Management Approach

Quality Assurance

Approach

The SMM Group’s three core businesses—Mineral Resources, Smelting & Refining, and Materials—collaborate closely, and we are continuously improving these products and endeavoring to provide high-quality products that meet the needs of our customers.

Policy

To provide our customers with high-quality products, the president, in whom ultimate accountability resides, has established a Company-Wide Quality Policy and sets SMM Quality Objectives every year. Based on these standards, each business division sets forth and implements division-specific quality targets and conducts quality activities whose vector is aligned with the entire SMM Group.

Company-Wide Quality Policy

Provide quality to satisfy our customers through continual improvements of quality assurance and control systems.

  1. Pursue quality levels that stand out from the trends of the time
  2. Abide by laws and rules and strive to create products incorporating safety and environmental considerations

Framework

Quality assurance is promoted—under the ultimate responsibility of the president—by designated officers responsible for quality assurance. Each business division develops and maintains their own quality assurance frameworks, while the Quality Assurance Department is the Head Office organization that manages quality across the entire Group and ensures a Group-wide unified approach.
Additionally, not only does the Quality Assurance Working Group—which comes under the CSR Committee—deliberate key measures for promoting quality assurance, it works to improve the Group’s quality assurance frameworks through the sharing of information on progress toward departmental targets and quality control status, and reduce the number of complaints against the Company.

Initiatives

Improving Effectiveness of Quality Management Systems

The SMM Group has established and operates quality management systems (QMS) at each of its business sites. To effectively operate those QMS, we have been conducting activities based on the SMM Quality Standards, which constitute a summary of the ideal form of QMS at our Company. Every fiscal year, each business site sets a target level for the SMM Quality Standards prior to engaging in improvement activities, and—while assessing these activities through internal quality audits and quality audits by the Quality Assurance Department—undertakes self-assessments of its level of quality achieved as of the end of the fiscal year. The effectiveness of QMS at business sites is continually being improved by setting new targets for the next fiscal year based on the results of these assessments and then conducting improvement activities.
Additionally, the SMM Quality Standards established in FY2016 were revised in FY2019 to include factors for preventing inappropriate acts that pertain to quality and the new knowledge gained in our activities up until that point. We will continue to improve the ideal form of QMS at the SMM Group and will ensure a level of quality that will satisfy our customers

Strengthening of Our Internal Quality Audits

We are reviewing the internal quality audits performed by our business sites and—based on the SMM Quality Standards—are implementing activities to achieve internal quality audits to identify potential internal issues from a third-person point of view and ensure that they are relayed to top management. We will also conduct audits to help prevent inappropriate acts that pertain to quality. To this end, we are holding training in various locations around Japan to nurture leaders in internal quality audits. In FY2019 we nurtured approximately 90 new leaders. In future we will progress this initiative to confirm whether internal quality audits are being implemented effectively at each business site.

Expansion of Group-Wide Quality Assurance Education

We have established a quality assurance education system so that our employees at all levels, from new employees to managers and supervisors, will be able to equip themselves with the QMS management capabilities that they need. The aim of this is to contribute to even better manufacturing and will enable employees to share their extensive knowledge and awareness of quality management.
In FY2019, we conducted an online training program, SMM Hinkaku, to give all employees at every organizational level an understanding of basic knowledge related to quality and to ensure they can use this knowledge in their work.

Disclosure of Information on Products and Services

Most items in the SMM Group product lineup are supplied as raw or processed materials for use by customers for manufacturing. Information that customers require in order to handle our products properly from safety and environmental perspectives, as well as information needed to enable them to supply final products, is basically communicated in product specifications at the time of contracting, during technical discussions and via product inspection certificates and safety data sheets (SDS), based on prior and the latest information, proprietary knowledge and necessary studies. SMM products supplied as final products to customers are carefully designed, incorporating considerations toward safety and environmental compatibility, and are only delivered after thorough trials and inspections carried out during their manufacture.*1 We make sure that information utilized for the above is always appropriate through management systems, reviewing it based upon the latest technology, laws and regulations and demands from customers.

*1 We also conduct surveys linked to life cycle assessments (LCA) for copper, nickel, and zinc through substance-specific associations.

Communication with Customers

As for raising the level of customer satisfaction, first, we will improve methods of measuring and evaluating customer satisfaction and then work to increase customer satisfaction through effective measures after accurately identifying the issues at hand. To that end, accurate and ample communication with customers is crucial. By keeping stakeholders in mind, the SMM Group builds products with quality, improving the yield of its products and contributing to resource and energy reduction efforts.

Initiatives to Take on Issues and Provide Improvements

All employees are aligned toward our objectives and future direction and actively take part in efforts to reach targets, so we are able to achieve quality that customers trust completely. This requires decisions and implementation based on facts obtained through external and internal communication. To ensure this is done, we will continue to implement initiatives to effectively utilize our quality management system through various activities focused on the SMM Quality Standards.

Information on SMM Products Requiring Disclosure by Labeling and Applicable Products/Services

Information requiring disclosure Applicable products/services
The sourcing of components of the product or service All products/ services containing substances requiring management under legislation while no such information requirement is addressed to our main products (raw materials and internally processed materials).
Content, particularly with regard to substances that might produce environmental or social harm All products/ services containing substances requiring management under legislation
Safe use of the product or service All products/ services containing substances requiring management under legislation
Environmental/ social harm from disposal of the products All products/ services containing substances requiring management under legislation

Methods for Providing Information

Provision of Information Relating to Specifications

Requested by the customer on the order received sheet to provide necessary information to them.

Provision of Information Relating to Chemicals

The SMM Group uses SDS, etc. to provide information on chemical substances contained in products, complying with regulations for chemical substances and usage, regarding health and safety.

Other Initiatives

The SMM Group also engages in transactions such as the sale of different types of lubricants to general consumers. In line with related laws and regulations, we provide information on products and services in this area through labeling, advertisements, and explanations to ensure correct understanding.

SDS (Safety Data Sheet)
A document listing information on a chemical, including the chemical substance, the product name, the supplier, hazards, safety precautions and emergency procedures.