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Providing Peace of Mind and Safety to Customers

Basic Concepts

KOKUYO always develops new products and services from the perspectives of customers, and, without being satisfied with the present conditions, we continue to improve the safety and quality of our entire product line and services.

Systems

Attainment of ISO 9001 (Quality Management System) Certification by All Companies

All Companies Achieved ISO 9001 (Quality Management System) Certification

As of June 2019, all companies in our corporate group have attained ISO 9001:2015 (which specifies requirements for a quality management system) and we have standardized the manufacturing (“craftsmanship process”) for our three main kinds of business: office furniture, stationery, and Kaunet’s office supplies. Our quality management systems, as well as complying with the requirements specified in ISO 9001:2015, are continually improved. In other words, we continually look for ways to make our workforce more quality consciousness and to improve customer satisfaction, believing that quality goes hand in hand with sustained business growth.

KOKUYO Quality Pledge

We shall continually aim to delight and win the trust of customers by providing products and services that help people work, play, and learn better.

  1. We shall endeavor to develop products that exceed customer expectations in every way
  2. We shall endeavor to ensure product safety and to raise the bar on product quality
  3. We shall comply with legal requirements and fulfill our corporate social responsibility
  4. We shall listen to customers and incorporate their feedback into the development cycle
  5. We shall update our management system in response to changes in the business landscape

January 1, 2019
Hidekuni Kuroda
President and CEO

* For stationery, standardization covers only KOKUYO-brand products. For office supplies (made by Kaunet), it covers only Kaunet-brand products.

Quality assurance for stationery

In order to deliver quality that our customers can trust, we have taken steps to systematically build, operate and improve our systems for quality assurance, covering planning, design, manufacturing, and distribution.

Quality Assurance at KOKUYO Stationery

1) Continually improving quality assurance

To ensure that customers can use our products safely and securely, we continually improve our system for quality assurance by updating the key processes (design review, safety review, production observation, chemical safety management, legal compliance). We also perform risk assessments to identify and mitigate potential risks.

2) Inspection and testing based on international standards

When testing and inspecting products, we apply international standards. We evaluate testing and inspection processes with a view to improving the country-specific standards. Additionally, we endeavor to do more to catch defects before the product is sold to customers.

3) Responding to customer complaints quicker and more accurately

It is not enough for a product to be objectively safe; the customer must feel reassured that it is so. This is especially true in today’s world, where people have a plethora of information at their fingertips. Accordingly, we need to respond all the quicker and all the more accurately to customer complaints. To that end, we have established clear and standardized protocols, tools, and criteria for responding to such incidents. Such standardization streamlines the response process and minimizes inconsistencies in responses.

Introduction of robots in quality testing

Robotics technology for quality testing

4) Testing for quality, testing for value

We have always performed thorough quality evaluations when updating products or releasing new ones, and we recently introduced robotics to enhance the reproducibility and accuracy of the testing. For a product to satisfy customers, it must not only be reasonably priced and reliable; it must also have a wow-factor. We have started quantifying the extent to which a product has this.

Quality assurance for furniture

Our furniture businesses attained ISO 9001 certification in 1997. Since then, we have standardized the marketing, planning, design, production, and installation processes for furniture. We use a PDCA cycle to ensure that we always provide products and services that are tailored to the changing ways in which people work, study, and live. We continually strive to improve our manufacturing, delivery, and installation. We listen to feedback from customers and use this feedback to inform and guide our continual-improvement activities.

1) Setting high standards for craftsmanship

When developing a product, we assess safety and functionality using a variety of metrics. As well as measuring the product against the Japanese Industrial Standards and other industry standards, we measure it against our own standards, which are even higher and which we update annually.

2) Dealing with defects

When a customer finds a defect in one of our products, we inform the relevant personnel without delay. As well as investigating the cause for the defect, we make the necessary improvements in the product or manufacturing process to prevent a similar defect.
If there is a serious safety issue, the Risk Compliance Committee will determine the response. To limit the damage, we will notify the relevant authorities and issue notices on our website and in newspapers and other media to alert consumers.

3) Public notices concerning safety or quality issues

Photo

KOKUYO corporate site
“Public notices on our website”

We use our website to alert consumers about safety or quality issues with our products.

Quality assurance for Kaunet’s products

Kaunet has a huge lineup that includes stationery, office supplies, food and drink, home appliances, gifts, medical equipment, shop equipment, order-made business cards and seals/stamps, and office furniture. The business has around a thousand suppliers. It also has its own premium brand, Kaukore, which emphasizing workplace productivity. At least 5,200 products are sold under this brand. Kaunet always strives to develop useful products based on ideas from the user’s perspective. To ensure that its products are safe and command confidence, Kaunet works together in the value chain to improve not only the quality of its goods but also the customer service at call centers and delivery.

1) Kaukore, Kaunet’s premium series

Kaukore, Kaunet’s premium series, features solutions to customers’ problems. Kaunet will keep producing unique problem-solving products based on the feedback of customers and ideas of employees.

Kaukore, Kaunet’s premium series
Our efforts on simple packaging

Our efforts on simple packaging

2) Hearing it straight from the customers : Monitor Kaunet

Kaunet operates Monitor Kaunet, a web community through which it interacts with customers directly. Monitor Kaunet helps Kaunet understand the concerns and problems customers experience on a daily basis, providing inspiration for product ideas.

3) A call center for hearing customer feedback on a daily basis

As well as Monitor Kaunet, Kaunet operates a call center. The feedback obtained over the phone leads to improvements to existing products and services as well as to new products. Kaunet shares the feedback throughout the entire company so that it can improve its products and services.

4) Trustworthy delivery service

Customers can order Kaunet products on the company’s website or from its printed catalog. Goods are delivered on the same day or on the following day at the latest. An assembly service is also available for bulky furniture and items that are tricky to assemble. For this service, delivery staff trained in furniture assembly will assemble and install the item in the customer’s office or home and take all the packaging away with them.

Office Activities in Response to Disasters

1) Researching solutions for earthquake-resilient offices

More needs to be done to mitigate the risk of earthquakes. This point is starkly illustrated by historic disasters such as the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake and the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, and it is a concern that our customers have often raised. Accordingly, we are testing a number of ideas for earthquake resilience. The KOKUYO Disaster-Preparedness Lab has researched ways to make disaster-preparedness more practical for office workers. From the vast body of data it accumulated, the lab team derived a way to model the relationship between seismic waves and earthquake-resilience measures and established an objective criteria for measuring the earthquake-resilience of furniture. Using this criteria, we offer customers a menu of options with varying levels of earthquake resilience and cost so that they can choose the combination that suits their needs and budget.

* View the lab’s findings on earthquake-resilient offices"

2) A menu of disaster-preparedness options

Disaster preparedness is an essential component of business continuity planning. We have developed both goods and solutions (installation, operation) to fulfill this need. Our Parts-Fit series features goods for disaster preparedness, which were designed to function effectively in times of non-emergency as well as emergency. We also provide Sonaeru, a guidebook on disaster preparedness. Our aim in providing these goods and services is to help customers reconcile the needs of the everyday work environment with the need to provide for times of emergency, as expressed in Sonaeru’s slogan, which loosely translates as “disaster-preparedness nestled with everyday work.”

PARTS-FIT

PARTS-FIT

elecabi: A cabinet for elevators designed as a safety measure for emergencies

elecabi: A cabinet for elevators designed as a safety measure for emergencies

Online workshop for the internal auditing team

The workshop was conducted online to avoid the risk of infection

The workshop was conducted online to avoid the risk of infection

Having obtained ISO 9001 certification in 2019, we organized a workshop for the internal audit team to raise their expertise in our quality management system.
The workshop consisted of a lecture and learning tasks in which the attendees learned how to use turtle diagrams and other tools to visualize and analyze processes. The event was well appreciated by instructor and attendees alike. In a questionnaire completed after the workshop, around 90% said that their ability improved as a result. We will continue to use events such as this to promote awareness of our quality management system among internal and external audit teams.

Tenth KOKUYO Supply Logistics Contest

The presenters

The presenters

On October 17, 2020, we held the tenth KOKUYO Supply Logistics Contest. This year, the contest was a hybrid event, held both online and in person. A record high of more than 80 people attended, including those involved in production and those in marketing and sales. The event was observed by KOKUYO Supply Logistics, our partners, and our group companies in Japan and overseas. Six presentations were commended in order to encourage the rollout of continuous-improvement activities and greater group solidarity. The contestants presented ideas for streamlining production, ordering, and delivery processes, for reducing heavy work, and for continuously improving operations and production. We will continue initiatives such as these to promote collaborative efforts for continuous improvement and to further strengthen coordination between each business.