POSCO fixes eyes on quality
By Kim Tae-gyu
POSCO, the world's fourth-largest steelmaker, is going all-out to increase the quality of its products in order to remain ahead of the curve in neck-and-neck competition worldwide.
Toward that end, the Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province-based outfit has put forth efforts into research and development (R&D) under the stewardship of its quality-conscious Chairman Chung Joon-yang.
Chung, who took the reins of the company early last year, has always put quality on the front burner and commissioned a company-wide ``claim zero'' campaign aimed at satisfying customers to the fullest.
``It is hard to meet the needs of customers 100 percent. Yet, we are required to offer the best products to them and this represents the basic idea behind the `claim zero' campaign,'' Chung told a meeting with employees in February.
``To achieve the goal, we should pinpoint any problems so as to eradicate them. The campaign is not merely about attaining the target but about figuring out why we have failed to do so.''
The charismatic head reiterated his focus on quality during a January meeting with POSCO officials this year.
``Once customers complain about the quality of our products, we have to just accept it and try to find out solutions. Remember that clients are always right even when they get something wrong,'' Chung said.
Such efforts seem to have worked immediately as amply demonstrated by the survey of World Steel Dynamics (WSD), the foremost compiler of steel industry statistics; as well as the acknowledgement from carmakers.
The U.S. consultancy said earlier this month in its annual report that POSCO got an average of 7.84 points to become the most competitive player among the world's best 32 companies.
POSCO failed to top the list from 2005 through 2009 but the firm achieved the feat last year, when Chung took charge of the company.
The entity also garnered the much-envied Q1 supplier recognition from both Ford and Chrysler, which are known to be very cautious in giving the quality endorsement. POSCO said that its efforts toward quality earned them the recognition.
In fact, the research-oriented approach seems to be in the corporate gene of the firm, which set up a research institute in 1977. It also established its affiliated ivory tower Pohang University of Science and Technology in 1986 and the Research Institute of Industrial Science and Technology in the following year.