Material Issues / Governance

Quality Assurance

Approach

The SMM Group has established and operates a business model based on three-business collaboration between the Mineral Resources, Smelting & Refining, and Materials Busi-nesses. Through this business model, we endeavor to contin-uously improve products and respond to changing customer needs in order to deliver quality that satisfies customers.

Policy

To provide quality that satisfies customers, the president 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 that are aligned across 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

We are promoting quality assurance under the ultimate responsibility of the president by designating officers responsible for quality assurance. Each business division develops and maintains their own quality assurance frameworks, while the Quality Assurance Department 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 activities, it works to improve the Group’s quality management systems (QMS) 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 divisions and business sites. To effectively operate those QMS, we have been conducting improvement 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.
The SMM Quality Standards are also revised each year to raise QMS to the level required by the Group so that we can deliver quality that satisfies customers.

Strengthening of Our Internal Quality Audits

Based on the SMM Quality Standards, we are carrying out activities to achieve internal quality audits which work with a third-party-like perspective to identify potential internal issues from problems that have been found, and relay these findings to top management. We hold training to cultivate internal quality auditors at business sites in Japan, through which we have developed around 140 of such auditors to date. Since FY2020, we have been engaging some of these auditors to confirm the effectiveness of these audits through actual audits, and have been running a PDCA cycle for cultivating these auditors.

Expansion of Group-Wide Quality Assurance Education

We are developing training based on our quality assurance education system that aims to give each level of employee, from new employees to managers, the necessary knowledge regarding quality and management ability. Since FY2019, we have been offering the SMM Hinkaku* program, an e-learning course for all employees that provides basic knowledge regarding quality, and we are constantly improving the con-tent of this program.

Trainees learn the minimum level of knowledge and awareness regarding quality required for manufacturing and then their proficiency is graded through a test.

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)*1, 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*2. 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.

  • *1SDS (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.
  • *2We also conduct surveys linked to life cycle assessments (LCA) for copper, nickel, and zinc through associations related to each metal.

Communication with Customers

To raise customer satisfaction, we are starting by improving methods of measuring and evaluating customer satisfaction and then carrying out accurate and ample communication with customers to precisely identify issues and implement effective measures. We are also carrying out quality improvement activities that consider stakeholder perspectives to improve the yield of products, thereby 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. To achieve this, we will clarify risks and opportunities based on an understanding of situations gained through communi-cation between internal and external parties, and then work to win the satisfaction of customers by improving the effec-tiveness of QMS through improvement activities that have the SMM Quality Standards as a foundation.

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 sub-stances 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 sub-stances requiring management under legislation
Safe use of the product or service All products/services containing sub-stances requiring management under legislation
Environmental / social harm from disposal of the products All products/services containing sub-stances requiring management under legislation

Methods for Providing Information

Provision of Information Relating to Specifications

We indicate product specifications requested by the custom-er 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.