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Updated on September 7, 2016

Product Quality and Quality Management

The Sony Pledge of Quality declares our commitment: "Sony employees will always respect our customers' viewpoints in striving to deliver product quality and customer service that exceed their expectations." To this end, Sony promotes continuous, decisive efforts to enhance product quality and to reinforce its quality management system.

Sony's Quality Management System Framework

Sony has configured its quality management system by defining quality management mechanisms across all processes, from product planning, development, design and manufacturing through sales and customer service. This has included defining the roles, responsibilities and authority of those responsible for product and customer service quality and establishing guidelines.
  • Framework of Sony's Quality Management System
Based on this quality management system, Sony is implementing measures on an ongoing basis to improve the quality of its products and services. Examples of such measures are given below. Sony:

  • Has appointed the Corporate Executive in charge of Product Quality and has tasked this person with coordinating efforts to improve product and customer service quality and ensure timely responses to problems;

  • Has appointed Quality Officers within each business unit and has tasked them with promoting activities to improve product quality and spearheading initiatives to enhance the quality of products and services in specific business areas under the direction and supervision of the Corporate Executive in charge of Product Quality and the head of the relevant business unit;

  • Has appointed CS Officers to coordinate customer service departments in markets around the world where Sony products are sold and has tasked them with spearheading a network of global-level initiatives under the supervision of the Corporate Executive in charge of Product Quality and the individual in charge of the relevant regional headquarters;

  • Has created a framework for promoting business unit- and region-specific initiatives to ensure Sony's products comply with pertinent laws and regulations;

  • Has obtained certification under ISO 9001 for all sites manufacturing electronics products;

  • Has formulated mid-term and fiscal year targets for the quality of and customer service related to Sony products, as well as key quality-related indicators for business plans, with the aim of fulfilling the Sony Pledge of Quality. Business units and regional headquarters subsequently devised their own fiscal year quality and customer service targets and business plans, in line with which they continue to promote quality improvement initiatives;

  • Has held meetings of top managers responsible for quality and customer service in the electronics business to deliberate and decide on policy, targets, and key strategies related to product quality and customer service;

  • Has held regular meetings of Quality Officers from business units to evaluate the progress of quality-oriented business plans, promote initiatives aimed at achieving targets, and debate specific activities and responses to quality-related issues and common challenges;

  • Has held meetings of business unit Quality Officers and regional CS Officers to evaluate the progress of quality and customer service business plans and promote initiatives aimed at achieving targets, and to share information on customer service and product quality activities and common challenges, thereby contributing to global efforts to improve product quality and customer service;

  • Has formulated and administers Sony quality standards applicable to Sony's electronics products and related customer services, which focus on such criteria as product safety and performance, labeling and customer services. These standards are updated continuously to reflect technological advances, changes in applicable legal and regulatory requirements, and social changes, aiming to ensure Sony's ability to deliver quality and services that exceed the expectations of customers;

  • Has strengthened rules worldwide since 2006 to ensure prompt reporting to the Corporate Executive in charge of Product Quality, when Sony receives information about an incident involving a Sony product that affects customer safety or has the potential to do so. Based on the reports received, the Corporate Executive in charge of Product Quality provides the necessary follow-up and instructs the relevant divisions to investigate the incidents and respond appropriately to the customer. Since 2007, under the similar system, Sony has been addressing software security issues found in products and managing potential software security issues.

Responding to the Customer

Sony makes active use of customer feedback to improve its products and customer services. Opinions, reports of malfunctions after purchase, questions regarding use and other feedback received through Customer Information Centers are evaluated promptly and accurately and disseminated to the planning and design groups so that improvements in product quality can be made in a timely fashion, thus contributing to efforts to enhance product power.

In order to reinforce these efforts, Sony has since 2015 centralized all customer feedback received at Customer Information Centers and technical support desks around the world. This change allows for feedback to be used group-wide to improve Sony products and provide better information to customers. Sony has also begun analyzing customer feedback on social networking services (SNS), as well.
  • Utilizing Customer Feedback

Quality Hotline

It is vital to detect product quality-related problems as early as possible. To that end, Sony established the Quality Hotline in 2003 to gather product quality-related information, including reports of problems, as well as opinions from Sony Group employees. Employees can use the Quality Hotline, an in-house website, to send messages regarding such matters as product quality issues that are too difficult to handle at their workplace, and problems with the quality of product-related customer services as perceived by customers who have made use of those services. Upon investigating a problem to ascertain the veracity of the information received, the Quality Hotline office proposes and introduces measures to prevent previous problems from recurring and precluding potential new problems.

These initiatives are closely linked to the Sony Pledge of Quality, which states that "Sony employees will always respect our customers' viewpoints in striving to deliver product quality and customer service that exceed their expectations." Since the establishment of the Quality Hotline, Sony has received a diverse range of information, including proposals to make products more user-friendly and manuals easier to understand, which has led to a great many improvements.

As these initiatives indicate, employees across the Sony Group are wholeheartedly committed to working together to improve product and service quality from the customer's perspective with the aim of maintaining and enhancing customers' satisfaction, confidence and trust.

Market Quality Improvements

Sony has established dedicated quality management organizations in each of its business areas that are responsible for improving quality for pertinent products in each market.

At Sony headquarters, information related to quality issues arising in the marketplace is gathered in a timely manner from a broad range of sources in Japan and overseas and reported weekly to headquarters quality management and technical specialists. Based on the reported information, Sony ascertains whether or not issues in the marketplace have been addressed appropriately. In addition to ensuring that such issues are thoroughly addressed, Sony is accelerating its quality improvement performance by promoting measures to prevent recurrence and proactive measures in relation to quality issues.

Responses to Quality Issues

Sony recognizes that ensuring its customers' satisfaction, confidence and trust is one of its most important management tasks and strives to prevent quality-related problems through the systems and efforts described above.

Sony responds swiftly in the event of a quality-related issue, with the relevant departments working together to investigate facts and take appropriate action on a global scale. When such an issue arises, Sony decides and implements public announcements and market action for customers, after undertaking various inspections regarding the issue, following a process common to all Sony products. This process starts with the gathering of information from Customer Service Centers worldwide and collaboration with concerned local parties to ensure an accurate grasp of the issue. Based on information collected, Sony then works to determine the correct response by identifying the cause of the issue, implementing countermeasures and promptly verifying the effectiveness thereof, and reviewing the issue from the customer's perspective. Sony also cooperates with CS Officers at sites in each region to ensure the same level of service is provided to customers the world over.

With regard to methods and media for issuing public announcements of product quality-related issues, Sony examines the effectiveness of the various means at its disposal, including the Internet, e-mail or other electronic media, as well as direct mail, newspaper advertisements or other conventional media.
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