Overarching policy for improving customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is the most fundamental of principles underpinning Advantest's business. Our product quality policy — "Offer the timely, high-quality products our customers expect, by designing for quality and by optimizing the production and engineering process globally" — characterizes our portfolio of products that offer not only superior performance, but also superior environmental friendliness and safety. We are committed to keeping our customers satisfied at every stage, from design and manufacturing to sales and service, via guaranteed quality, top-notch service, and support on a global scale.
Sales and marketing practices that support customer satisfaction gains
Fiscal 2013 initiatives
The mobile device market, consisting mainly of tablets and smartphones, has been the leading source of demand for semiconductors in recent years, and demand shifts in this market are growing larger. It is imperative for Advantest to respond to these shifts by strengthening its product supply system through parts procurement readiness, shortening of manufacturing processes, and reduction of production costs. When Advantest Korea Co., Ltd. completed and started operations at its new plant in Cheonon, South Korea, in May 2013, it marked a step towards this goal.
South Korea is a global center of semiconductor production, and Advantest Korea has thus far produced device interfaces such as test handlers and probe cards for testing semiconductors. The new plant will make it possible to manufacture closer to customer bases and more in tune with customer needs. Going forward, we are continuing our efforts to expand our product supply system and further improve customer satisfaction.
Customer satisfaction improvement activities in sales and marketing
In recent years, Japanese semiconductor manufacturers have been rapidly shifting from vertically-integrated strategies to fabless and fab-lite business models where they no longer have their own equipment. Accordingly, Advantest is venturing beyond the business of offering test solutions to pursue consulting activities whereby we extend to our customers know-how we have gained through an extensive install base in the outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) industry overseas, while serving them with our wealth of business experience with the OSAT business.
As part of these efforts, we launched the Supply Chain Management (SCM) Forum in fiscal 2012, where we host seminars showcasing SCM methods and introduce the latest trends in testing technology.
Prior to the second SCM Forum, held in June 2013, participants were asked about their particular interest, and companies in the OSAT industry prepared and set up individual workshops and other sessions accordingly. As a result, we were able to provide a forum for lively business talks.
Speech at Technical Seminar 2013
In October 2013, we held Technical Seminar 2013 in Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward. This seminar introduced the latest test application information with the goal of giving customers some insight into Advantest's strengths and providing them with a forum for lively technological exchange. The keynote speaker at Technical Seminar 2013, the first of its kind in the six years since the 2007 seminar, the first of its kind in six years, was Akira Minamikawa representing IHS Global Inc. After explaining our product roadmap, we introduced each product in terms of Test Cost and Test Technology and held seminar sessions on upcoming solutions.
In fiscal 2014 and beyond, we will arrange or more sessions geared towards customer needs, and will continue to heighten customer satisfaction.
Promoting customer support
The Advantest Group has established its basic policy for customer support with the aim of globally-oriented restructuring the Group's service businesses.
Our basic policy can be outlined as follows.
Basic policy for customer support
- We will propose total solutions in the form of support packages designed to deliver maximum efficiency to our customers in their device measurement operations.
- We will propose unified service support matching the customer's business model from development to the mass production environment.
- We will respond to the customer's demands by proposing service support packages that encompass total solutions.
- We will always take the customer's point of view and draw on our global organization in offering solutions.
- Our premium services and customer support will not only be efficient, but will also take the environment and safety into consideration.
- We will offer high-value-added professional services.
- We will strive to maintain our zero-accident record by thoroughly observing safety standards in field services and elsewhere.
Better customer support with a global focus
Advantest is forging a global support framework capable of responding to service support requests and other inquiries from customers. While responding to everyday service support requests via contact centers in each country, as well as by telephone and mail, we are also implementing primary support consisting of technical service and onsite repairs by field engineers.
We station expert support teams in product development bases to carry out secondary support, allowing us to respond appropriately to the content and difficulty of service requests.
We have developed a global supply-chain network covering customer operations ranging from their development bases to mass production facilities. Moreover, we also operate a supply-chain control mechanism through which replacement equipment and parts at service centers in each country are monitored to determine inventory needs at respective locations worldwide.
We continue to run an engineer exchange program between overseas subsidiaries and our secondary support division, which helps engineers improve their professional skills and raises the quality of our support. The two- to three-year program aims to sharpen engineers' technical skills, develop cross-cultural competencies, and raise foreign language and communication proficiencies. In the mass production facilities of customers, we offer on-request expert consulting and solutions regarding productivity issues. Also, we offer device measurement training to our customers, and provide professional advice in that regard.
Global Support Center system
Recipient of 10 BEST customer satisfaction award for 26th consecutive year, on basis of VLSI Research survey
VLSI Research : 10 BEST
Advantest aims for a clear grasp of customer needs and strives to provide them with high performance, premium-quality total test solutions in a timely manner.
At Advantest, we gain a better understanding of our customers' needs through information we acquire from our daily business activities, and also through yearly participation in the customer satisfaction survey conducted by VLSI Research, a company well-renowned for semiconductor market research. Based on this year's survey, we received the 10 BEST award granted to the top-ten ranking companies, for the 26th year in a row.
Moreover, our Sales and Marketing Division, System Engineer Division and Field Service Division jointly conduct an independent Advantest customer satisfaction survey once every two years. On the basis of such initiatives, we remain committed to delivering even better customer satisfaction going forward by listening to the voices of our many customers and providing them with solutions that best suit their needs.