Essentially Nissan don’t have a “book of rules” translated from Japanese and imposed upon them-the foundation of the company and it’s ways of operation are to promote continual improvement or KAIZEN and hence what they have developed is what we believe to be the best from Japan combined with the 2best From The West” and they still encourage suggestions for improvement.Their procedures are constantly reviewed and updated, in plant there is a Quality Procedures Manual containing procedures originated by a number of departments and formally accepted by all affected departments as a means of operation of the plant to ensure consistency and a clear definition of responsibilities in the interests of manufacturing a Quality Product.It therefore follows that they do not rigidly adopt the requirements of BS5750 or other standard systems but have developed their own.
Within Nissan Kaizen is way of thinking adopted and encouraged in all areas. There is no Suggestion Scheme with financial rewards, and Kaizen activities are promoted to make the job easier and more efficient for all concerned. It can be simply a minor reorganisation of the workplace layout or an improvement in method of delivery of parts to the point of fitment in the production process and is originated by the person who knows best – the man who does the job. A Kaizen ‘Team’ may be formed to look at wider reaching and more ambitious projects and would involve members from various disciplines for their output in arriving at the best solution-to build upon the initial idea.
It must be recognised that many good ideas come from people doing the job day in and day out Nissan say that theses people must be encouraged, developed and acted upon. This ultimately develops the motivation of individuals to ‘think’ and results in a high level of job satisfaction when ideas come to fruition. People get better job satisfaction, and feel respected within the workplace.Another initiative that Nissan implement is Statistical Process control.
This is employed on a limited basis; primarily in the engine component machining area-capability study enables one to grasp the current condition before targeting improvements.SPC is employed to actively encourage improvement in the product and the process rather than simply to monitor its condition. There are many textbooks on how to implement SPC but it is not the be-all and end-all of a quality programme.Just In Time and Kamban are both actively employed at Nissan the former in the terms of the planning and execution of a complete Supply Material Management System the latter in the form of the unique Nissan Action Plate Management whereby a visible signal is given to roving Material Handling personnel by placing the APM card in a clear fronted collection box to indicate that line side stocks are low and a delivery is required.
These activities serve to reduce inventory size and maximise line side floor space. This benefit would be that they might be able to use the space that has been cleared to manufacture more cars which would in turn give them more profit. A down side to this approach would be that the t stock levels might get to low to complete a big order that they might have which would result in workers having to wait for more stock to come in to be able to complete the and dispatch to the customers.The JIT approach is a good one to take but that depends on the amount of time it takes to produce a car to order.
That amount of time could determine whether or not the customer could wait for that period of time for the car.Nissan also implement POKA YOKE techniques (which means falsifying the production process) and this is employed at two stages1) At the planning stage for a new product or process when the potential for failure is considered, for example when conducting FMEA studies.Suitable failsafe mechanism may be planned into the process to prevent such potential failures becoming reality.2) As part of a Manufacturing ‘Recurrence Prevention’ Activity.
The very comprehensive and timely data feedback at Nissan allows us to understand clearly areas of concern and these may be effectively addressed by the application of an appropriate Poka Yoke device.This approach would able Nissan to plan for failure when developing a new product which, instead of going into the unexpected.Another initiative is Evaluation of Quality Level.In order to continually reinforce the concept of quality consciousness it is important that everyone knows how well we are doing in the market and the quality levels of current production.
By evaluating the quality level this is a way of knowing whether or not the quality of the cars can be improved and making sure that the quality of the cars that are coming out of the production line are of the standard that is expected of them. This is a good concept to undertake as you can improve the level of quality. For employees to know how well the company is doing would give them a moral boost as the company would only be doing well from the products that they are selling, which is what they are producing.A problem that could occur from this is pressure, employees might feel under pressure to keep the standard of there work up and this might not always be possible.
This can knock confidence in the workers and ultimately put a bad feeling within in the work place.Product Quality is also implemented. Market survey information is gathered by J.D Powers and Rodgers Reports which are independent market surveys.
These are analysed together with Media Reports (in Motoring Press) and information from Nissan’s Distributors. In addition Nissan Europe will occasionally commission a survey into market quality of the total product range.This would enable Nissan to compare their quality against competitors.VES is another initiative that enables Nissan to correct any problems.
In plant monitoring of finished vehicle quality is carried out by the Corporation standard system of VES (Vehicle Evaluation System) Defects on vehicles are fed back to the appropriate production zone or responsible department for countermeasure actions and vehicles and results are displayed in a central area for all staff to see. This is a good action to take as it enable employees to be able to see where they are going wrong, if employees are not told where they are going wrong they will never be able to correct any mistakes that are made.Another way that Nissan check the quality of their cars is a sample size of 100 vehicles per week is taken and subjected to checks for a number of specific items. The result of this evaluation relates to the Rodgers “Things Gone Wrong for 100 vehicles” as a monitor of quality trend.
Nissan also implement a series of Audit inspections:Sampling and Audit InspectionAudit over checks are carried out by TPQC (total productive quality control) sections of the relevant production shops to Audit Process Quality in addition to the specified in-process checks carried out by ProductionThe routine of TPQC Audit is devised primarily by Q.A. Department but managed by Production, hence giving a sense of ownership of the result.Internal AuditsInternal Audits are carried out throughout the plant in both production and indirect areas by a small team of personnel confirming adherence to the agree procedures.
Their approach to the task is seen by the audited area as a constructive look from an ‘outsiders’ point of view and is generally well received as an independent assessment of the current condition with, where appropriate, a summary of observations and recommendations. It must be remembered that at Nissan like others are subject to external audit from our customers, the Department of Transport and in particular the Overseas Quality Assurance section of the Nissan Head Office in Tokyo which monitors Plant Quality performance at the many Nissan plants worldwide.This enables them to see if they are producing the quality of cars to certain standards that are set outside of Nissan.From the evidence that I have read I think that Nissan do Operate in a Quality management environment.One of Nissans Fundamental principles is that everyone is responsible for Quality and the next person down in the line is you customer.Nissan have implemented Quality initiatives a lot within there organisation, they are a business that is constantly reviewing a checking the quality of their products and seeing if there is any room for improvement.All information on Nissan’s quality initiatives taken from (why quality works at Nissan, Nigel Sharman, Nissan Manufacturing (UK) Ltd)