To Develop Products Valued and Chosen by Customers
"Customer-oriented quality standards" founded upon the concept of building customers' viewpoints into product designs
Brother products are used in different countries and regions around the globe, in diverse environments and in various ways. In addition, customers' expectations for our products have been changing day by day according to changes in customers' lifestyles. The quality assurance department compiles trouble-related information from the market into a database, evaluates new products developed by our competitors, and establishes quality standards and evaluation methods for products by analyzing the information and evaluation results. Furthermore, measures to enable customers to use our products with secure feelings are built into products in the design phase to make customers feel Brother's characteristic product developments. The "customer-oriented quality standards" clearly define our quality target values reflecting "At your side.", the motto of the Brother Group, in product development.
The customer-oriented quality standards are flexible and constantly examined and reviewed in accordance with repair requests, call center inquiries, or changes in customers' expectations to products.
Concept of the "rate of product return and servicing" based on the viewpoint of customers
At the Brother Group, the percentage of products returned from customers for repair or return is called as the "rate of product return and servicing." This is grounded in our idea that the time and effort suffered by customers due to trouble with our products, no matter how small, is an inconvenience for them. To reduce the number of returned products close to zero, we are working to find out the causes of the trouble and also promoting an across-the-board activity to pursue product quality improvement, involving various departments from development design, manufacture, logistics, sales to services.
Brother develops a new garment printer ink by mobilizing its technologies
The simultaneous realization of printing time reduction, a non-sticky soft texture, and bright color
At Brother, we decided to adopt a new print head for the latest garment printer at the request of the users of Brother garment printers, which are capable of printing images drawn on a PC on clothes such as T-shirts, to shorten printing time. However, the characteristics of the new print head were not compatible with the ink used for the previous models. In addition, some customers who wore clothes printed with Brother garment printers requested a non-sticky soft texture on the printed surface and bright color. To meet these different two demands, we needed to develop a new ink urgently.
A drastic reduction in the viscosity of the conventional ink was necessary because it was too high for the new print head used for the latest model. However, the conventional ink with lower viscosity was not able to prevent color fading by washing.
To achieve an ink quality that can provide both low viscosity and washing durability, we largely altered the chemical structures of ink polymer components, and thereby succeeding in creating an ink that has less than half the viscosity of the conventional ink, yet provides washing durability and a non-sticky and soft texture on the printed side of a substance.
As for color, although brightness was improved by making the size of ink pigment particles smaller, the finer particles decreased the long-term storage stability of ink.
To solve this problem, we repeatedly fine-tuned the fineness of the particles and the balance of ink polymers and other ink materials and finally found the best combination of these components. Our review of the production process also contributed to achieving both bright color and long-term storage stability.
Resolving such various challenges, we have finally developed a new ink which is compatible with the print head adopted to reduce printing time and provides a non-sticky soft texture on the printed surface of a garment as well as bright color.
The Brother Group will continuously devote itself to value creation by constantly thinking about what technologies it can apply to satisfy customers and what kind of products will support customers.