Communication with customers to maximize customer satisfaction
Provision of Sustainability-conscious Products & Services
Globally operating companies are strengthening their efforts to enhance sustainability, not only in-house but in their supply chains as well. As such, customers' expectations for the OMRON Group to fulfill its responsibility in this area are on the rise. In the electronics industry, more companies are asking their suppliers to comply with the Code of Conduct established by RBA, Responsible Business Alliance*.
Amid this global supply chain trend, Sustainable Office is playing a leading role at the Group to work together with business segments and HQ departments. Specifically, the Group conducts self-assessments using the Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) provided by RBA in order to confirm its status of compliance with RBA standards in five categories: Labor, health & safety, environment, ethics, and management system.
During fiscal 2021, we conducted self-assessments at 19 of our major production sites in Japan, China, Southeast Asia, and Europe using the RBA survey form and our own human rights and labor status survey form.
We at the OMRON Group will continue to take measures to ensure that all products and services we provide with customers are sustainable in social and environmental aspects.
We are seeing an increase in the number of customers who require that third-party organizations conduct evaluations of our overall sustainability initiatives.
Our production sites in Vietnam and Dalian, China, receive RBA third-party audits, and we report the results to our customers upon request. In 2022, our production site in Dalian, China received Platinum certification, which is the highest possible.
We also receive a sustainability evaluation as the OMRON Group from EcoVadis*1 (France). In 2021, we were awarded Gold certification, rated within the top 5% of companies evaluated, with overall score of 66-72 points. We share these evaluation results through the EcoVadis platform with customers upon requests, to contribute to their sustainability.
Regarding climate and water-related issues, we are contributing to customers' environmental initiatives through the CDP*2 supply chain questionnaire.
Industrial Automation Business (IAB), which offers control equipment and factory automation systems, is working to help customers to realize innovation in manufacturing with a wide range of OMRON products, applications that connect the products, combined with services and support.
There is an increasing demand for services and support on production floors with drastic changes in social environment, such as technical innovation seen in robots and IoT, as well as labor shortage. In order to respond to these needs, we use our own proprietary network spanning countries around the world to provide extensive service and support tailored to customers' business processes, ranging from equipment design through to installation and maintenance.
In terms of global manufacturing, we have the same concerns and worries as our customers as regards our overseas production floors and daily operations. There is a time difference, languages are different, we can see each other. We sympathize with such customer concerns and annoyances, and we are aiming to eliminate these.
Accordingly, so that we could more rapidly and seamlessly provide support in resolving local manufacturing issues to our customers who are expanding their business worldwide, in April 2018 we established the Consultation Desk service with the aim of functioning as a service network hub connecting OMRON overseas service locations.
At OMRON, we already have a network of over 150 locations in 40 countries worldwide, making up a global support system. However, regional requests for service support that were previously cross-border were either handled by customers directly contacting their local OMRON base, or by OMRON sales representatives contacting them individually. In order to carry this out more effectively and promptly, we have put in place a global liaison function at our sales headquarters in Japan, Europe, the Americas, Greater China, and the Asia Pacific region. Additionally, we have enhanced our cross-border support system that provides backup to customers, and this includes a goal of responding to requests within 48 hours of receipt.
We are a specialist group that provides support for manufacturing, and we will continue to evolve every day with the aim of improving the global competitiveness of our customers.
Global Service Support Catalog
To the customers expanding their business overseas, IAB wants them to feel assured in using OMRON's control equipment anywhere and anytime. To this end, IAB identified nearly 20 core services and support, visualizing the service provision status, not only in Japan but at each global area, and started offering them the latest information. Moreover, IAB is working to minimize the customers' workload and concerns in different multinational procedures, by establishing the stronger structure to link OMRON's global sites with each other, to closely assist customers.
While most customer support centers in Japan target an 80% customer satisfaction level, OMRON has set a higher goal in pursuit of 90%-plus customer satisfaction and works day and night to improve customer satisfaction. In particular, we place importance on ease of connection and capabilities to proactively make technical propositions and recommendations.
We have received a certain level of positive feedback for ease of connection and will continue our efforts here.
In the area of product technology proposal capabilities, based on customer feedback regarding solutions to social issues such as labor shortages, we intend to enhance our response capabilities further at call centers with respect to controllers, motion, and imaging for industrial robots and application-type products. In FY2021, we stepped up our efforts to reduce the burden on customers by expanding the number of contact points available to respond to inquiries. We will continue to improve the overall level of our operators, not only in responding to inquiries, but also in proposing further improvements based on each customer's situation.
In response to changing customer needs, we developed a new consultation channel (chat response) for dealers in FY2020. We began expanding this channel to general customers in January 2022. In the future, we will introduce a new Customer Effort Scale (CES) survey and make improvements based on feedback from dealers and general customers. This feedback will lead to expanded services and improved satisfaction.
Since we began surveys in 2014, we have been striving for 95%-plus customer satisfaction every year. Each quarter, we measure customer satisfaction. More specifically, we send a survey to customers via e-mail, asking for a five-point evaluation. We also ask for areas they liked and areas requiring improvement. We share these responses within our call center, considering each issue and forming responses for improvement.
IAB offers the latest information and services online so that customers can obtain necessary information at any time, including product information, users' manuals, CAD, downloadable certification documents, as well as search function to find recommended replacing models for discontinued items. Furthermore, IAB is working to provide more information online to help solve customers’ business issues, such as labor shortages in factories and difficulty in passing down the expertise of skilled workforce: OMRON’s solutions to realize innovation at manufacturing sites using its robots and IoT; and practical cases of its customers who have implemented cutting-edge manufacturing innovation.
IAB Japan's website placed first in the 2022 B-to-B site ranking established by Tribeck Brand Strategies, Inc. for the sixteenth consecutive year. IAB's steady efforts to enable continuous improvements in the world of the ever-advancing internet were highly regarded by customers, which resulted in this recurring honor. IAB will continue offering a broader range of information and service of high value to customers' manufacturing.
We at IAB will continue our efforts to keep up with further technical evolution and realization of innovative applications. To do so, we will keep challenging ourselves to create new services and support, making the most of OMRON-only technologies, know-hows, and experience earned at actual production floors. We at IAB want to be recognized by our customers as their partners in manufacturing innovation, so that we will work harder not only on hardware (control equipment) and software (applications) but also better services and support. We will keep evolving, together with customers.
OMRON Healthcare Co., Ltd. (HCB) offers customer support customized to each region in which the company’s global sites are located.
In Japan, we have established a Customer Support Center that handles customer inquiries, accessory sales, and repair requests through a single point of contact. The center received roughly 280,000 inquiries during fiscal 2021.
While customer inquiries have traditionally been by telephone in the main, more recently customers are using a variety of other means, including contact forms on our websites, chatbots. In particular, we receive a large number of visits to our FAQ webpages. In light of this trend, we focus on improving customer convenience by reflecting the questions most frequently asked by customers in our FAQ and by making navigation on the website as easy to understand as possible.
With the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, customer interest in blood pressure and body temperature has continued to grow. We strive to provide more detailed and easier-to-understand explanations to customers who inquire about our related products and services.
We also endeavor to create better products and services by providing customer feedback and suggestions to our product planning, R&D, and production departments.
HCB will continue to listen to customer feedback, striving for higher levels of customer satisfaction.
Since conducting surveys beginning in fiscal 2013, results have improved every year. Satisfaction for fiscal 2021 reached 98.3%.
We are pursuing the following initiatives in our Chinese call center to support and improve customer satisfaction.
The following are points of emphasis to improve operator quality for fiscal 2022.
In order to keep improving innovative-Automation products/services, IAB, the Industrial Automation Business monitors and evaluates opinions from target customers worldwide, to see if they find/expect innovative-Automation contributing/to contribute to their on-site innovation.
The results above show customer evaluations of innovative-Automation IAB proposed, gained from wide-ranged interviews with upper management to on-site engineers (e.g. in the food industry). For the interviews, product R&D members directly visit customers, or via online recently. We ask them for further opinions in the event that scores fell below the previous year's levels.
Based on these results, evaluation committees for each business and product within the company check and adjust the direction of these respective businesses and products, and carry out improvement activities, such as reviewing innovative-Automation proposals, to improve customer evaluations. Detailed improvement results have been reported back to customers.
OMRON Healthcare Co., Ltd. closely communicates with customers at the product planning, design, and after-sales stages. This allows the company to gain an accurate understanding of how products are used and the environment in which they are used. The company then uses this information to develop products that are easier to use and are higher in precision.
Nebulizers are medical devices that atomize therapeutic solutions for asthma and other conditions and deliver these solutions to the bronchial tubes and lungs. In the case of pediatric asthma, parents often help their children with inhalation, so we strive to develop nebulizers that are convenient not only for children, but also for their parents.
Product design reflects a three-phase process flow for nebulizer use: (1) preparation, (2) inhalation, and (3) cleanup. By monitoring the actual inhalation process, we identified issues in each phase, including how to press the switch, how to move during inhalation, and how to clean the device after use.
The result of our efforts is the NE-U105 compressor-type nebulizer, which we launched in Europe in February 2021. We focused on user-friendliness by providing a section that doubles as a handle on the body for easy carrying. Switches are positioned on the front of the device for quick operation with one hand. We also evened out the surface of the device for easy wiping of liquids and dust.
Similarly, we have pursued usability for the nebulizer kit (“Nebukit”), which connects to the main unit by a tube and filled with a chemical solution for atomization. Our conventional Nebukit R&D emphasized atomizing performance. However, user monitoring revealed to us that Nebukit had many issues. These issues included being too large for children's hands and difficult to grip. In response to this situation, 3A Health Care s.r.l., our nebulizer development and production base in Italy, OMRON Healthcare Europe B.V., our sales base in Europe, and a team in Japan sponsored a project to develop a Nebukit offering both atomization performance and usability for children. The project team reduced the number of Nebukit parts, resulting in a simplified structure that is easily assembled. The cylinder (component held in the hand) was made narrower for easy manipulation, even by children. The team also designed the structure to prevent liquid spills, even when tilted, to allow for use while the patient lies down.
This NE-U105 is our base nebulizer design. This design emphasizes a balance between the reliability and the precision required of a medical device, together with the user-friendliness of a home-use device. We were honored to receive the Good Design Award 2021 and the international iF Design Award for our efforts with this product.
OMRON Healthcare pursues a respiratory disease business as a priority category under the SF2030 long-term vision, Going for ZERO Preventive Care for the Health of Society. The goal here is for zero aggravation of respiratory diseases. We support the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which are on the rise worldwide, to prevent the progression of symptoms and contribute to the creation of societies in which patients and their families live a life free from attacks.