IoT Era
In service business areas, the company believes it must shift from product quality assurance to service quality assurance and establish the most innovative processes. Services are different from manufactured products as they lack physical form, their quality cannot be checked in advance, and they highlight the importance of process in addition to results.
Consequently, it is a challenge to predict and manage highly reliable quality.
Based on this shift in business, the company is promoting the construction of a service commercialization process, and human resource development for process management as a way to create a mechanism for quality assurance in the upstream stage of the service business.
When developing a new service business, Konica Minolta utilizes the agile development method. It quickly ascertains the quality required by customers and uses this knowledge to enhance quality assurance. This method is performed not only in Japan, but also globally at locations in customers' vicinities, to ensure strong quality assurance worldwide.
Furthermore, a company-wide working group has been established based on several key terms: cloud-based services, product security, and agile development, which are the core elements of a service business. Konica Minolta is working on the formulation of quality standards and usage guidelines, along with actions to put them into practice.
Quality Issues and Steps to Grow Service Business Areas