Hitachi Automotive: Quality Management System
Hitachi Automotive Products, Los Angeles (HAP-LA), based in Torrance, is a major remanufacturer of alternators, starters, electronic control units, mass airflow sensors, distributors, and other automotive electronic parts. As a leading supplier to Ford, GM, Honda, Subaru, Nissan, and Isuzu, to name a few, HAP-LA is required to comply with and obtain registration for the International Standards Organization (ISO) 9001:2000 and TS-16949 requirements in order to maintain the current relationship with these customers. To do this, HAP-LA has implemented a fully integrated Quality Management System (QMS) that incorporates all aspects of production, sales, engineering, logistics, production control and purchasing.
Before any further discussion on HAP-LA's QMS can be covered, a question needs to be answered that assists in understanding how the QMS is managed. What is quality? Quality is, essentially, the control of variation through data driven studies and objective management systems based on a set standard that is driven by the customers' expectations and the company's abilities to meet these expectations.
The standard that is used for determining the allowable variation is dynamic, depending on increasing customers' needs and available technology. Using this definition, HAP-LA works to achieve the high quality standards that are expected by the various customers through a system of procedures, work instructions, and quality control at the facility.
A strong asset for HAP-LA is the managerial acceptance of all aspects of the quality management system. This is enhanced through the corporate culture towards quality management that is dictated by the corporate office in Japan. Even though 90% of the employees at the HAP-LA facility are not of Japanese or other Asian descent, the corporate culture that trickles down to the facility level instills a sense of long-term approach to problem management and quality that is not seen in American based...