Product Liability

The Group’s Basic Policy and System for Quality Assurance

Our Group has established quality management systems (QMS) based on ISO9001 and is continuing to acquire relevant certifications (a total of 36 sites have been certified as of Sunday, May 01, 2022). Recognizing the provision of products and services that customers can always feel satisfaction and peace of mind in using is an important social mission for our Group, all relevant departments collaborate on all processes—from product planning, research, design & development, preparation for production, production, sales & service, to quality assurance—with an awareness of the importance of ensuring the safety of products and create and appropriately implement and management frameworks within which to enhance and maintain product safety and quality. In order to ensure that all employees of our Group systematically implement product safety and quality assurance initiatives in accordance with QMS, we have formulated a Quality Management Policy and provide education to quality control manager candidates as part of our Quality Control Manager Training Course.

Quality Management System

Fiscal 2022 quality management policy

Basic policy

Placing the customer first, and quality first, thereby contributing to society in keeping with SDGs and to profit through essential improvements from process flow conducive to quality formation

One Sumibe / Zero Defect / Proactive

Measures:SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

  • 1. Working toward Ensuring Quality that Provides Safety and Security of Mind (QA Department’s Role and Responsibility)
  • 2. Quality Improvement Activities of Existing Businesses (Complaints Handling Aimed at Improving Customer Satisfaction)
  • 3. Reducing Risks to New Products or New Businesses
  • 4. Improvement of the Entire Total Manufacturing (Monozukuri) Process through Daily Inspection and Monozukuri Audit
  • 5. Training Quality Management Representative who takes on the Next Generation

QMS Certification Received

Certification standard Business/products
ISO9001 Quality of life products (packaging films for food and pharmaceutical products, bio-based products, construction materials, waterproofing products, etc.)
High-performance plastics (included molded articles)
Semiconductor-related materials
IATF16949 High-performance plastics (included molded articles)
Semiconductor Materials
Thermoplastic sheets
ISO13485 Medical products
ISO15378 Packaging Materials for Pharmaceuticals
FSSC22000 Packaging films for food
AS9100
JIS Q9100
Aircraft components

Future State Vision of Appropriate New-Product Development and Commercialization Processes of the Group

Quality Improvement Activities for Existing Business

We are working to enhance the quality of our existing products through such efforts as ensuring rapid response to complaints, taking measures to prevent reoccurrences of problems, and rigorous 4M change control. Cross-functional responses are made to rapidly solve not only serious but also minor complaints. In order to prevent new occurrences and recurrence of issues leading to complaints and process abnormality, we use “Why-Why Analysis” and “Further Investigation” to identify what happened, causes, and countermeasures, among other factors, concerning these issues. In fiscal 2021 we carried out checks in cooperation with the business sites to determine whether their structures for soundly implementing countermeasures to complaints were functioning, and we have been able to reduce complaints. We will continue these efforts in fiscal 2022.

Reducing Risk Relating to New Business

There is a need to improve (optimize) the output quality (degree of perfection) of product designs and process designs when developing new products and to shorten (minimize) the time required for the development process by minimizing rework. In order for our Group to meet these needs, we continually make efforts toward improvement and refinement our QMS from the standpoint of functional assurance.

❶ Shortening New-Product Development Periods and Improving Work Quality

In new product development, initial plans are often delayed because of the tendency for a variety of problems requiring reworking to arise. To prevent this, we implement the Plan-Do-Check-Action (PDCA) cycle to increase the degree of perfection of design quality and shorten the development period through collaboration of all the divisions concerned from the initial phases. Furthermore, we implement the following to ensure that the problems do not recur in subsequent development work.

(1) Feedback Review Analysis to identify problems through reviews of development processes over time.
(2) Why-Why Analysis and Further Investigation to identify root causes of the occurrence and out-flowing of problems in terms of technology and management. Why-Why Analysis and Further Investigation are also used to determine why problems were not prevented in terms of organizations, allocation of functions, systems, frameworks, and culture and to identify measures for preventing recurrence and new occurrences.

❷ Proactive Use of Various Quality Control Techniques

In addition to design review (DR) during each stage of product design and process design, we conduct Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) to predict potential failures or abnormalities by analyzing health and safety risks on people including customers related to our products, along with Design Review Based on Failure Mode (DRBFM) that focuses on changes to the design and changes to conditions and the environment. In turn, we implement risk reduction measures in all processes of DR, FMEA and DRBFM as well as during technical verification at the time of using new raw materials. In addition, we use Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) that rationally analyzes accidents and defects in a hierarchical manner to discover root causes and fundamental solutions for preventing recurrence.

In fiscal 2021, quality education was provided to manufacturing/ research managers in the Quality Control Manager Training Course mentioned above, as well as to younger employees. We will continue these efforts in fiscal 2022.

オンライン教育の様子

Quality education conducted online for second-year engineering employees (FTA/FMEA)

 

The “QPiT” System for Processing Quality-Related Complaints

We manage complaints relating to quality using the “QPiT21” system. QPiT21 (Quality & Production information Tools 21) is a system that allows the central management of quality and production-related information, and it has been built into the Groupwide intranet. The system was introduced in order to accelerate the communication of quality- and production-related information within the Group, facilitate the sharing of information, and encourage the integration and effective utilization of information levels. With this system it is possible to respond efficiently, rapidly and appropriately to complaints.

In fiscal 2021, operations also began at SB Kawasumi. We have also begun conceptualizing a new system for data-driven quality control. After confirming the advantages and disadvantages at each business site, we will proceed with the introduction of the new system in fiscal 2022.

Internal Quality Auditing and Daily Inspection/Review

For the quality audit for fiscal 2021, we continued to carry out the ‘Monozukuri’ Audits (see below), a system operated since fiscal 2017, which is conducted jointly for the three departments of quality, EHS, and SBPS within the Corporate Production Management and Engineering Division.

The Corporate Quality Assurance Promotion Department inspects and examines operations daily from customers’perspectives through support of R&D activities at research departments (participation in DR, cooperation with FMEA, etc.) and support of production activities at each business department (change control, FEMA, FTA, Why-Why Analysis and Further Investigation, participation in quality meetings and DR, maintaining/managing quality information and quality data, and checking the appropriateness of complaint countermeasures, etc.). It also carries out activities to raise awareness about quality improvement.

‘Monozukuri’ Audits

Purpose and method of the ‘Monozukuri’ Audits

Conventional quality, environment, and safety audits that have been conducted for each business site made it difficult for us to identify the root issues each business site is faced with, due to factors such as insufficient man-hours spent on the audits, inadequate skills of the auditors, and a lack of information provided beforehand.

Furthermore, the internal audits conducted by each business site focused on the management system, and It was not possible to successfully link the activities from the extraction of essential issues to the prevention of recurrence and prevention.

Therefore, in order to resolve these problems, we built an audit system (combining ‘Monozukuri’ Audits and internal audits) that is able to identify the root issues in each business site, correct and improve the situation, and prevent occurrence and recurrence of issues.

(1) Audits will be conducted in greater detail (review of questions on check sheet) to inspect and cover audit points that could pose or predict problems in terms of quality, EHS, or production that occurred last year.
(2) Business sites will be inspected jointly by the three promotion departments (quality assurance, EHS, SBPS) within the Corporate Production Management & Engineering Division (‘Monozukuri’ Audits).
(3) Internal audits conducted by each business site will contain inspection items from ‘Monozukuri’ Audits to enable business sites to correct/improve issues autonomously using the PDCA cycle.
(4) Monozukuri’ Audits will inspect internal audit results, the status of corrective actions or improvements, and important matters, and also involve follow-ups, etc.

In fiscal 2021, we established and implemented an educational plan in order to strengthen education for Internal Auditors by dividing into finely differentiated steps the process starting before internal auditing and proceeding beyond "Monozukuri" Audits.

Results of ’Monozukuri’ Audits

In fiscal 2021, we conducted remote audits at four domestic business sites under direct control (the Shizuoka, Kanuma, Amagasaki and Utsunomiya Plants), four subsidiaries (Kyushu Sumitomo Bakelite Co., Ltd. Akita Sumitomo Bakelite Co., Ltd. Yamaroku Kasei Industry Co.Ltd. and S.B. Sheet Waterproof Systems Co., Ltd. [Nara Plant]), and overseas at Sumitomo Bakelite (Nantong) Co., Ltd. Initially, we planned to conduct remote audit test cases at one domestic site and one overseas site in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we expanded the testing to 4 sites in Japan (including 2 sites of subsidiaries) and 1 site overseas, including whether it is possible to conduct remote audits instead of on-site audits when on-site audits are not possible.

Although there are some issues with limitations on the places to be inspected within business sites, and in checking on places not scheduled at the time of the audits, we were generally able to achieve our objectives through detailed discussions with the business sites in advance.

In addition, we changed the evaluation method of audits to a method that can reflect the efforts of each office in the evaluation, and by promoting the motivation of each office, we have oriented the internal audit to lead to more in-depth activities. In fiscal 2022, we will continue to improve our systems to enhance internal audits.

About 'Monodukuri' Audits
A ‘Monozukuri’ Audit at the Utsunomiya Plant

A ‘Monozukuri’ Audit at the Utsunomiya Plant

A ‘Monozukuri’ Audit at the Shizuoka Plant

A ‘Monozukuri’ Audit at the Shizuoka Plant

A ‘Monozukuri’ Audit at the Shizuoka Plant

A ‘Monozukuri’ Audit at the Shizuoka Plant

A ‘Monozukuri’ Audit at Sumitomo Bakelite (Nantong) Co. (remote audit)

A ‘Monozukuri’ Audit at Sumitomo Bakelite (Nantong) Co. (remote audit)

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