Product Quality

Initiatives at the Development and Design Stage

In order to improve the quality of products, it is important to avoid contamination by defects in upstream processes, and to ensure quality in each process so that defective products are not allowed to flow into later processes. From this perspective, TEL is promoting front-loading and self-process assurance systems. In order to raise the degree of product quality at an early stage, we implement thorough risk detection and mitigation measures (FMEA*1) from the initial stages of product design in an effort to suppress the occurrence or outflow of defects. We also conduct thorough inspections in each process and verification using simulation in the self-process assurance system. Furthermore, these measures are implemented continuously and effectively in order to prevent similar problems, including using TEL 6 Step to discover the root cause of defects which occur at customer sites or internally.

*1 FMEA: Failure Mode and Effects Analysis. Method to grasp risks in advance, prevent and mitigate

Initiative Case Studies

At Tokyo Electron Kyushu, the Quality Assurance Division takes the initiative and implements their own method of quality control. They grouped their whole process in the factory by four phases (development, preparation for mass production, mass production and critical parts management) and make proposals with a different perspective from the developers by leveraging knowledge accumulated by the Quality Assurance Division. In these four phases, they identify quality risks with consideration of irregular work, equipment with new specifications and so on. They also conduct strict checks taking customer operations into consideration and propose measures that are effective for quality improvement and ensure thorough implementation of those measures. In this way, they aim to eradicate defects that occur after shipment of their products.

Education

TEL believes that every employee needs to have a high awareness and understanding of quality and conducts various educational programs to this end.

In addition to the fundamental quality education that all new employees receive, we focus on PDCA education for all employees including those overseas. Through e-learning courses, employees learn the need for continuous improvement using the iterative four steps of the PDCA cycle. As of March 2018, 87% of our employees had completed the courses.

In addition, we promote an education program called TEL 6-Step, a problem-solving model for serious problems aimed at employees in production and service divisions. This is a customized version of the eight discipline (8D) problem-solving method*1 widely used in quality control. The TEL 6-step program enables systematic and reliable analysis of problems to determine the root cause, leading to quick implementation of countermeasures and prevention of similar problems. We currently use e-learning training for delivery, and as of March 2018, approximately 5,000 employees had completed the program. Since 2015, we have conducted not only online education but also group training aimed at overseas subsidiaries and development teams to provide opportunities for practical learning about resolution of quality issues.

Moreover, to enable employees to improve their knowledge and skills in the area of quality control, and to improve the quality of their work, we encourage them to obtain external QC certification*2 through the QM/QC Exam (Quality Management and Quality Control Examination). Since fiscal 2012, the number of certified employees has increased each year to approximately 2,000 as of March 2018.

*1 8D problem solving method: A method for solving problems in quality improvement through eight disciplines or processes
*2 QC certification: Quality management certification operated by the Japanese Standards Association and the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers. The total number of people qualified nationwide exceeds 460,000 (as of February 2018)

Response to Quality Problems

TEL complies with ISO and EN safety standards, as well as establishing design rules applicable to its own equipment to achieve the highest level of safety possible.

In addition to developing systems to manufacture safe products, we fulfill our mission as an equipment manufacturer by developing systems for responding to design- or manufacturing-related issues or accidents arising from operation-related problems. If an accident occurs, we use our S-VICS accident reporting system to report and share information with all levels of management, from safety and quality personnel in each division all the way to senior management. We immediately conduct an accident investigation to identify the cause and plan preventive measures. In addition to implementing the measures on the problem equipment, we use a proprietary system called QABOX*1 to quickly implement the measures on equipment operated by other customers and reflect those measures in design standards in operation.

*1 QABOX: TEL Group internal information sharing and horizontal deployment tool
*2 FCN: Field Change Notice (general recall notice)