Today's Notables

PRIMIX Receives the Kansai Quality Award

March 2010
Hisashi Furuichi
President and C.E.O.

As I look back on the program PRIMIX implemented to improve the quality of our management system, I can recall the time when I assumed the position of auditor in February 2001. Prior to becoming an auditor for PRIMIX, I worked in consulting in a different industry. When I took the post, I had an opportunity to monitor the operations of the various departments within the organization. Through my experience in consulting, I have studied many various management and marketing techniques and what I saw at that time at PRIMIX, was a company that was somewhat stodgy and old-fashioned, and in need of innovation in its business. In February of 2002, I was appointed vice-president and with hands full of issues that needed addressing, it was difficult to know where to begin. A milestone in the transformation came about in November of 2002 when we first set out to strategically develop the organization to successfully achieve management vision toward the future. However, at that time, the company was not confident in developing a three year mid-term plan as had been done in the past so we asked our directors to start with an annual business plan. The first management plan was entitled " Knowledge MICS, " and with that plan, we did away with the divisional structure of the organization and went toward a flat, more dynamic structure along with implementing a business plan conducive to knowledge management.

During this transition around April of 2003, an employee assigned to the management innovation team asked if I would like to attend a seminar on Balanced Scorecard, which is a strategic planning and management system designed to align business activities to the vision and strategy of the organization. I found this prospect very interesting and attended the seminar. The seminar was held over two days, May 1st and 2nd of 2003 by SGS, a company that conducts ISO certification and other such activities. The instructor was Yoshiro Takahashi, the then-Vice President of Strategic Planning at Phillips, Inc. Although this is a lengthy explanation of how we set on this path to our transition, it was this seminar where I first heard of the Quality Award. Mr. Takahashi had been involved with the Europe Quality Award through Phillips and he played a key role in helping the Kansai Productivity Center establish the Kansai Quality Award. At the seminar, he discussed the background and gave an overview of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the US and the Europe Quality Award, and how those awards let to the establishment of the Japan Quality Award. As I mentioned earlier, we had reached a point where it seemed like there were too many issues that needed to be addressed and we didn’t know where to begin, but when I found out about the program to improve the quality of management, it became very clear what the first steps had to be.

Following my experience from the seminar, I did some further study of the quality about the Japan Quality Award, and proceeded to begin with the most likely candidate, myself, and obtained self-assessor certification in May of 2005. Since then, we decided as a company to adopt a program to improve the quality of management and took the first steps to move along that path.

Currently, 15 people at PRIMIX are certified self-assessors and are responsible for developing strategic management in alignment with the goals and objectives of the quality improvement program. In 2009, we submitted an application for the 2009 Kansai Quality Award, and based on the results from an audit, received the award. I am sincerely pleased by the efforts of all PRIMIX employees that contributed to PRIMIX receiving this honor. Based on this experience and the impact to our company, we will continue on with the next step and work toward further improvement in quality throughout our organization, aiming for the Japan Quality Award.

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