Integrity in Corporate Activities

Ricoh provides quality in the process of providing products and services that consistently delight and inspire customers, and of co-creating value.

To ensure that customers are delighted and inspired by our products, our activities are focused on improving the quality of products and services offered to customers, improving quality in all processes from design to delivery to our customers, and improving quality in the process of working with our customers to co-create value. This is the concept that we call RICOH Quality. All employees in the Ricoh Group share the same values, embody distinctive values unique to Ricoh in their individual jobs, and dedicate themselves, not just to making our customers satisfied with our products, but to delighting them.

Establish processes to strengthen basic quality and create new value

Deeper understanding of customers

To achieve the objectives of our RICOH Quality Statement announced in March 2010, we continued working throughout fiscal year 2011 to establish two mechanisms: one to strengthen basic quality and the other to delight our customers. In addition, we introduced activities in line with RICOH Quality to obtain a deeper understanding of our customers and thereby identify what values are important to them, and we incorporate these values into all our products and services.

Strengthen basic quality

Recognizing the importance of safety in the development and design phases to provide safe products and services to customers, the Ricoh Group is consistently revising its product safety standards and requires employees to comply with these standards in order to improve basic quality. In this way, we prevent accidents from occurring and satisfy customers with the functions they expect. We have also established Ricoh product liability standards (safety and reliability) to complement laws and regulations. Our activities also focus on improving the management of information about market quality to understand and address relevant issues from various aspects.

Create new value

To delight customers, we will focus more on cooperating with customers to create the kind of value that they seek. We aim to produce value that exceeds customer expectations through concerted efforts by all organizations and employees in the Ricoh Group. We hope that our customers feel satisfied and will continue to use Ricoh's products and services to the point that they cannot help feeling pleased with us. We hope to retain the trust of our customers by providing them with a positive experience from using our products and services.

Prepare for RICOH Quality activities

■ How we position RICOH Quality How we position RICOH Quality

To promote the concept of RICOH Quality, we held a "RICOH Quality Activities Contest" in Japan to collect current information on activities that have been implemented successfully. We also established the indicators and targets commonly applied to all Ricoh Group companies for fiscal year 2012 in order to visualize the progress of our efforts to achieve the RICOH Quality objectives and to ensure constant improvement of our activities. These indicators are a combination of basic indicators for product safety, reliability and other factors, as well as indicators for customer trust and satisfaction. Departments and major companies throughout the Ricoh Group are planning, implementing and developing their own measures to meet these indicators. To ensure that important information relating to the establishment of RICOH Quality is shared by top management and executives, we published the first issue of the Ricoh Quality Report (RQ Report) in March 2012.

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Example of our activities to strengthen basic quality

"Product liability (safety and reliability)" by ensuring strict compliance with laws, regulations and Ricoh standards

Product liability (safety and reliability) by ensuring strict compliance with laws, regulations and Ricoh standards

As the basis for its activities to ensure product safety, Ricoh established the Basic Policy for Product Safety Activities and the Action Policy for Product Safety Activities.
Additionally, in 2009, Ricoh improved the system which ensures that employees comply with laws, regulations and official standards on a global level by introducing a compliance check sheet for use in product development and design.
Since legal compliance is essential for successful global marketing, the database for the compliance check sheet is consistently updated to reflect the latest information on laws and regulations in countries where Ricoh products are marketed.
In addition to complying with official laws and regulations, we continue to improve Ricoh regulations which set even stricter standards.
Concurrent activities ensure safety for children, elderly people and other socially vulnerable groups.
New technologies and business projects for which product safety standards have not yet been established require a system to identify possible risks.
Ricoh is expanding upon its "product safety risk assessment" method as an effective means of ensuring the product safety of new products as well as new technologies or mechanisms added to existing products. Combining this with the product safety standards developed for products such as digital copiers, serious effort is being applied to ensure the safety of new business products.

Basic Policy for Product Safety Activities
 

Multilateral market quality information management to enhance basic quality

In managing information on market quality, we are using the following three databases.
First, the database for our maintenance service information system, which contains all the historical information on machine failures that were confirmed by customer engineers and the maintenance services we offered.
Second, the database for our quality management system, linking the data obtained in Japan to the data obtained in various regions in the world. When a quality-related problem occurs, the Design and Manufacturing Department discuss what action to take based on information in the database and promptly feed back the result to those involved.
Third, the database for our device monitoring system, which allows us to obtain information on how customers use our equipment on a daily basis through @Remote, our global remote device management service.
Ricoh Group uses these systems in an integrated way to understand market information from multiple aspects. Based on the information gathered, problems are identified and then addressed. After the problems are solved, action is taken to prevent any similar problems from occurring and to improve basic quality.

■ Market quality information management process
   (Flow from information gathering to use)

Market quality information management process (Flow from information gathering to use)

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Example of creating new value

Improve the use of multifunctional digital copiers

Awareness of mistakes in accurately conveying attractive features of products

According to our customer satisfaction survey in 2006, we failed to achieve the expected results for new products equipped with advanced functions. This led us to ask ourselves: "Do we successfully convey the advantages of our products to the user?" To answer this question, Ricoh analyzed interviews with its own employees, and survey data. This revealed that customer satisfaction depends largely on the quality of the explanation of product functions provided when delivering the product to the customer as well as the extent to which the customer uses a particular function. In addition, analysis of data from @Remote on the use of devices by customers revealed that some of the functions on our multifunctional digital copiers are used infrequently. For example, many customers do not use the double-sided printing function, despite its effectiveness in reducing environmental impact and cost. These findings suggested that we need to establish a way to more accurately convey the attractive features of our products to customers.

Establish a process to convey the attractive features of our products to customers

In fiscal 2008, Ricoh decided to establish a process to convey information about specific methods of using equipment functions and their advantages to customers as well as another process to evaluate the effectiveness of that information in affecting how customers use the functions. The goal is to improve the communication process with the customer about the advantages of using the functions. A group of representatives from the planning, development, sales and service departments discussed what we can do at each step, from manufacturing, sales, delivery, installation and follow-up to evaluation, in order to establish a mechanism for communicating the advantages of using the functions (see figure below). We then established a process based on the results from discussions. Our activities have used this process since fiscal year 2009.

■ Steps to improve the use of a new product in its development stage

Steps to improve the use of a new product in its development stage

Major activities

Major activitiesSkill improvement training for service staff

  1. Improving after-process activities: Greater focus on ensuring that information on functions considered useful to customers is communicated accurately from the sales staff to the service staff so that a more appropriate explanation of the function can be provided to the customer when the equipment is delivered and installed and throughout the after-sales service process.
  2. Improving the instruction manual provided with the product: A detailed explanation of how to use functions and more information on their advantages is included in the instruction manual packaged with the product to more clearly communicate information about the value of the function to the customer.
  3. Improving the skills of service staff: A systematic training program for service staff throughout Japan has been developed. The program is designed to improve staff skills in explaining how to use functions and their advantages when presenting proposals to customers.
  4. Assessing the effects: The Manufacturing Department focuses on improving the processes that assess whether the use of functions and their advantages have been communicated to customers and whether the functions are being used effectively, and subsequently to make better use of the assessment results when manufacturing new products.

The above efforts have made sure that information on the usefulness of products, such as the double-sided printing function and the scanner function for multifunctional copiers, is widely recognized by customers to improve the extent to which they are used.

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Example of activities to foster the RICOH Quality mindset

Activities to educate all employees about RICOH Quality

In 2010, Ricoh started airing a commercial with the catch phrase "Aisuru-wo Hinshitsu-ni (Devoted to Quality)," showing that our employees commitment to pursuing RICOH Quality is motivated by our devotion to our customers and our devotion to our jobs that support our customers. The company concurrently established a system that will allow the 110,000 employees of Ricoh group companies to share this mindset.
One of the efforts taken to achieve this objective is holding the "Aisuru-wo Hinshitsu-ni contest." To start with, in fiscal year 2010 we invited the Manufacturing, Customer Service and Staff Departments to report daily activities and episodes that demonstrate their devotion to customers and their job of providing quality products, services and processes. In fiscal year 2011, contest participants were requested to include in their reporting, the value they delivered to customers (customer value) and how the delivered value was received by customers (customer feedback). The cases reported were introduced as “Aisuru-wo Hinshitsu-ni stories” to all divisions and group companies through our intranet and website so that they could be used for training. This contest also represents an opportunity for us to implement further reforms by taking another look at our quality improvement activities from the customer’s viewpoint.

Future RICOH Quality activities

Activities to delight customers

Global customer trust and satisfaction surveys

More emphasis is being placed on customer trust and satisfaction surveys (opinions about general issues, products, sales and service) for Ricoh products and services in Japan, America, Europe, China and Asian Pacific countries. In fiscal year 2011, we conducted global surveys in America, China, Germany, the United Kingdom and France on multifunctional digital copiers. A total of around 10,000 customers, 2,000 for each of the five countries, including those who use products and services of competitor companies, participated in the survey. In this fiscal year, we are conducting analyses on the responses received and working to establish a system to feed analysis results back to manufacturing, sales and service divisions.

Sharing information about successful examples of delighting customers by identifying unrecognized expectations

The Ricoh Group is more focused on satisfying customer demand and better understanding customers so that we can present proposals designed to satisfy and delight each customer. To promote these activities within the group, we gather examples and identify issues on which to focus. We share examples to learn from each other.

Activities to strengthen basic quality

Strengthen our global quality information management system

We are rebuilding the infrastructure for gathering global quality information. However, we encounter cases in which data in the information infrastructure alone is insufficient to thoroughly and promptly address a quality issue or even understand the issue itself. Our goal is to create a system that allows us to see the market situation more clearly and make best use of the information. We expect this system to further strengthen quality-related operations within each region, leading to prompt responses to quality issues and prevention of recurrences.

Strengthen the solution quality validation process

To provide solutions to customers’ problems, we propose systems combining equipment and software specifically tailored to meet the particular needs of each customer. This requires ensuring the quality not only of individual products, but also of the entire system so that the customer can rely on the system. The Ricoh Group continues to emphasize improving the solution quality validation process for each system to facilitate flexible cooperation among the design, manufacturing, sales and service departments.

■ Conceptual diagram of strengthening and expanding RICOH Quality activities

Conceptual diagram of strengthening and expanding RICOH Quality activities

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