Ensure the fundamentals of manufacturing: quality and safety

Challenges

  • Improving product quality
  • Increasing customer satisfaction
  • Visualizing manufacturing quality using MES
  • Creating an RFID system to ensure traceability
  • Promoting improved awareness of tire safety

Relevant stakeholders

  • Direct: Customers (consumers), suppliers, employees, research bodies
  • Indirect: Shareholders and investors, creditors, local communities, NGOs, industry groups

Our policy

Our principle for manufacturing is to provide high-quality and safe products and services that are useful to society, and we state our basic policy for product quality and code of conduct in the Toyo Tire Group Global Product Safety Policy.
We operate a product quality management system based on IATF 16949 (or ISO 9001 at some production bases) to take measures against risk. We also run activities to promote tire safety awareness to help create a society without accidents.

Global Product Safety Policy

1. Fundamental Philosophy

As a responsible global company, we will promote sustainable management through our corporate activities to further enhance economic, environmental and social value.
We continue to strive and contribute to the creation of sustainable society as global environment protection first, which is put not only safe but also human health harmless.

2. Action Guidelines

  1. -1. As a company aiming for sustainable growth by creating a better symbiotic relationship between people and the earth, we provide environmentally friendly, safe and reliable products and services to our customers and society.
  2. -2. To assure the safety of products, we comply with the necessary internal and external rules, laws, regulations, standards and guidelines. We aim to develop products with a higher level of safety and lower environmental impact.
  3. -3. We consider product safety and global environment protection from the stages of product planning, development and design, through to production, sales, use, and even after the end of use.
  4. -4. We aim to manufacture without the production loss from the product planning, development, and design stages.
  5. -5. We consider recycling in the product planning, development, and design stages.
  6. -6. We conduct education and awareness-raising concerning every employee layer regarding product safety and environmental protection.
  7. -7. We well-inform and educate customers about methods of suitable use for products and misuse prevention. And we listen earnestly to their opinions and desires, and reflect them in our products. Thus, we will provide the safe and health-friendly products, and promote the global environmental protection.

Quality management system status

ISO 9001 certification (as of the end of May 2022)

Production facilities: 14 sites (3 Toyo Tire Corporation sites*, 11 affiliated company sites)
Sales bases (affiliated companies): 4 sites

  •  * The Kuwana Plant has independently acquired certification at two sites: its tire production plant and automobile parts plant.

IATF 16949 (formerly ISO/TS 16949) certification (as of the end of January 2022)

Production facilities: 9 sites (3 Toyo Tire Corporation sites, 6 affiliated company sites)

Responsible Executives (as of April 2022)

  • R&D: Director, Corporate Officer and Vice President of R&D Headquarters
  • Production Technology: Corporate Officer and Vice President of Production Headquarters
  • Products and services: Director, Corporate Officer and Vice President of Sales Headquarters
  • Quality assurance: Director, Corporate Officer and Vice President of Quality Assurance, Environment & Safety Headquarters

Activity promotion system (as of April 2022)

Quality Assurance, Environment & Safety Headquarters is responsible for promoting initiatives in this area, and reports progress to the Sustainability Committee.

Activity promotion system

Grievance mechanism

  • Reporting hotline (whistle-blowing system): For executives, employees and suppliers
  • Customer Relations Department: For customers (consumers) and local communities
  • Online inquiry form: For customers (consumers), shareholders and investors, and NGOs
  • In addition to the above routes, our technical service departments, Group sales companies and distributors also receive inquiries and complaints.

Activities: Improving product quality

Improving the development & production process

In manufacturing, we believe it important to achieve greater quality in upstream business processes. We aim to not only raise the quality of the products and services we introduce to the market, but also that of the development and production process itself.
For our Group’s newly developed products, the Quality Assurance Division checks the design reviews that are performed at each step, from product planning to the production preparation stage, to ensure that reliable quality is designed in from the start.
At our Tire Technical Center, we are verifying and working towards full-scale implementation of robotic process automation (RPA) software that automatically processes routine tasks. Through this, we aim to see how it improves operational efficiency by preventing potential risks in the course of business, such as human errors and fraud.

Meeting the quality standards of each country

In the face of factors such as greater climate change risks and increased demand for mobility in emerging countries due to population and economic growth, many localities are rapidly introducing new laws and systems addressing the performance and environmental quality of vehicles to improve their fuel efficiency and reduce their CO₂ emissions. We are working to strengthen our response to quality standards throughout the Group by meeting the growingly complex quality-related regulations in each country. At the four tire testing and evaluation sites in Japan, we test our tires in compliance with ISO/IEC 17025 (general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories) since our initial certification in 2013, and have been working to improve test accuracy and reliability to continue conducting tests in accordance with standard requirements.
In addition, our tire and automotive parts businesses each hold annual Global Quality Management Committee (Global QMC) meetings, bringing together quality assurance managers and relevant representatives from manufacturing bases worldwide to share and discuss each site’s initiatives related to product quality, improvement of quality systems for production, the logistics quality demanded by business partners, and supplier quality.

Meeting the quality standards of each country

In the face of factors such as greater climate change risks and increased demand for mobility in emerging countries due to population and economic growth, many localities are rapidly introducing new laws and systems addressing the performance and environmental quality of vehicles to improve their fuel efficiency and reduce their CO₂ emissions. We are working to strengthen our response to quality standards throughout the Group by meeting the growingly complex quality-related regulations in each country. At the four tire testing and evaluation sites in Japan, we test our tires in compliance with ISO/IEC 17025 (general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories) since our initial certification in 2013, and have been working to improve test accuracy and reliability to continue conducting tests in accordance with standard requirements.
In addition, our tire and automotive parts businesses each hold annual Global Quality Management Committee (Global QMC) meetings, bringing together quality assurance managers and relevant representatives from manufacturing bases worldwide to share and discuss each site’s initiatives related to product quality, improvement of quality systems for production, the logistics quality demanded by business partners, and supplier quality.

ISO/IEC 17025

Example efforts to meet quality standards

  • Collecting information locally
  • Making recommendations by participating in industry groups
  • Exchanging opinions with regulatory institutions
  • Sharing information on the latest legal and regulatory trends
  • Giving presentations on legal and regulatory matters

Improving service quality at sales companies

So that our customers can choose our products with confidence, peace of mind and satisfaction, we are striving to improve the level of service provided by sales associates and front office staff at our tire sales subsidiaries.
For example, Toyo Tire Japan Co., Ltd. and independent distributors in Japan conduct job-specific training to foster talent that possesses the required level of service quality for their respective roles, such as sales and customer service. To equip employees with the awareness and skills required to convey product value to customers clearly and correctly, they also provide specialized training for sales associates, technicians and front office staff.
In sales associate training, participants compete in performing tire inspections with hypothetical customers — for example, commercial truck and bus owners — to introduce the proper handling of tires and propose ways our products can solve issues in the transport industry, such as increasing costs and stricter fuel efficiency standards. Through this activity, employees understand how their own jobs help both customers and society, fostering a sense of duty and motivation towards their work. In 2022, they have been providing service to customers both remotely and in-person, taking necessary precautions against COVID-19.

Activities: Increasing customer satisfaction

Maintaining and improving quality and satisfaction

As a manufacturer, we understand that our products and services link us to both customers and society, and devote ourselves each day to maintaining and improving product quality at our production sites. We are also conscious of improving the “quality of organizational citizenship behaviors” at all workplaces, and strive to provide products and services designed with a customer-centric approach.
We also conduct ongoing product satisfaction surveys in markets where each product is available, and relay customer requests as feedback to design and production sites.
For example, for more than 50 years, we have held Quality Control (QC) circle activities to proactively raise quality control standards using employee insight from the frontlines. QC circles began at production sites and have now spread to sales divisions, with about 300 total circles currently running within the Group. Members bring with them their experience and knowledge in order to resolve problems, and work to improve quality by understanding current conditions, setting goals, developing activity plans and analyzing issues.
Each year we run a company-wide QC circle event where circle representatives from around the world visit our head office to present local initiatives for improving quality control and eliminating waste and loss in the workplace, with the aim of achieving a global information and learning exchange. The event did not take place in 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and in 2021 took place remotely with circle representatives from each base making online presentations that were assessed by a panel of judges. Moving forward, we will continue supporting QC circles to further improve worksite autonomy and customer satisfaction.

Responding to feedback from consumers

Every piece of feedback that we receive from our customers is valuable and provides us with opportunities to understand their expectations for the Group and improve our products and services. In 2021, our Customer Relations Department received a total of 2,164 inquiries in Japan. We respond to phone and online contact from customers both accurately and simply.
We analyze the content of these inquiries and send the findings to relevant departments to improve the usability of our products and services. Such efforts have led to the development of the Open Country series, our popular line of SUV tires, and the improvement of the readability of our catalogues and websites.
We take complaints seriously, and work with the Group's sales offices and technical service departments to ensure that issues are dealt with promptly and satisfactorily, and that the problem or complaint is resolved so that we can build a long-lasting positive relationship with the customer.

Actiities: Visualizing manufacturing quality using Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)

Visualizing manufacturing process quality data to improve processes

To provide product quality that satisfies customers, we at the Toyo Tire Group aim to build a quality assurance system that can predict and prevent issues from occurring in the manufacturing process.
To do so, we have introduced automatic measuring instruments into the tire manufacturing process, and are launching a system that digitally collects and visualizes quality- and production-related information from production equipment. This will ensure quality in each manufacturing process, and make it possible to analyze and monitor collected data to detect changes in process trends.
We have installed the system for some processes at model plants. Making improvements based on this data has resulted in reduced waste and loss, and improved productivity. We have also installed the system at our Serbian plant completed in 2022, and are planning to commence production with it.
Moving forward, we will expand the system into other processes at a model plant and work to introduce it at each manufacturing base, as well as foster data-centric talent and corporate culture.

Activities: Creating an RFID* system to ensure traceability

In May 2022, the Global Data Service Organization for Tires and Automotive Components (GDSO) was established as an international non-profit organization working to standardize and share tire data in the industry. We are creating technology to equip tires with radio frequency identifier (RFID) tags, and investigating how to utilize the acquired data.

  •  * Creating an RFID system to ensure traceability

Activities: Promoting improved awareness of tire safety

As a tire manufacturing and sales company, we at the Toyo Tire Group see it as our duty to educate customers on the importance of regular tire inspections for improving safety. Each year we run tire safety awareness events.

[TOPIC] Tire safety awareness activities in 2021

As a tire manufacturing and sales company that supports a society of safe mobility, we believe that one of our most important duties is to help drivers learn how to use tires appropriately.
Since the emergence of COVID-19, demand for cars as a mode of transportation has increased, and with it the need to further improve awareness of safety precautions, such as regularly checking tire pressure and driving carefully in adverse weather. Toyo Tire Corporation and sales subsidiary Toyo Tire Japan Co., Ltd. thus run tire safety awareness activities to help meet this need.
In 2021, nearly 700 drivers participated at six locations around Japan, with suitable precautions taken against the spread of COVID-19.
Using our proprietary driving simulator, participants experienced the difference between worn and new tires when breaking on wet roads or getting a puncture, maneuverability under different tire pressures, and hydroplaning. The activity was successful in improving awareness of tire safety, with participants reflecting that, “I’ll be more careful driving on rainy days,” and, “I realized I need to think more about my car’s tires.”
We will continue using our driving simulator to further boost interest in tires and help make drivers aware of how to use them properly.

A participant using the driving simulatorA participant using the driving simulator