GC's products are sold in over 100 countries across the world, helping bring true health to people around the world. As a global general dental manufacturer, we will never stop making efforts to develop products that live up to the reputation of "GC the Leader in Quality", and GQM will always be the basis of these efforts.
GQM: GC's Quality Management
GC declared the introduction of GQC (GC's Quality Control) in1981, as our unique total quality control initiative echoing the management philosophy "Social Contribution, Quality First, and Sense of Fellowship." This in turn reflects the unchanging founding motto of the company based on the concept of "Semui." In 1995, GQC was expanded into the GQM (GC's Quality Management) activity, centered on the three pillar concepts of "Improve Customer Satisfaction," "Improve Employee Satisfaction" and "Improve Quality of Work", which form the kernel of our business management philosophy.
Also in 2000, we defined the following seven key points of GQM in order to drive various efforts toward quality improvement throughout the company:
- Drive VISION management centered on GQM as the core of the business management approach;
- Implement global strategies based on the basic concept of "globally optimized sourcing";
- Implement product strategies designed to let us develop "the world's best products" and enter into new business fields;
- Realize great production capability that allows us to create "quality" products to meet our customers' needs;
- Implement sales strategies developed through a clear division of the roles of "people who create, sell and use";
- Improve the quality of our business operations through digital management utilizing IT;
- Become a company united by "fellowship," deriving its energy from its "people."
The president of GC regularly visits various departments and conducts "President's Review." The purpose of this is for the president to visit various departments and verify with his own eyes how the company's policies are understood and implemented by those departments. Through this practice the president can also determine the degree to which these policies are implemented and whether they are entrenched throughout the organization. Following each review, through a series of meetings the employees and management exchange ideas to identify the issues. The president's review not only helps manage the results of solutions implemented to address the issues but has also become a part of our improvement process.
During each six-month period the president spends a total of about a month touring different departments and interviewing employees on the actual implementation of measures designed to achieve the policies and targets presented by the management, while also answering questions and requests raised by employees. At the end of each president's review session, which lasts from three to six hours, a review report describing the specific areas of improvement and issues to be addressed is prepared. These review reports are used to improve how we view things in a midterm run so that we can raise the standard of our PDCA cycle and thereby contribute to the promotion of GQM.
Fifty of the president's reviews were conducted in 2007.
KI Activity and CFT Activity
To "Improve the quality of work," the objective cited as one of the three pillars of GQM, we are driving KI (Kaizen & Innovation) activity. The KI activity is intended to harness synergy among the "fellow employees who respect one another," in keeping with our management philosophy, and thereby promote kaizen (improvement) and innovation. Each department sets its own theme for the improvement of work quality and presents the outcomes of efforts made under these themes, thus fostering a sense of competition that spurs the company-wide effort toward quality improvement. The KI Activity Presentation Conference is held in June and November of each year.
For each issue that is deemed urgent from the viewpoint of corporate management, a CFT (Cross-Functional Team) is formed to gather members with various kinds of experience and skills from multiple departments so that actions can be implemented based on a top-down approach. A number of these cross-functional teams are active throughout the organization, whereby a focused effort is made to resolve issues that affect the entire company.
Receiving the "Deming Application Prize"
GC, in the year 2000, became the first company in the dental industry to receive the "Deming Application Prize".
The Deming Prize (Japanese Administration Office: Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers) is the highest honor in the area of quality control, and is conferred upon companies (or individuals) that have made a significant improvement in business result through total quality control implemented company-wide. The Deming Application Prize is given annually to the company that has made significant improvements in business results through the application of total quality control.
GC received this coveted prize for its business activity, which is aimed at "becoming a company that improves quality throughout the organization and provides true health for people around the world," and is implemented through GQM to form the basis of the management approach.
Receiving the "Japan Quality Medal"
GC, in 2004 became the 18th company in the world to receive the "Japan Quality Medal," the highest echelon in quality control in Japan.1
The Japan Quality Medal was established to commemorate the first International Conference on Quality Control (ICQC), which was held in Tokyo in October 1969. It is given to a company or business unit each year that has received the Deming Prize and applied TQM2 continuously for three years or more (including the year of conferment of the Deming Prize), and has thereby achieved a remarkable business result.
The reason for GC's winning this prize is as follows: "(GC) has steadily implemented its policy based on a Mid-Term Management Plan to achieve the 2010 VISION initiative, and has achieved steady outcomes in the running of the company through active promotion of excellent quality management efforts, such as the development of new technologies and products, the improvement of productivity under factory innovation programs, the establishment of an onsite quality-assurance system, the innovation of production management systems, the centralization of information using IT, human resource development based on a skills list, quality management, and environmental management."
*2 TQM (Total Quality Management). GC is implementing its own version of TQM called GQM.
QUALITY ASSURANCE AT GC
GC's most important social responsibility, as a company involved in dental medicine, is to provide products that are better and safer. We are striving to make quality products that will usher in the "Century of Health".
Dental materials and devices are becoming increasingly advanced and complex. Therefore, it is increasingly important to ensure the quality and reliability of these materials and devices. GC's quality-assurance system is a comprehensive approach that encompasses all the processes relating to the needs of product users, the seeds of GC and the oral health of citizens, as well as the associations among all these processes. Through this system we provide better products and services offering the level of quality required by customers.
QA Certified Section Scheme
To reduce problems in the manufacturing process and raise the standard of quality, in 1992 GC introduced a scheme of certifying the manufacturing sections that met the required quality-assurance level (QA Certified Section Scheme). The scheme has since been expanded to the logistics, customer service, engineering and sales operations of the company, where each section strives to improve its quality-assurance level.
To provide an overview of the certification steps, each section receives an advanced preliminary evaluation and preliminary evaluation by the Quality Assurance Department, as well as a final evaluation by the president and the officer in charge, based on an evaluation check sheet specifying the relevant information regarding the issues addressed by the section. The section that has been certified is given a QA Certificate. Currently, we have 56 certified sections. Certified sections must receive an evaluation every two years in to renew the certification. The introduction of this scheme has produced the following benefits:
- Reduction in percent-defective numbers in processes and manufacturing warranty claims;
- Activation of corrective activities and improvement activities;
- Improvement of process control levels through utilization of control charts, foolproof measures, etc.;
- The fostering of a positive competitive spirit among sections, and acceleration of creative efforts in each section;
- Growth of section chiefs who will shoulder the company in the future;
- Improvement of the overall quality-assurance level throughout the company as a result of expanding the scheme beyond the manufacturing operation to also cover indirect and sales operations;
- Creation of a key selling point in the examination processes for the Deming Prize and Japan Quality Medal, helping the company win both prizes;
- Enhancement of our dedication to customer satisfaction.
In 2007, various sections of our overseas plants were also certified.
Risk Analysis of Products and Gathering of Information from Markets
Products handled by GC are dental materials and devices that affect human life. Accordingly, we pay careful attention to our products by analyzing the associated risks. When developing a new product we conduct analysis and evaluation repeatedly from the design stage, in keeping with the requirements for medical device risk management specified in "ISO 13485." We have a secure information-management system in place, and we endeavor to receive feedback and requests from the dental professionals who use our products.
"ISO 9001" and "ISO 13485" Certification
"ISO 9001" is an international standard for quality management systems encompassing all areas of quality assurance as well as some aspects of organizational management, such as customer satisfaction and improvement. GC, as a global company, became one of the earliest to receive an ISO 9001 certification in 1994. In April 2004 we received the ISO 13485 certification, which specifically provides for the quality assurance of medical devices. GC was the first dental equipment/material manufacturer to receive either certification. Currently, all partner companies of GC are certified under ISO 9001 and ISO 13485.
GC received a certification under the JIS Q 15001 (Privacy Mark) standard with the goal of clearly defining our activities to manage information security to protect personal information, and for the purpose of carrying out corporate activities in a manner considering information security. GC Dataland, an information systems management subsidiary of GC, is also certified under the ISO 27001:2006 (Information Security Management System) standard.
Establishment of the "Quality Policy"
We established our quality policy in 1994, and in 2003 portions of the policy were revised.
We will put quality first by focusing on safety and effectiveness while maintaining and improving the effectiveness of our quality management system in order to provide true health for people around the world.
For people to live in happiness and health every day, it is important that they enjoy the food they eat.
To enjoy the food they eat, we must keep our teeth healthy. The products made by GC must continue, through their roles in dental medicine, to contribute to the dental health of people the world over.
It is our mission to provide better products. We will maintain and improve the effectiveness of our quality-management systems in order to deliver quality products that are not only safe to the human body but also demonstrate the intended effects.