The name Schaeffler stands for the highest quality. From this, the company derives the principle outlined in the corporate strategy “Mobility for tomorrow” to ensure outstanding quality and product safety requirements consistently and continuously across all application areas.
“Quality for Tomorrow” initiative
To ensure this, Schaeffler has launched the Quality for Tomorrow initiative as part of the “Agenda 4 plus One” program. To ensure that both products and processes are free from errors, the following priorities have been set:
- Continuous improvement of products and services in the core business
- Continuous improvement of the quality management system as well as the manufacturing and business processes
- Preventative measures in product development through product safety assessments on products selected according to the risk-based approach defined in IATF 16949
The “Quality for Tomorrow” initiative will be successfully completed by the end of 2020. Until then, Schaeffler wants to further reduce the number of complaints as an important quality indicator from year to year.
Schaeffler started the first pilot projects in 2018. The experience form this will be used to gradually introduce the set of measures throughout the Group.
Schaeffler ensures and improves the quality of its products and processes with a variety of tools: All Schaeffler Group production sites1) have certified management systems in accordance with globally recognized quality standards and regulations.
In 2018, the company successfully implemented the requirements of the following certification-relevant standards in all Schaeffler plants concerned worldwide:
- IATF 16949:2016 quality management system (automotive industry standard)
- ISO/TS 22163 quality management system (with specific requirements for the application of ISO 9001:2015 in the railway sector)
- SAE AS 9100D:2016-09-20 quality management systems (requirements for aerospace and defense organizations)
- ISO 9001:2015 quality management system (industry standard)
The conformity of the products and processes with these standards is periodically checked and confirmed at the affected locations by way of internal and external audits. In addition, Schaeffler carries out audits in accordance with sustainability standards at its plants.
You can find more in the magazine section under How we promote sustainability standards across the supply chain.
In 2018, Schaeffler was able to reduce the number of complaints once again. Two product liability cases2) were reported that are currently being processed.
In fiscal year 2018, quality was also a part of the annual technology dialog. At the event, quality aspects were presented as part of the key topics. An example of this is the increasing use of additive manufacturing and its quality control in the Schaeffler Group. New quality assurance processes are being developed that correspond to this modern technology.
High standards in product safety
Product safety is an essential quality characteristic for industrial plants and transport systems. Schaeffler ensures safety through standardized and audited processes. In July 2018, the company management decided to introduce an integrated product safety management system throughout the Group by the end of 2019.
The Schaeffler Group’s product safety officers are trained in combined online and face-to-face trainings. In addition, Schaeffler conducts industry-related product safety days during which automotive professionals and executives discuss safety matters with NGOs, authorities, and government organizations. The meetings serve to make the product safety and compliance processes even more reliable together. A product safety day was held in Bühl in 2018 – now the third time this has taken place. In addition to representatives from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, customers and other industry representatives also participated.
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Trademark protection in real time via apps
Quality must also be protected from external threats. Trade in counterfeit products, for example, not only damages the manufacturer, but their use can also result in material damage to vehicles and industrial equipment or personal injury. The Schaeffler Group fights product piracy with a holistic approach. Since 2004, the Brand Protection Team has been responsible for this within the company. It coordinates preventative measures against trademark infringements and the legal prosecution of confirmed cases. In addition, Schaeffler provides its customers with solutions to authenticate suspected counterfeit products. Using the cloud-based “OriginCheck App” or “PrecisionDesk App”, end customers, resellers, and government agencies can quickly and easily check Schaeffler products, which are individually tagged with a Data Matrix code, for suspected counterfeiting. For its “OriginCheck App”, Schaeffler received an award in the “Excellent Places in the Land of Ideas 2018” competition, a location initiative from the German Federal Government and German industry in June 2018.
1) According to the scope of the Schaeffler Group’s management manual and valid certification rules.
2) Product liability cases (pursuant to the product liability law) are claims by end users against Schaeffler for compensation for damage occurred to the end user as the result of a safety-related product defect.