Getting quality right

The ability to engineer globally and remain relevant locally

By Philippa Martin-King

IEC Global Visions recently interviewed Dr Kazuo Kyuma, Executive Vice President and Group President Semiconductor & Device, Mitsubishi Electric, about the need to provide optimum quality products to individual markets without developing too many product variations, thereby introducing unnecessary costs. Mitsubishi Electric participates actively in 34 IEC Technical Committees and Subcommittees.

How is quality qualified?

Mitsubishi Electric’s global leitmotiv is quality, of which reliability and safety are key elements. The company believes that quality is always a top priority, even above price or on-time delivery, and that it directly helps the company to grow. However, quality is not a uniform, one-size-fits-all thing: customers in different regions of the world may have dissimilar needs. For example, it would be nonsensical to deliver a product that can withstand high ambient temperatures to customers who live in a cold climate. Likewise, quality requirements in hot, dusty or humid environments may differ substantially. The point is always to deliver the quality that is required to provide optimum performance at an affordable price. Over-engineering can be as detrimental to a company’s success as under-engineering. 

Born out of necessity

Kyuma believes that one of the reasons for the global success of Japanese products is that Japan is particularly suitable as a testing ground for quality. Most climate types – from cold to humid, from dusty to hot and dry – can be found in the country. Products and infrastructures also need to be able to resist extreme winds, torrential rains and regular earthquakes

Global relevance, taking into account differences

Key elements of Mitsubishi Electric’s quality strategy are the use of International Standards and the corporation’s participation in IEC work. As Kyuma explains, Mitsubishi as a company needs to grow and succeed in a sustainable way. IEC International Standards take into account global relevance and differences. They are the result of discussions between many people from different companies and backgrounds, who bring the right levels of expertise and experience to the table.

By complying with International Standards, Mitsubishi is able to build and test products that are reliable and safe, and can be sold worldwide. Participating in the standards setting process allows the company to contribute to technologies, find new ideas and develop innovative products. Kyuma hopes that still more companies will join the process because this further increases the quality of the final standards.