The Schaeffler Group’s benchmark is consistently ensuring top quality and product safety across all applications. The approach is derived from the strategy “Mobility for tomorrow” and a related package of measures, the “Quality for Tomorrow” initiative that is part of the “Agenda 4 plus One”. Aiming for products as well as processes that are free of defects and errors, three priorities were set:
- Continuous improvement of the core business
- Constant improvement of the management system and of the processes
- The preventative quality assurance measures in product development
The initiative is expected to be successfully completed and insight gained from the pilot projects rolled out by the end of 2020.
However, the “Quality for Tomorrow” initiative is not the only way Schaeffler is setting quality trends. In 2018, quality was again a topic of discussion at the annual Technology Dialog, which included presentations on aspects of quality within the context of key themes. One example is additive manufacturing, which is increasingly finding its way into the Schaeffler Group, and the related quality management. New types of quality assurance measures for this modern technology are currently being developed.
As part of the Schaeffler Group’s consistent divisionalization, tracking quality parameter targets has now been standardized in the Automotive Aftermarket as well, in a similar manner as in the Automotive OEM and Industrial divisions, in order to be able to run the usual improvement processes with similar efficiency.
In addition, quality management was strengthened further in 2018. Global Key Account Management (Automotive OEM) was expanded to include the function of quality officer (GKAM-Q). As a result, every major customer has a designated contact person for quality issues dealing with the customer’s concerns in accordance with the “one face to the customer” principle.
The GKAM-Q organization (Automotive OEM) has been centrally managed by the Global Key Account Manager Quality since the beginning of 2018, with one priority being the specific quality strategy for each individual GKAM. Furthermore, the company is defining overarching standards for Schaeffler quality at the interface with the customer. The company has established a new GKAM-Q steering committee meeting on a regular basis to guide these activities.
Similar to the approach taken by the Automotive OEM division as described above, the Industrial division has begun to establish or expand specific structures and processes related to quality vis-à-vis its key customers during the year. Additionally, in accordance with the strategic direction, establishing and integrating an Industry 4.0 quality organization was part of establishing the new Industry 4.0 business field in 2018.
Well-established within the company for several years, “Fit for Quality” is a program aimed at achieving “zero defects” and delivering top quality to internal and external customers. Now, the focus is on changing it from being solely a quality improvement program to representing a comprehensive quality culture. The guiding principles (Fit for Quality Axioms) follow the standards of quality-oriented leadership, systematic planning and training, the consistent use of methodologies and procedures, error detection, review of processes and measures, as well as the transfer of good solutions to other areas. The Axioms are communicated under the “FIT for Quality Academy” training scheme which is available to plants in all regions. The training scheme has been implemented within the divisions and regions at all locations worldwide and has also been rolled out to indirect areas.
Outstanding quality is a key feature differentiating the Schaeffler Group from its competitors and represents the basis of the group’s future long-term growth. The Schaeffler Group’s high quality standards are demonstrated by, among other things, numerous awards received from customers.
At this year’s GPF (Global Production Forum), Schaeffler quality awards were granted in the following categories:
- Outstanding quality performance in a product line
- Outstanding quality performance over many years
- Outstanding customer satisfaction
The Schaeffler Group received a total of 65 quality awards in 2018 (prior year: 58). This demonstrates that the Schaeffler Group's initiatives have paid off in the Asia/Pacific region, primarily in Japan and South Korea, and in the activities related to the “Fit for Quality” program. The awards received from customer Honda Motor Co. Ltd. in the “Best Quality Award” category, the “Achievement Award” from Toyota Motor Europe, and Mazda Motor Corporation’s “Trade Performance Excellence Award” were evidence of this for the Automotive divisions, and the Industrial division achieved similar results. The “LG-BIQS Certificate” recognized Schaeffler as a successful quality supplier.
All of the Schaeffler Group’s manufacturing locations are certified under globally recognized quality norms, standards, and regulations. Following up on its activities in 2017, the Schaeffler Group has successfully completed the rollout and implementation of the requirements of the new certification standards IATF 16949:2016 (Quality management system – standard of the automotive sector), the ISO/TS 22163 (Quality management system – particular requirements for application of ISO 9001:2015 in the rail sector), as well as the SAE AS 9100D:2016-09-20 (Quality Management Systems – Requirements for Aviation, Space, and Defense Organizations) in all relevant Schaeffler Group plants worldwide in 2018. Compliance with these standards is reviewed and confirmed using regular internal and external audits at the relevant locations.