Quality Management

NSK’s Approach

With quality as one of its four core values, the NSK Group aims to become “No. 1 in Total Quality.” In other words, we are working to achieve the industry’s best quality in everything we deliver—not only products and services but also information. We believe that this commitment to quality ensures that our products will satisfy customers all over the world.

To achieve our Quality Assurance Vision 2026 (100% good products and services that put the customer first), we engage in activities based on the Three Pillars of NSK Quality Assurance.

Three Pillars of NSK Quality Assurance
Three Pillars of NSK Quality Assurance
Quality Assurance Vision 2026

Our Quality Assurance Vision 2026 sets clear goals and expectations to achieve by 2026. It has Three Pillars, as mentioned above. Across the NSK Group, we are working to build a seamless, consistent system for quality improvement, leveraging inter-departmental collaboration to achieve our goal of being No. 1 in Total Quality. This includes quality at every operational stage, from design and manufacturing, to supplier management and field responsiveness. Our goal is 100% good products and services that put the customer first, by 2026.

Quality Assurance Vision 2026

System

Quality Assurance Organizations

The NSK Group has established the Quality Council, with NSK’s Quality Assurance Division Headquarters as its secretariat, to supervise Group-wide quality management. The council meets twice a year to review the status of quality management with the heads of each business division headquarters discussing quality issues, necessary initiatives, and related matters. Quality Councils have been established within each business unit. Together, they work to strengthen quality improvement efforts by promoting cooperation among the manufacturing, sales, and technical departments. The headquarters also reports the Group-wide status of quality management to senior management at monthly Executive Officers’ Meeting.

We have established regional quality assurance departments in South Korea, the Americas, Europe, China, ASEAN/Oceania, and India. This global quality assurance system has been built to meet customer needs in each country and region, as the highest priority. Annual global meetings and biannual regional meetings on quality are held to share and discuss quality-related information and to strengthen monitoring, oversight, and the support structure in each region.

NSK Quality Council
NSK Quality Council
Global Quality Assurance Organization
Global Quality Assurance Organization

Targets and Performance

Sixth Mid-Term Management Plan Targets (FY2019–2021) and the FY2021 Targets and Performance
PolicySixth Mid-Term Management Plan targets
FY2021 targetsFY2021 performance
NSK Product Development System (NPDS)
This is NSK’s proprietary quality management system for quickly transforming new orders into reliable, stable production.
  • Verify performance with a complete grasp of the level and conditions required by the field
  • Improve field quality
  • Improve NPDS quality through proper assignment of DR experts and stricter DR meetings
  • Implement a global system addressing design kakotora (quality problems experienced in the past)
  • Selected and trained DR experts outside Japan
    Assigned DR experts in the US (100% achieved)
  • Training DR experts in Europe and China
  • Achieved KPI scores for DR expert system in Japan and new DR score
  • Registered defect information in the global system addressing design kakotora
NSK Quality No. 1 (NQ1) Program
NSK is promoting initiatives to realize stable production and ensure zero defects.
  • Improve procurement quality
  • Dantotsu improvement activities (ongoing activities for zero defects)
  • Standardize supplier system audits
  • Implement supplier quality defect system (SQC system) in Japan
  • Improve internal culture by ensuring penetration and vigor of Dantotsu activities (ongoing activities for zero defects)
  • Renewed supplier audit rules and guidance document
  • Completed and implemented a uniform SQC system at plants in Japan
  • Achieve global expansion of Dantotsu activities and implemented an internal awards scheme
  • Identify gemba (frontline) 4Ms*1 quality risks, review good product conditions
  • Enhance reoccurrence prevention
  • Strengthen cooperation with regional quality assurance departments for the three gemba (gemba: actual places, gembutsu: actual things, and genjitsu: actual situations) in a COVID-19 environment
  • Improve the process reoccurrence prevention method
  • Completely moved quality operation decisions to actual sites outside Japan (authority transfer completed)
  • Created a check sheet for process reoccurrence prevention, conducted skill assessments, and analyzed weak points
Human resource development
NSK is promoting the human resource development to build a stronger foundation for quality creation.
Foster quality-first human resource development
  • Expand Quality-Dojo*2 and entrench their effective utilization
  • Effectively operate Quality-Dojo in technological divisions for design quality training
  • Effectively utilize quality engineering
  • Established 10 basic quality principles
    Continued providing training in Quality-Dojo
  • Launched online Quality-Dojo in technological divisions
    Training implemented by full-time instructors and shared among plants
  • Implemented FMEA e-learning Designed highly robust products using quality engineering

*1 4M: Man, Machine, Material, Method
*2 Quality-Dojo: A dedicated area for quality training put in place at each plant. Established in FY2019.

Mid-Term Management Plan 2026(MTP2026) Targets (FY2022–2026) and the FY2022 Targets
PolicyMTP2026 targetsFY2022 targets
NSK Product Development System (NPDS): NSK’s proprietary quality management system that quickly translates new orders into reliable, stable production
  • Improve NPDS quality worldwide
    ・Establish DR experts outside Japan
    ・Establish stricter DR and adopt design-manufacturing integrated digital FMEA
  • Develop a global system addressing design kakotora (quality problems experienced in the past) and expand to manufacturing kakotora(manufacturing problems experienced in the past)
  • Implement training to establish DR experts in Europe and China
    Convert development and manufacturing information into data through full deployment of design–manufacturing integrated digital FMEA
  • Develop a global system addressing design kakotora in design operations and accumulate data
NSK Quality No. 1 (NQ1) Program: Initiatives to realize stable production and ensure zero defects
  • Establish digital management of quality
    (completion inspections, traceability, enhanced critical process control)
  • Enhance control of process capabilities
  • Establish an organizational structure for a digital platform for quality
    Create training content on quality information and implement training
  • Launch e-Quality-Dojo for online training

Quality Improvement Initiatives

To ensure quality that puts customers first, and enduring quality in the field, the NSK Group strives to secure and improve quality throughout the product process, from design, to procurement from suppliers, to manufacturing. We are promoting total quality through the four initiatives shown below.

Quality Improvement Initiatives
Initiatives to Enhance Field Quality

As a firm that services the manufacturing sector, the NSK Group aims to achieve a level of quality that meets the expectations of society at large. This is why we not only strive to satisfy our direct customers, but also look beyond to assess the needs of the end users who use products with NSK components. Our system enables us to both propose and deliver quality products and services that thoroughly fulfill both customer and social needs.

Customer Management Database

In order to accurately meet customer requests, the NSK Group provides technical support related to design and expert knowledge on product usage. We have also established a database of information such as response history for customer inquiries. The information gathered from various countries and regions is used to improve our products and services.

Initiatives to Enhance Design Quality

The NSK Group incorporates feedback from customers into its designs to enhance quality in the design stage. We make every effort to design products with a superior level of quality by drawing on our expertise and experience in the market, cultivated over many years. We always strive to meet our own unique quality targets, going above and beyond the core quality that our customers have come to expect.

Building Quality into Each Process: NSK Product Development System (NPDS)

The NSK Group has globally deployed an innovative quality management system, the NPDS, to respond promptly and reliably to new projects and to mass produce products that satisfy customers. At each stage of the process, from product planning to development/design, prototype manufacturing and mass production, we ensure that any concerns are resolved and strive to improve quality. Even after mass production begins, we conduct thorough management to maintain high quality.

Outline of NPDS
Outline of NPDS
Education to Improve the Quality of Design Reviews in Developed Products

To improve product design quality in new projects, the NSK Group has its own internal system of experts that perform design reviews (DR) and has implemented worldwide measures to improve DR quality. These DR experts identify issues related to product quality from the design phase and into the mass production phase to prevent problems down the road. Along with the enhancement of DR content for NSK-developed products, we ask these experts to make the most of their knowledge and experience: (1) to promote robust design*3 proposals that fully meet customer requirements; (2) to build manufacturing processes that emphasize the 4Ms and maintain stable production; and (3) to hand down technology skills while creating learning opportunities for young NSK engineers.

To raise the DR level, the necessary materials and data need to be prepared in advance. When all the participants understand the design details before the DR meeting, the review discussions are more efficient and meaningful. NSK is increasing the number of opportunities for discussions between DR experts and our designers and developers, while working to raise their technical skills and improve the technical data that is needed for each step of the DR process. Moreover, by conducting optimal evaluation and feedback in each step of the DR process, we are working to improve the quality of product development projects as part of our DR quality enhancement efforts.

*3 Robust design: Design that ensures the required characteristics for various product usage conditions.

Initiatives to Enhance Manufacturing Quality

The NSK Group works diligently to deliver a consistently high level of product quality that meets customer needs.
We also develop manufacturing processes that focus on the 4Ms (man, machine, materials and methods) to further improve product quality.

4M Priority Issues
4M Priority Issues
Product Assurance through Quality Inspection

To provide customers with assurance that they can use our products with confidence, the NSK Group conducts thorough inspections to ensure product quality. These inspections consist of both visual and functional tests and are conducted at various points of the manufacturing process, from acceptance to shipping, to prevent any defective products from leaving the plant.
Going forward, we aim to improve process assurance and increase efficiency by automating more inspections.

Global Rollout of Measures from Best Practice Plants

Every month, the NSK Group monitors the status of quality management at all production sites worldwide. Production sites that produce exceptional results in terms of quality are categorized as “Best-Practice Plants.” The characteristics of those plants and their management initiatives are analyzed and rolled out to other production sites.

We ensure that case studies and best practices are shared among sites by holding quality information exchange meetings with representatives from different plants. The participants bring back new information to their respective workplaces and consider applying it to their own operations. This helps to disseminate good quality assurance practices throughout the Group. Going forward, the NSK Group will continue to ensure good communication among plants so that employees can learn about activities undertaken at other sites and their benefits. These efforts will promote Group-wide quality awareness and a shared sense of accomplishment.

Objectives of Quality Information Exchange Meetings for Plants

  • Learn from the successful activities of other plants
  • Share solutions for particular problems
  • Adopt the "Look Across Activities" approach to problems (to prevent problems from recurring at other plants)
Quality Training

To promote continuous awareness and knowledge improvement on quality, one of the NSK Group’s core values, the Group provides quality training for all employees.

Training includes:

  • Rank-based quality training for new employees and managers, tailored for their respective roles and responsibilities
  • Quality-Dojo training that allows employees to learn through actual examples and products
  • Digital quality training for all employees delivered via e-learning
Initiatives to Enhance Supplier Quality

High-quality lubricants, materials, and parts are required to manufacture high-quality products. At the NSK Group, we engage in a wide range of initiatives to enhance quality, based on our strong ties with suppliers. Our Quality Assurance Division Headquarters works to promote quality data visualization at suppliers, implement improvement plans, and carry out quality improvement efforts, collaborating closely with the NSK plants that receive products from suppliers.

Main Initiatives
Main Initiatives
Strengthening Audit Functions

The role of the Global Quality Audit Office at the Quality Assurance Division Headquarters is to monitor compliance situations and potential risks relating to quality control, and to implement preventive measures for potential problems. To fulfill this role, the office conducts audits from a third-party perspective.

The audit office also constantly gathers product recall and defect information on other companies. It examines this information and promotes necessary information development and preventive activities.