May 11, 2021
Kobe Steel, Ltd.
Kobe Steel, Ltd. has worked to restore customer trust damaged by the quality misconduct, announced in October 2017, through measures such as verifying the safety of our customers' products, implementing measures to prevent recurrence and disclosing the progress made, reforming our corporate culture/organizational management structure, and establishing a solid quality assurance system.
Our Company made public a report entitled Report on Misconduct in Kobe Steel Group dated March 6, 2018 on the facts revealed through an investigation by the Independent Investigation Committee and the analysis results of the causes of the misconduct. In view of these, we formulated measures to prevent recurrence from the aspects of governance, management, and processes.
For prevention of recurrence, Kobe Steel launched the Trust Rebuilding Project in April 2018 with the President as the leader and formed subcommittees and task forces to carry out the preventive measures. In addition, we established the Independent Quality Supervision Committee as an advisory body to the Board of Directors and have incorporated quality assurance recommendations from outside experts into our preventive measures. In April 2019, the committee was replaced by the Quality Management Committee, which is tasked to monitor and make recommendations from an objective perspective, as was done by its predecessor.
Under this framework, we have promoted concrete activities for three years and have now completed the measures to prevent recurrence of the misconduct focused on governance, management, and processes. We will continue to implement some of the measures that are assumed to be constantly carried out.
In addition, in fiscal 2020, our Company launched an initiative for Total Quality Management (TQM) to prevent the quality misconduct from being forgotten and move forward to the next stage with the aim of achieving sustainable growth and realizing our Group Corporate Philosophy. In April 2021, we reorganized the Project for Restoring Trust into the Trust Improvement Project, which will continue to be led by the President. The Trust Improvement Project is composed of KOBELCO TQM Promotion Meeting and Customer Trust Improvement Meeting and will continue to have the Quality Management Committee to monitor and make recommendations on the quality-related issues. The action principles of KOBELCO TQM set forth "customer perspective," "participation of all members," and "constant improvement" in accordance with the Core Values of KOBELCO in the Group Corporate Philosophy.
With a renewed recognition that reliable quality is "the starting point of monozukuri" and the key to building customer trust, our Company will continue to strengthen the management of each business division and focus on improving quality through KOBELCO TQM activities. In order to become a company indispensable to customers and society, we continue to provide products and services that meet the needs of our customers, while taking initiatives to identify social issues from the perspective of our customers and other stakeholders and work together to resolve them with all Group employees.
The progress of the Trust Improvement Project will be reported through the Integrated Report or other forms.
A summary of the progress of the measures to prevent recurrence of the misconduct is provided below. For details, please refer to the Progress of the Measures Promoted by the Kobe Steel Group to Prevent Recurrence of the Misconduct.
In order to promote the activities below, we established the KOBELCO Quality Guidelines for the entire Group. The Guidelines went into effect on May 1, 2018.
We will continue to monitor improvements at each location and conduct on-site inspections of the implementation of quality control processes through quality audits at each location.