Libmonster ID: JP-1240

A. N. KOVTUNOVA, Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences, Ural Federal University Business School (Yekaterinburg)

Quality management Keywords:small and medium businesscontinuous improvementorganizational philosophyJapan

Scientific, technical and economic achievements of Japan are usually associated with the names of several dozen major corporations (Toyota, Hitachi, Sony, Toshiba, Canon, etc.). Meanwhile, small and medium-sized businesses make a significant contribution to the development of this country.

Today, there are about 7 million small and medium-sized enterprises operating in Japan, employing more than 40 million people (approximately 80% of the total number of employees). These enterprises, according to various estimates, account for from 40 to 70% of the volume of industrial production. They occupy a dominant position in such industries as clothing, footwear, haberdashery, manufacturing of components and structures, construction, services (including equipment maintenance), etc.*

Japanese small businesses are very heterogeneous in their forms of business organization, management methods, degree of development, and technical level of production. In addition, there are differences in the degree of economic independence, the level of labor productivity and wages, profitability indicators, etc.

In recent years, under the influence of a number of factors (market saturation, diversification of customer needs, increasing complexity of products, increasing requirements for goods and services, price competition, etc.), small and medium-sized businesses in Japan are undergoing significant changes. In particular, more and more attention is being paid to the issues of quality management of products and services. This indicator becomes the basis for the competitiveness of Japanese enterprises, many of which fulfill orders from large firms - machine-building, aircraft-building, automobile-building, etc.

The article describes the practical experience of using quality management tools in small and medium-sized enterprises Fukanaka makki kobe, Komatsu bane kobe, Zenan, Tokyo Titanium. Following the development and implementation of the most advanced technologies, these companies produce original and often even unique products (medical instruments, titanium springs, nuts and washers, titanium heat exchangers, electrodes, etc.).


Tokyo-based Fukanaka Makki Kogyo Joint Stock Company is a family-owned company with barely 15 employees. The company has been operating in the Japanese market since 1953 and is engaged in the application of metal coatings, including anti-corrosion, on various metal surfaces. The company processes parts for household electrical goods, automobiles, medical instruments, etc. One of the few companies in the world, the company covers the internal components of copiers and provides 70% of the needs of the Japanese domestic market for components of boards for flat screens (monitors, televisions).

Komatsu Bane kogyo (also from Tokyo) was established in 1941 and has been continuously engaged in the design and production of various types of springs since the very beginning of its activity, occupying a leading position among manufacturers of precision (high-precision) springs in the country. Its products are used in electronics (various switches, keyboards for personal computers, switches, home electronics, etc.), radio equipment (telephones, mobile phones, transmitters, chargers, etc.), in the production of watches and cameras, medical equipment, and health products (springs for supporting optical fiber in gastroscopes, batteries in medical devices). blood pressure measuring devices, etc.), etc.

Despite the fact that the equipment and production technologies have been used by this company for several decades, the company is continuously improving, developing new types of products, and rationalizing production. The company employs 30 employees.

A distinctive feature of the Tokyo Zenan enterprise is

The article is based on the results of the author's internship in Japan in September 2011 in accordance with the Presidential Program of Management Training for enterprises of the National Economy of the Russian Federation " on the topic "Quality control in small and medium-sized enterprises" within the framework of technical assistance programs for Russia by Japanese centers operating in the Russian Federation.

Lebedeva I. P. Small business in Japan. Moscow, East-West. 2004, pp. 5-16.

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A quality management model for small businesses in Japan.

a clear focus on the development and production of high-quality new products, and not by improving existing technologies, but by creating new ones. The company designs, manufactures and installs surveillance devices, aircraft parts, large-sized elements of electric generators, maintenance equipment, and test equipment.

It is also actively engaged in research and development activities, conducting independent developments in the field of cogeneration systems (joint generation of electric and thermal energy), boards for slot machines, robots for patient care and rescue.

Tokyo Titanium, located in Saitama Prefecture, has become a pioneer in Japan in the processing of titanium and the sale of titanium materials. This company, which employs more than 100 people, is a medium-sized enterprise. It occupies those market niches that are inaccessible to small businesses. At the same time, significantly inferior to large firms in terms of financial capabilities, the company operates in those market segments where there is little threat of collision with large corporations.


Quality issues at Japanese enterprises are given increased attention regardless of their industry affiliation, the size of the organization, the degree of manufacturability of the products produced.

The quality of a product is most often understood as its ability to meet the needs of customers or even exceed them. As Hide-yuki Ozawa, the head of one of the Japanese enterprises, said, "Quality is the production of parts that are inexpensive, quickly produced and installed, and that completely satisfy customers." At the same time, employees of Japanese enterprises have in mind not only the quality of the products themselves, but also the quality of planning, design, production and use, as well as the management of production processes.

Generally, the quality management model in these Japanese companies can be represented as a four-level model (see Figure).

Let's look at each of the levels in more detail.

The company's philosophy defines the values and principles in accordance with which it intends to carry out its activities. The philosophy of all firms proclaims the desire to benefit society, improve the economic performance of their own activities and take care of their development.

The company's values are reflected in its mission, "policy" and quality goals. For example, Komatsu bane kobe formulated her mission as follows::

"Our high-quality springs are born on the basis of a clear understanding of their importance and a comprehensive respect for the needs of our customers:

Clear understanding. We understand that one small spring is an important part that affects the high-precision operation of all equipment, and we are working to improve our technologies based on this understanding.

Production in the name of the client. We create springs in full compliance with the drawings, as well as design springs taking into account various parameters (size, shape, strength, etc.).

Total quality control. The system of total control and inspections at all stages - from order acceptance, production and up to product shipment - ensures high quality of the products produced."

The company's" quality policy " is formulated as follows::

"1. Quality assurance is our approach to work since the foundation of the company.

2. The created system of total control and inspections at all stages - from order acceptance, its production and up to product shipment - makes it possible to produce a more advanced product."

In 2011, Komatsu bane kobe set a quality goal to reduce the cost of production and increase productivity by improving professional skills, as well as improve working conditions and create an environment that provides employees with peace of mind and comfort.

Fukanaka makki kogyo's quality goals are to "exceed customer expectations in terms of product safety and environmental balance" and reduce electricity usage by 20%.

Tokyo Titanium's "policy" in this area is formulated as follows::

- To produce products based on the most effective quality control and technology, to achieve customer satisfaction

page 31

customer needs and trust on their part.

- Promptly identify the constantly changing and evolving needs of society and customers, work on further improving the level of quality control and technology, and strive for the first place in terms of quality assurance among industry enterprises.

- Adapt to the changing needs of our customers, constantly improve quality, technology, costs and delivery times.

Zenan's quality goals are " to improve product quality and customer satisfaction and trust in the company."

Based on the goals, specific measures are developed to ensure quality in the departments as a whole and by each of the employees.

Tokyo Titanium's mission statement, "Produce titanium products with quality and technology, and achieve maximum customer satisfaction," is repeated every morning at the general assembly.

The leading role in the formulation and dissemination of the organization's philosophy is played by its managers. A characteristic feature of small businesses is that if the company does not have a special division (quality department), its managers often take on the function of quality assurance. They work continuously to communicate the company's philosophy to the company's staff, initiate the development of quality standards, and regularly conduct training in the field of quality.


In modern conditions, high-quality business processes become the cornerstone in the development of any enterprise, including small ones. The main and supporting processes, due to the specifics of production, are organized differently at enterprises. But in any case, representatives of companies continuously emphasize the need to ensure quality guarantees in the design and planning, production of products and services, quality of use, as well as the quality of company management.

Implementation of processes in companies is achieved by:

- lean production that helps eliminate losses (including creating a stable load). The company Tokyo Titanium and some others are actively implementing the 5S system, developed in the post-war period by Toyota. This system is based on five basic principles: "sorting" - a clear division of things into necessary and unnecessary and getting rid of the latter; maintaining order, neatness - organizing the storage of necessary things, which allows you to quickly and easily find and use them; cleanliness - keeping the workplace clean and tidy; maintaining order - a necessary condition to fulfill the first three rules; habit formation - instilling the habit of accurately following established rules, procedures, and technological operations;

- creating a "flow" of value creation for consumers, society, and the economy. This takes into account the fact that the competitiveness of an organization is ensured by "attractive quality" (in accordance with the" theory of attractive quality " developed by Noriaki Kano of the Tokyo University of Natural Sciences)*;

- creating a quality control system. For example, in Zenan, the quality assurance system contains a diagram that is linked to specific types of activities and structural divisions.

Quality control in this company is carried out on the basis of comprehensively developed organizational standards (there are 16 of them in total, including::

- organizational chart of the company, list of distribution of official duties, manual on inspections and control, manual on identification, procedure for monitoring measuring devices, etc.);

- development of well-established processes based on reliable, proven technology. Japanese CEOs believe that by standardizing the best methods and technologies available at the moment, the company is consolidating the level achieved. In the future, continuous improvement is achieved due to the adopted enterprise standard. For example, Fukanaka Mekki Kogyo's technology of applying an anti-corrosion coating to easily deformable parts, developed about 10 years ago, remains one of its main competitive advantages. And the technology of titanium engineering, accumulated since the founding of Tokyo Titanium in 1982 and continuously improved, is still in high demand today.

As a result, it is possible to ensure the output of the highest quality products. Komatsu bane kogyo provides each customer with a "Product Inspection Results Table" that confirms proper quality.

At Zenan, photos capture the entire production process and are presented as a complete report, which also allows the customer to participate in quality assurance.


Another factor that ensures quality in Japanese enterprises is their employees and partners. Employees of the company are considered as the most important strategic resource of the organization, on which, in fact, the output of high-quality products depends. Each of them is considered part of one big family. The company strives to ensure that-

* The Kano model is used to develop an organization's strategy and solve problems of ensuring customer satisfaction, reflects the perception of quality by the consumer and contributes to its understanding, since it shows the relationship between product quality and the parameters of this quality. In this model, three components of quality are distinguished as a whole: basic (basic), corresponding to the "mandatory" characteristics of the product; required (expected), corresponding to the "quantitative" characteristics of the product; attractive (advanced), corresponding to the "required" characteristics of the product. "surprise" characteristics of products that cause admiration (editor's note).

page 32

the place of their work should be perceived as a home where the most comfortable conditions are created, an atmosphere of mutual trust and interaction. At the Tokyo Titanium company, the slogan "Products - quality, people - work for the soul"is also repeated at the morning general construction.

At the same time, the stability of personnel is considered as the key to the success of the enterprise. It is not uncommon for employees to continue working after retirement (for example, the oldest employee, Komatsu bane koga, is 74 years old).

Managers at Japanese enterprises prefer to cultivate within the company, because the manager's work is not limited only to performing official duties and the ability to work with people. Managers are considered as carriers of corporate philosophy, they are the ones who set an example of attitude, approaches to decision-making. In addition, managers must demonstrate professionalism in literally everything, know the work of subordinates with all its nuances. However, due to the fact that most of the described enterprises belong to the category of family businesses, only family members were among the top managers.

Japanese companies play a very important role in employee training. On-the-job training is widely practiced, and a mentoring system is developed. In Komatsu bane koga, new employees are trained in all workshops for the first six months, get acquainted with various professions (this ensures a thorough understanding of the processes), and if there is a need for special knowledge, newcomers are sent to internships at other enterprises. The system of training and developing the potential of employees works to create a so-called quality culture. It is characterized by an awareness of the importance of the quality of their actions and decisions in achieving the goals set by production, society, and the state.

Relationships with partners and suppliers are also mainly built on the basis of long-term cooperation and long-term contracts.


In Japanese small businesses, the principle of "fact-based decision-making"is widely used. At the same time, simple quality management tools are used: control tables, graphs, diagrams that do not require special knowledge and skills to use them. Visual control is widely implemented, paper flip charts (magnetic marker boards) are used, and work teams regularly update information in tables and graphs. Spare parts warehouses use visualization tools, and you can see all sorts of labels and labels everywhere. Considering clear and clearly drawn up schedules, each of the employees receives complete information about the state of affairs in the enterprise.

Decisions made are consistently implemented (in Tokyo Titanium, there is even a slogan "Go without a doubt, sticking to the chosen path").

Thus, the" quality " of a product is understood not only as its current state, but also as the possibility of improving it in the future, and Japanese companies practice continuous improvement. Its tools include, in particular, the "five whys" method*. This helps identify the root causes of inefficiency or slow performance and identify effective countermeasures. At the same time, Japanese managers are supporters of gradual but continuous improvement of production.

Komatsu bane kobe is engaged in rationalizing production, working to improve the accuracy of processing, while at the same time implementing measures to reduce production costs, taking care of working conditions, creating a comfortable working environment that allows you to work calmly and stress-free.

Tokyo Titanium Company sees as a priority area of improvement: complete elimination of accidents and injuries (the slogan of 2011 is "Safety first"); increasing speed (customer service, office management, reporting, consulting), implementation of the "One day - one week" principle (same-day shipment, production - during the week); cost reduction ("cost reduction = price reduction").

* * *

In quality management at Japanese enterprises, there is a lot of valuable, worthy of skillful borrowing.

In Russia, Japanese methods of quality management are used in advanced enterprises. These methods are popularized by the All-Russian Quality Organization.

However, some aspects of this experience, in particular, a lifetime of work in one company, do not always fit into modern innovative production, which requires versatile experience and high, often unconventional, creativity. In addition, it is easy to see that this experience is largely based on the traditions and mentality of Japanese employees. It is not easy to copy it, as practice has shown in the United States, where in the early 1990s the fashion for Japanese management was very widespread. Japanese companies in China also faced great difficulties in working with personnel**.

* The "Five whys"method (principle) It was first used in the 1970s by Toyota to reduce or eliminate costs and increase labor productivity. The number "five" is conditional. This method consists of the following steps: identify a specific problem that needs to be solved; agree with the group on the formulation of the problem under consideration; when looking for a solution to the problem, start with the final result (problem) and go in the opposite direction (in the direction of the root cause), asking why the problem occurs; write the answer under the problem; if the answer does not identify the root cause of the problem, ask the question "Why?" again, and write a new answer below, etc. (editor's note).

** For more information, see; Kulneva P. V. How to manage Chinese personnel / / Asia and Africa Today, 2011, N 10 (editor's note).


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