Maintaining High Quality StandardsQuality is essential for NORMA Group. The exceptional quality of NORMA Group products is a significant factor in their success, enabling them to respond to global megatrends and meet growing requirements. It is crucial to increasing end-product longevity and can contribute significantly to boosting efficiency and conserving resources.
To ensure that high quality standards are being fully maintained, we continually optimise and improve our processes. Compliance with the quality standards ISO 9001 and TS 16949 guarantees standardised quality levels at NORMA Group sites around the world (with the exception of NDS, the company acquired in 2014). In addition, two sites that supply the aviation industry have EN 9100 certification, and a variety of product groups have been specially certified for the shipping and construction industries.
Group-Wide Use of Quality Management SystemsNORMA Group employees play a decisive role in quality management. All NORMA sites have a quality department with a staff of two to forty experts. Our system of “process audits” ensures ongoing dialog among those responsible for quality. This involves the targeted use of quality management systems such as the 5S methodology, poka-yoke, the Six Sigma methodology, and, since 2013, Gemba Walk. Regional standards and customer-specific requirements are always observed in production. Know-how is distributed and transferred throughout the entire group via close cooperation among the different sites and the gradual introduction of quality management software (CAQ). We use a variant of the Kaizen approach for the company’s suggestion system which encourages the departments of production or administrative units to compete for the best ideas. GRI [G4-PR1]
Focus on Prevention of Quality-Related ComplaintsNORMA Group has been very successful in the implementation of its process-oriented quality-management system and employee suggestion plan. These systems help to rule out production defects to a great extent, as can be seen from the key indicator “quality-related complaints per million parts.” With this figure, successes in quality management can be reliably recorded, and specific efforts to improve quality can be evaluated. For several years now, this number has therefore been included in annual reports.In 2016, the number of defective parts returned by customers (per million) was 32. The average number of quality-related complaints per month was eight, as in the previous year.
Moreover, awards from customers reflect the high level of satisfaction with the quality of NORMA Group products. In 2015, NORMA Group received the Platinum Supplier Status from General Motors for the St. Clair plant in the US, as well as the 50 PPM Award from the truck manufacturer PACCAR for the sites in Auburn Hills, US, and Juarez, Mexico.
A specific example of the implementation of improvements at NORMA Group is the “Value Analysis and Value Engineering” assessment (VAVE). In the course of this analysis, interdisciplinary teams are used to identify potential for improvements in all the regions in which we operate. Subsequently, the insights from the VAVE analysis are compared with customer requirements with regard to parameters such as weight, density, or heat resistance, for example. Our objective is to improve existing processes. VAVE thus helps us to reduce our production costs.
Continuous Review of Customer SatisfactionThe satisfaction of our over 11,000 customers in more than 100 countries is the standard against which all of our activities are measured. We are therefore very pleased that our customers likewise generally confirm the high quality of our products and the reliability of NORMA Group as a business partner.
We work closely with our customers and maintain an ongoing dialog with them as part of our efforts to optimise and adjust NORMA Group products. To better understand customer requirements, we have traditionally conducted an annual Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS). Starting in 2016, this survey takes place every two years. We carry out additional customer surveys on a quarterly basis. Based on the potential for improvement revealed by these measures, we create action plans to quickly tackle any necessary optimisations and to systematically monitor their implementation.
The result of our efforts is measured using a Net Promoter Score (NPS) – a gauge of how willing customers are to recommend the company, its products, or its services, and an indirect indicator of customer satisfaction. The NPS rose to 28 percent in 2013 from eleven percent the previous year. In 2014, it was 25 percent, in 2016 it was 22 percent. In preparation for the 2016 survey, a “customer radar” was introduced in several countries in order to measure trends in customer satisfaction. GRI [G4-PR5]