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UNIQLO's Product and Safety Control System

Last Updated: 2017.05.30
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Superior Quality and Safety Controls

IndonesiaThe Fast Retailing Group and its core brand, UNIQLO, adhere to the strictest safety standards in their markets of operation, including Japan, Europe and the U.S. Fast Retailing has incorporated these rules into the UNIQLO Global Quality and Safety Standards. The Quality Establishment Committee, which is led by the officer in charge of production, sets these standards. The Production Department's production managers leverage the Company's takumi textile, dyeing and sewing experts while coordinating efforts with the partner factories to confirm all UNIQLO products comply with these standards. Fast Retailing shares the information it gathers through this process with a number of different departments, while the Customer Care for Product Quality Team responds to customer inquiries. In addition, Fast Retailing's overseas production offices in Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh, Dhaka, Jakarta, Istanbul and Bangalore receive monthly feedback from customer comments that are compiled by the Customer Satisfaction Department in Japan, as well as customer suggestions from the Customer Care for Product Quality Team. Fast Retailing has also published a series of proposals, known as the "Case Studies On Factory Standards," to address specific quality-related issues and educate employees who handle the Fast Retailing Group's products. Fast Retailing's overseas production offices share this information to prevent quality-related problems from recurring.

UNIQLO's Quality and Safety Control Systems


The Takumi System: Superior Quality and Safety

ChinaSince 2000, Fast Retailing has been sending takumi experts, highly skilled technicians with extensive experience in Japan's world renowned textiles industry, to partner factories so that they can provide technical assistance, assist with process management and promote the cultivation of human resources on site. Classed into material and sewing technology expertize, the takumi experts share their expertise in China and other production centers. If necessary, they also take on the responsibility of managing and providing guidance in the areas of quality and safety at the partner factories of GU and other Group companies.

The takumi system is a key element in the Company's relations with the factories in its supply chain and in upholding its product quality standards. It is a system that supports the production of clothing meeting the world's highest standards, ranging from improving quality in all manufacturing processes and production efficiency to securing safe work environments. In addition, Fast Retailing's system allows for the sharing of takumi expertise to augment the technical capabilities of partner factories is an effective system for reinforcing the foundation structure, or capacity building, of the supply chain. Most partner factories also manufacture products for brands other than UNIQLO, and the input the takumi experts provide for developing techniques, improving processes, and raising employee skills helps support the business growth of the factories. In addition, having takumi experts in management positions at so many factories not only provides support to the current partner factories but also enables their influence to extend to new partner factories coming into the fold when developing business outside of China. Their positive influence thus contributes to raising standards for apparel manufacturing industries in other regions as well.

The current challenge for UNIQLO and its partner factories is to cultivate the next generation of takumi experts in the factories and countries that manufacture products. In 2013 Fast Retailing took steps in this direction in China, a major manufacturing region for the company, by identifying qualified local staff and assigning one-on-one mentorships for candidates to become takumi experts.

For interviews featuring the takumi, please click here.

Management of Hazardous Chemicals

The Fast Retailing Group revised its Chemical Management Standards in 2012 and started using them to test materials for the presence of hazardous substances. As a leader in the apparel industry, Fast Retailing actively addresses environmental issues and encourages its partners to work together to protect the environment.

For more details, please click here.

Safety and Quality Via Third-Party Inspections

All of the materials that UNIQLO uses are subject to safety inspections by third-party monitoring organizations (*1). These inspections include sampling tests for dye fastness (*2) and residual formalin (*3). UNIQLO conducts pre-production inspections to confirm that safety standards are being followed, and implements pre-shipment examinations (to check for problems such as needles and other dangerous objects) of all products before they leave the factories.

The Fast Retailing Group also conducts pre-shipment audits, in collaboration with third-party organizations, to confirm that these inspections are faithfully conducted at Fast Retailing's partner factories. After products are delivered to the warehouses, they undergo further inspections before being distributed to stores. They also undergo sampling inspections by third-party inspection organizations to further reinforce Fast Retailing's quality and safety control system.

Fast Retailing applies similar product-quality audits by third-party monitoring organizations at GU.

*1 Third-party monitoring organizations conduct inspections from an unbiased, independent perspective. In the textile industry, such organizations inspect the quality of the fibers and the products. The Kaken Test Center is one such entity in Japan.
*2 Dye-fastness tests are durability assessments specifically used for products that have been dyed.
*3 Formalin (formaldehyde) is sometimes used in small amounts as an anti-shrink and anti-crease softener when processing natural fibers. Formaldehyde has been specifically linked to rashes and other allergic reactions among people with particularly sensitive skin.

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