Relations with Customers

Quality

 The Alps Electric Group views quality as a paramount factor influencing the heart of our business activities and pursues quality improvements in line with the Fundamental Quality Control Policy.
 To facilitate improvements in global quality performance, quality-related achievements and issues pertaining to products are regularly reported to the Board of Directors to be shared Group-wide rather than leave units to address issues individually.
 Both in Japan and overseas, quality problems can lead to major business risks. Under the motto, “Quality is our future,” the Alps Electric Group is making concerted efforts to maintain and improve quality and to anticipate and prevent problems before they occur.

The Fundamental Quality Control Policy and the Mid-Term Business Plan

 Alps Electric continues to guarantee a standard of excellence in all its products and services to satisfy customer needs. Under the 8th Mid-Term Business Plan, we will work to realize globally consistent quality by eliminating variations in structures and competence from product to product and between production bases, and by achieving a high level of quality stability.

Fundamental Quality Control Policy

Quality Management Systems (QMS)

 International standards for quality management systems (QMS) are essential for business as they demonstrate that all departments, through quality assurance, help to realize higher levels of customer satisfaction.
 All production plants of the Alps Electric Group (including plants outside Japan) have acquired ISO 9001 certification. We have also finished acquiring ISO/TS 16949 certification for plants producing products for the automotive industry. In addition, we have been implementing a standardized QMS both in Japan and overseas since April 2015 as one measure aimed at realizing globally consistent quality.
 *For a list of certified facilities, see the Alps Electric website.

Quality Assurance System

Global Quality Information System (GQIS)

 The Global Quality Information System (GQIS) allows global sharing of quality-related information to enable containment (prevention) of problems through swift improvements right across the organization. The system makes it possible to share quality information from customers or the market with bases worldwide and that information is used to promptly carry out cause analysis and take action. Measures and improvements implemented are subsequently turned into permanent measures and made key check points in recurrence prevention and next-generation model development.
 The GQIS was initially launched in Japan in 2001. A revamped system with improved analysis functions and more powerful search and tracking features went online globally in April 2016. We will use the system in tandem, and interlinked with, engineering systems to improve quality even further.

Global Quality Information System (GQIS)

Active Use of Quality Engineering (QE)

Manufacturing and QE personnel in discussion about process quality improvements

Manufacturing and QE personnel
in discussion about process quality improvements


 Quality problems, when they occur, lead to not only loss of trust, but also huge adverse effects on earnings and subsequent efforts to capture and maintain business. Defect issues we hear about today, typified by vehicle recalls, have a potentially extensive scope due to the globalization of business and changing business models, including the use of common parts. Sometimes problems have major implications for society. If that happens, it is already too late. Determining how to prevent quality problems before they occur is therefore crucial.
 One way the Alps Electric Group does this is through active use of quality engineering (QE).
 In the development and design stage, for example, we evaluate the stability of functions and optimize design parameters, while envisaging the manner and environmental conditions in which the customer (market) will use the product, in order to improve product robustness.* In manufacturing, we apply QE concepts and methods to assessment of final product quality to enable shipment of products with little variation in characteristics. These initiatives are undertaken at bases both in Japan and overseas.
 We are also working to enhance education about QE by covering the various methods in in-house engineer training programs so that more of our engineering personnel learn about and deepen their knowledge of the concept and then practice it in their respective jobs. In specific scenarios, QE personnel join in to aid solutions to a wide range of issues. And to improve the effectiveness of QE, QE personnel continually refine their expertise through interaction with outside parties, such as the Quality Engineering Society.
 We will step up efforts to prevent quality problems by utilizing QE right from development and design so that we can supply customers with products of a quality they will be satisfied with.

*Robustness: The degree to which a supplied product can perform its intended function under the various conditions customers might use it (methods of use, treatment, hot, humid, dusty, or other kinds of environments, etc.)


Ensuring Functional Safety of Automotive Products

 Safety requirements for products incorporated into vehicles are mounting due to expanding application of electronics to automobiles and the spread of technologies like sophisticated driver assistance systems and autonomous driving systems. To ensure delivery to customers of safe, dependable products, the Alps Electric Group was quick to establish commercialization processes and systems conforming to ISO 26262 (certified November 2011) and has already successfully developed numerous products compliant with the functional safety standard for automakers at home and abroad.
 We aim to foster a safety culture where all employees involved with automotive products put safety first in their decision-making and actions. Related activities are pursued in line with a Corporate policy in “Functional safety guide”.
 A management review of safety-related activities takes the form of regular, comprehensive examination of activities by the Board of Directors. This is linked to ongoing improvement activities at the company-wide level through formulation and implementation of annual action policies and priority measures.

Ensuring Functional Safety of Automotive Products