Since its founding, the DENSO Group has been dedicated to providing safe, high-quality services that will satisfy customers and earn their trust based on a commitment under the DENSO Group Sustainability Policy. We have designated the thorough implementation of the Quality First principle, the practice of quality assurance from the beginning of production and the promotion of quality control with full employee participation as basic quality assurance policies. We are committed to carrying out the Quality First principle in creating products.
Additionally, based on information collected by sales and technology departments from customers, we are continuously making efforts to ensure that our customers are satisfied with our level of quality.
In order to provide the best products for customers around the world, the DENSO Group has established technical centers in Japan, the United States, Germany, Thailand, China, India, and Brazil. In doing so, the Group has put into place a global structure that allows for product development, quality testing, and quality evaluation to be carried out in accordance with the characteristics of each region.
Furthermore, the DENSO Group has completed the acquisition of IATF 16949 certification, an international standard for quality management systems in the automotive industry.
Quality assurance policies and systems
Reinforcement of Fundamental Quality Technologies
Through our quality control promotion structure, centered on specialists, in each technological field we are working to address the extremely challenging quality-related issues that we currently face. At the same time, we are taking the lead in developing quality-related technologies in our focus fields (automated driving, electrification, carbon neutrality, and fuel cells, etc.) with attention to future changes in the operating environment. By applying such technologies in the development of new products, we are striving to prevent future quality-related issues.
Quality control of new products—Product development that places safety assurance as its top priority
For the quality assurance process of new products, specialized departments such as quality control and production technology are undertaking unified efforts to strictly check quality by visualizing the degree of product completion as well as quality-related risks.
Design departments thoroughly employ safety designs, such as fail-safe designs,*1 and conduct safety evaluations. They also promote system and product design pursuant to ISO 26262 certification for functional safety. Particularly, for the design stage, in order to assure high reliability and durability, we repeatedly conduct in-vehicle testing under a range of conditions such as high-speed driving, rough roads, low temperatures and icing on our test course, as well as various tests in our environmental testing room. In these ways, we carefully verify product quality.
Furthermore, from product planning to production and shipment, functional departments clearly specify operational procedures and responsible departments strictly monitor compliance with applicable laws and regulations in each stage. When launching new products in particular, the responsible departments are required to conduct safety evaluations based on internal regulations and to report on the results of legal compliance checks.
In particular, for automated driving, we have developed unique road environment measurement systems*2 that monitor conditions in the surrounding environment when unexpected vehicle behavior occurs while test driving. On our test course, we recreate such conditions to research why the unexpected behavior occurred, thereby working to improve product quality. In addition, by using dummy cars to simulate situations where the risk of collision occurs, such as when a car suddenly pulls out in front of another car, we have established a safe testing environment that can consistently reproduce various situations on the road. In these ways, we are working to thoroughly ensure the safety of our automated driving products.
Road environment measuring systems
Analysis of measurement results
Evaluation of vehicle pulling out in front of another vehicle using a dummy car
Quality Improvement Activities Leveraging Vehicle Data—Establishing Foundational Data Analysis Systems
We are stepping up our efforts to swiftly address the quality-related issues that have occurred in the market. When quality-related issues have arisen, we have conventionally undertaken efforts to research the causes after collecting the defective products. At the moment, however, we are working to establish foundational systems to effectively analyze big data collected from vehicles, such as the driving conditions when a defect occurred as well as information on the surrounding environment and vehicle operational status, before we conduct a product recall. Through such systems, we will be able to automatically visualize and subsequently analyze vehicle control information in a highly effective manner in order to identify the cause of the problem. Going forward, we will strive to apply to these foundational systems AI-based technologies that identify causes of failure and detect signs of failure in advance, thereby further accelerating efforts to address failures and working to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Education, training, and activities to raise awareness
The DENSO Group considers hitozukuri (human resource development) to be the foundation of its business and thus nurtures technical and skilled employees in a systematic and ongoing manner while also handing down the DENSO-style of monozukuri (manufacturing) through hands-on practical education and training.
Main Education Activities
Implementation of position-based educational activities on quality for new employees, second-year employees, and newly appointed division heads and managers
Establishment of the Quality Dojo, which fosters the technical capabilities of quality assurance personnel through practical education and discussions in small groups
Implementation of Monozukuri DNA Training, where employees slated to be seconded overseas gain practical education on the vital points of quality while working on imitation production lines
Adoption of e-learning materials and online training that can be received remotely at Group companies both in Japan and overseas
For over 10 years, we have been providing a broad range of learning opportunities related to AI and big data utilization. In addition, our engineers, administrative employees, and managers have all received literacy training so that they are able to make proper use of AI within their day-to-day work. Furthermore, through the AI Practical Application Dojo and other initiatives, we aim by the end of fiscal 2023 to cultivate 2,000 AI-savvy personnel who can make full use of AI at work.
Furthermore, we have developed tools that make it easy to utilize big data via a tablet device in order to reform our quality control activities in a manner that better suits the era of digital natives. Leveraging these tools, we commenced educational training geared toward users involving improvement activities based on deeper, previously unnoticed perspectives.
Automotive technology, including advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), automated driving (AD), and connected cars, continues to evolve, but our desire to continue to provide high-quality products, systems, and services that prevent accidents remains unchanged. Moving forward, we will strengthen our future-oriented quality assurance systems and initiatives to continue providing society with high-quality products and services.