In addition to daily communications, we hold Production Update Briefings and a TEL Partners Day to enhance relationships with suppliers. At these events, we present and exchange information on the management plans, market trends, business policies, and CSR initiatives. We also ask for continued cooperation in strengthening our supply chain, and honor outstanding suppliers to express our appreciation for their constant support.
Developing strong partnerships with suppliers is essential to improve product quality. Since 2000, we have regularly conducted Supplier Total Quality Assessments (STQA) to clarify what is expected of suppliers in terms of maintaining and improving quality.
Before starting business with new suppliers, an STQA is conducted via self-assessment to evaluate their product quality, costs, and information security. The assessment also includes CSR issues, including human rights, ethics, safety, and the environment. If any risks to quality are found, we visit the supplier on-site to explain the problems, our expectations for improvement, and the level of quality we require. After the supplier understands the issues, we ask that they plan and implement improvement measures. We also offer continual support to suppliers until all necessary improvements have been made. We conduct on-site audits once every three years at suppliers who manufacture important components and at suppliers where quality issues have been found.
We focus on the change control education with our suppliers. We aim to reduce the number of quality issues that occur as a result of changes to the design or manufacturing of equipment components and modules. We also aim to reduce the cost of quality improvements. We conduct briefings for suppliers to explain matters such as the importance of change control, and have conducted online training since fiscal 2016.