In 1964, Canon determined that its basic quality concept* is to ensure that customers have “no claims, no trouble,” and has since striven to earn the trust and heartfelt satisfaction of customers around the world by providing products of surpassing quality. Based on this mindset, the Canon Group’s firm commitment is to adhere to the Canon Quality motto that incorporates the three keywords “Safety + Smartness + Satisfaction”—the elements we view as essential to product quality. We are dedicated to improving the quality of products over their lifecycles.
At Canon, we have developed an in-house quality management system that we follow assiduously. The system has three defining characteristics, as outlined below.
Using our in-house quality management system as a base, the various Headquarters divisions at Canon Inc. implement rigorous quality control by building quality assurance (QA) systems that are optimized for the characteristics of each business, as well as in compliance with the legal and regulatory standards of each country and region.
Supplementing the vertically integrated activities of each business division to solve division-specific quality issues, we have formed two committees to focus on improving quality at each of the product development and production stages as part of efforts to coordinate QA activities across the Canon Group. Sharing best QA practices across the company has not only enabled us to increase quality at each stage of development and production but has also led to significant reductions in waste and costs.
Canon employs a range of measures to instill high employee awareness of the need to maintain outstanding quality and attain further quality improvements, and to help employees gain related knowledge.
We continually communicate our basic concept and motto on quality, while also conducting annual Groupwide surveys of employees to ascertain the degree of quality awareness. Canon Inc. has designated November as Quality Month, and each year in November holds the Quality Fair and Quality Awards to raise quality awareness and recognize exceptional activities that have improved quality.
In addition, we provide online educational courses on quality for all employees and have developed a tiered training curriculum for Group companies in Japan and abroad. Alongside this, we have training programs customized to the specific circumstances and issues of each division, and we also conduct on-site training at production sites.
We focus particular attention on product safety training, conducting a wide range of specialized programs in areas such as product safety regulations, product liability laws, and substantial safety technology, as well as product safety orientations for new staff. In 2022, besides holding 10 training courses, we provided a set of four online lectures on safety regulations for products and chemicals, designed for access through the year by Canon Group employees with responsibilities in related areas.
Canon Inc. conducts e-learning activities to promote thorough understanding of the Voluntary Action Plan for Product Safety on an ongoing basis. In addition, we continually provide safety information, such as safety cautions when making repairs or exchanging parts, to Group companies involved with product sales, repair, and service.
Canon Inc. believes one of its most fundamental and important missions as a manufacturer is to provide safe products to customers. With this in mind, we formulated a Basic Policy on Product Safety that Group companies in Japan strictly adhere to.
Based on this policy, Canon Inc. and Group companies in Japan formulate and follow individual Voluntary Action Plans for Product Safety suited to their business format, working to ensure product safety while remaining customer-focused.
Moreover, we comply fully with government laws and notices, and have developed a system for immediate reporting, for example, in the unlikely event of an accident involving one of our products.
Canon has established its own safety standards (for substantial safety*) for all Canon products, which take into account customer safety as well as legally stipulated product safety standards.
For example, Canon’s safety-conscious standards call for the use of plastics that are more flame resistant than the law requires, and we implement doubleprotection schemes for important safety-related components. We regularly revise these standards in light of technological advances as well as changes in how customers use our products, and changes in customer demands regarding safety.
We use our proprietary safety standards to apply rigorous quality controls to all products within a framework for checking quality across product commercialization processes. Ensuring that all our products are safe to use, we never release to market any product not meeting the standards.
Canon Inc. has set up testing facilities compliant with public standards and relevant laws to accurately and thoroughly assess the safety of products in terms of electromagnetic interference (EMI), noise, flame resistance ratings, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), genotoxicity, and electrical safety.
Canon Inc. has also obtained certification in public standards such as ISO/IEC*1, enabling certified testing to be carried out in-house according to highly precise measurements. Specifically, Canon is equipped with the industry’s leading testing technology, including semianechoic chambers for EMI testing that are among the largest and best in Japan, shielded rooms, and semianechoic chambers for acoustic noise testing. In addition to EMC testing*2, Canon is able to conduct in-house testing necessary for applying for Blue Angel*3 and other certifications.
Canon assesses the chemical emissions from its printers, multifunctional devices (MFDs), projectors, and other products. Our assessments include measurements of data necessary for acquisition of Germany’s Blue Angel environmental label.
To ensure the safety of customers using Canon products, we have also defined our own internal safety standards for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), based on the guidelines for internal exposure limits and indicators as set by major bodies in Japan, the US and Europe, along with the related international standards. We also check that our products conform to these standards.
The in-house laboratory conducting these assessments has received accreditation from Germany’s Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) and is therefore capable of conducting the assessments required for applications for Blue Angel certification. It has also received ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation to conduct measurements in a fair and neutral manner.
The international standard relating to VOC emissions (ISO/IEC 28360-1) was revised in November 2021, applying new emission models and calculation formulae to printers and copiers equipped with energysaving modes. We reflected this change at once in our internal measurement standards and all related product evaluations.
Canon assesses the safety of its ink, toner, and other consumables, enabling customers to use its printers and MFDs with confidence.
For example, with regard to the materials for ink and toner, we carry out assessments related to genotoxicity, thought to be closely linked to carcinogenicity, using bacterial reverse mutation tests and in vitro mammalian cell micronucleus tests. Regarding micronucleus tests, Canon is conducting in-house tests to assess the waterinsoluble materials used in many Canon products.
Canon’s testing laboratories are highly reliable and have been certified by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare as in compliance with Good Laboratory Practice (GLP)* standards in the Act on the Evaluation of Chemical Substances and Regulation of Their Manufacture, etc. (Chemical Substances Control Law). Canon’s laboratories also comply with GLP standards set by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Furthermore, Canon became the first in Japan to have its in vitro mammalian cell micronucleus test certified as in compliance with the GLP standards in the Chemical Substances Control Law.
In some cases, animal testing is an effective means of verifying the impact a chemical may have on human health or the environment. Certain laws and regulations in Japan and other countries require the submission of animal test data as part of statutory safety assessments of chemicals and medical devices.
In light of this, Canon conducts animal testing through a third-party specialist institution, but only in cases where it cannot obtain existing data externally with regard to chemicals such as toners and inks, and no alternative is available. This approach is stipulated in our in-house rules on the safety of chemical products and in our adherence to the Three Rs* for animal testing. Furthermore, for certain components and materials used in medical devices, we commission external specialist organizations to conduct animal testing if necessary to comply with standards.
Canon will continue to gather information and conduct analysis on novel approaches and evaluation methods that do not require animal testing so that alternative forms of evaluation can be conducted.
Canon actively pursues activities to ensure the quality and reliability of procured parts and materials used in products, so that they can be used for years with confidence.
To ensure product quality, we have devised technical checklists by type for important procured components; we also maintain a quality assurance framework to ascertain the technical capabilities of suppliers prior to any new parts procurement. To enhance quality, we work together with suppliers on optimizing quality control systems and manufacturing processes. In addition, to help detect and resolve any quality defects at an early stage, we use high-precision nondestructive analysis technologies, such as X-ray CT scans and thermal analysis, to evaluate electronic components and isolate defects. We are also working to utilize and strengthen technologies such as chemical analysis to elucidate the causes of material degradation/damage or contamination.
Network connectivity via the cloud or using smartphones is increasingly enhancing benefits from Canon products and services. On the other hand, there is a growing need for measures against rising cybersecurity risks such as leaks of personal information or confidential data. Canon emphasizes potential cybersecurity risks from the product development stage. If any specific security issues are identified, information is shared at once with relevant divisions so efforts can be made to prevent any impact on customers and mitigate related risk.
Canon incorporates the necessary security features into products and services from the development stage, based on the trends in technology led by government entities, industry groups and software vendors on a global basis. We utilize methods such as review-based checks and vulnerability tests to mitigate related risks, with a secure development process positioned as a vital part of development. To stop recurrence of past vulnerabilities, we have made vulnerability assessment a requirement before final quality sign-off, and processes to confirm anti-recurrence measures have been implemented are under Group-wide development.
Product/service vulnerabilities constitute a specialized area where technical progress and complexity make acquiring the latest knowledge and tracking developments a necessity. We define career and skill levels for our new software engineers, customer service engineers and security specialists, and have designed a level-specific security training curriculum to help develop critical human resources. Post-training follow-up processes also support onsite vulnerability testing to build practical skills alongside the theoretical knowledge base.
In January 2022, we created and initiated the Canon PSIRT program as an internal response to addressing any security issues as they arise in the marketplace.
Working in partnership with the METI’s early warning framework and external groups such as the JPCERT Coordination Center, Canon PSIRT focuses on managing vulnerability-related market developments, including gathering the latest information. Fully integrated into our risk management approach, the PSIRT website releases the relevant information to customers on vulnerabilities in Canon products and services in a timely manner whenever they are received from researchers worldwide, thus ensuring our response to cybersecurity risks is on a par with the industry.
After-sales service is crucial to enabling customers to use our products with confidence. Canon is putting efforts into expanding the after-sales service network to be able to provide the same level of prompt, reliable support anywhere in the world.
For example, to enhance customer usability and more easily resolve issues, we are expanding customer support services globally through our website. In addition to posting FAQs, product specifications, user manuals, and other support information, the latest driver software is also available for download. Support information and software are both based on content shared worldwide, while including needed local content for each country or region. Group marketing companies then localize the content in various languages.
We continually monitor how customers use content and analyze survey responses and other data, feeding back the results to divisions producing content to constantly make updates and improve customer usability. We are also working to offer more userfriendly services by optimizing content to support the greater use of a wider range of information devices.
In order to achieve even greater customer satisfaction, Canon conducts product evaluations from the customer’s perspective at the development stage, and incorporates customer feedback and requests in its development and design processes.
For example, using a framework called the Call Information Collection and Analysis System, we built a database of customer feedback and requests received by call centers at our marketing companies worldwide, and manage this data centrally. Development divisions take advantage of this data to enhance customer usability, such as improving display methods on product control panels or simplifying the steps needed to connect to wireless LAN. Information gleaned from customers is shared internally throughout the Group, including development divisions, production divisions and marketing companies, and used to improve each local site.
Should a quality issue arise, Canon has systems in place to promptly and appropriately investigate the cause, repair products free of charge, and disclose quality information. We also keep our customers informed about product quality issues and remedial procedures by placing product advisory statements in various newspapers and on our website.
There were no such statements in 2022. Should a quality issue arise, our marketing companies in each country or region, which serve as the contact point for customers, file a report with the quality assurance division of the respective Canon Inc. Headquarters division (products operations). The quality assurance division then investigates the cause of the issue as well as countermeasures. Moreover, in the event of a major issue, related Headquarters divisions (products operations), the Global Quality Management Center, legal division, and public relations division are consulted concerning response measures, and after the matter is reported to the CEO, action is promptly taken.
From consumer products to industrial equipment, to ensure the greatest possible ease of understanding and use for customers with a wide range of needs, Canon carries out usability tests using both internal and external monitors, web-based surveys, and expert staff evaluations at the product development stage.
We objectively test human factors, including physical characteristics, perception, judgment, and operating burden, to develop products that customers can use comfortably and with ease. We built a dedicated monitoring test room equipped to allow detailed observation and recording of the behavior and actions of testers as they operate devices, including even hand movements.
Moreover, we are working to create safer testing environments by implementing measures to prevent infection such as a mechanism to broadcast testing scenarios for remote observation and the installation of clear plastic panels to block air-borne droplets.
Canon strives to develop people-friendly products by pursuing functionality, operability, and convenience from the customer’s perspective in actual usage situations. As part of this effort, we have adopted a universal design approach through which we endeavor to create products from a customer perspective from the design stage onward, facilitating use by all customers, regardless of age, gender, nationality, or physical ability. At Canon, we approach product design and development from the perspective of making the customer “look like a natural.”
For example, we evaluate and test usability, accessibility, and comfort from various perspectives, regarding aspects such as text sizes that are easy to read and color designs that are easy to recognize for people with various visual sensitivities. Information obtained from these activities is valuable in the development of more user-friendly products.
Moreover, aiming to encourage efforts in universal design, we distribute a guidance booklet to all development divisions that addresses the physical characteristics of users and various other issues that arise during product use, and also conduct e-learning courses to enhance knowledge in this area. We also create customer-oriented pamphlets and post website content among other steps to share information both inside and outside the company about the universal design initiatives underway at Canon.
Canon is working to increase the accessibility of its products in order to make them easy to use for the elderly and persons with disabilities.
Section 508 of the United States Rehabilitation Act requires that agencies of the federal government only purchase products that meet stipulated accessibility standards. The results of Section 508 accessibility evaluations of Canon products have been collected into a VPAT* and made available on the Canon U.S.A. website. To facilitate ready access for our developers, content on Section 508 stipulations is also made available internally in the form of Accessibility Evaluation Guidelines. Over in Europe, the European Accessibility Act, an EU Directive, was promulgated in 2019. European Standard EN 301 549, which is consistent with Section 508 standards, is now beginning to be adopted for government procurement, not only in Europe but also globally.
Canon is committed to continuously gathering the latest information, and to developing products that are compliant with the accessibility requirements of each country and region.