Material Issue 2Provide safe, reliable, and healthier merchandise and services

Building Quality Control Systems

Seven & i Holdings is working to introduce international management system standards and management methods regarding quality and hygiene in order to provide safe and reliable products to customers.

  • SDGs2 ZERO HUNGER

Establishing a Foundation for Quality Control in Each Group Company

Each company in Seven & i Group handles products whose safety has been ensured through checks by the quality control department before purchasing them. Seven & i Holdings is working to establish quality control systems, recognizing that a product incident at one Group company affects the entire Group. Quality control managers at the development division for the Seven Premium line of Group private brand products, 12 Group companies that handle food products, and 10 that handle apparel and household items meet regularly to share their policies and information. These activities are designed to prevent incidents and strengthen the Group’s ability to respond rapidly when incidents occur. Specifically, Group companies have established the following foundation for quality control.

Establishing a Foundation for Quality Control

  • A system in which specialized quality control departments can objectively determine responses to incidents
  • A system for reporting a serious incident quickly to the Representative Director and President
  • Guidelines for judging whether to recall products or continue sales if a serious incident occurs

Quality Control Training for Employees

Seven & i Group provides quality control training to its merchandisers that handle product development and procurement as well as staff in charge of stores to prevent any accidents and incidents pertaining to products. In the fiscal year ended February 28, 2022, we revised training content, and are developing additional educational content with a view to cultivating future personnel capable of leading the field of quality management.

For those who handle apparel and household items, the entire Group conducts textile training and Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Act training through external inspection organizations. Textile training is for those handling textile products (apparel, bedding, etc.), basic textile training is for newly appointed staff, and textile material training and textile sewing training are for existing staff. In addition to knowledge about laws and regulations, such as Household Goods Quality Labeling Act, this training allows them to learn about the process that progresses from thread to textile/knitting, dyeing, sewing, and inspection, as well as process management for manufacturing factories, case studies on defective product incidents, and more. Through this training, we aim to provide our customers with safe and high-quality products. In addition, we are working on expanding training related to sustainable materials and product-specific training curricula with the goal of enhancing content and nurturing a system that enables employees to acquire more specialized knowledge.

Results of training held by Seven & i Holdings in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2022

Training Details Participants Ratio Target※1
Training on labeling of apparel 165

95.2%

Those handling procurement of apparel and household goods, those in charge of quality control
Training on apparel design 173

82.7%

Those handling procurement of apparel and household goods, those in charge of quality control
Knowledge training on processing, inspection, and factories 178

68.5%

Those handling procurement of apparel and household goods, those in charge of quality control
Knowledge of bedding 71 73.2% Those handling procurement of apparel and household goods, those in charge of quality control
Knowledge training on interiors 78 73.1% Those handling procurement of household textile products, such as interiors and towels, those in charge of quality control
Knowledge training on accessories 124 50.8% Those handling procurement of apparel and household goods, those in charge of quality control
Knowledge training on functional materials 231 94.8% Those handling procurement of apparel and household goods
Discussion Training on apparel 19 100.0% Those handling procurement of apparel and those in charge of quality control
Discussion Training on household goods 11 100.0% Those handling procurement of household goods and those in charge of quality control
Knowledge of pots and frying pans 49 81.6% Those handling procurement of household goods and those in charge of quality control
Knowledge of plastic goods 77 85.7% Those handling procurement of household goods and those in charge of quality control
Knowledge training on sustainable materials 331 97.0% Those handling procurement of apparel and household goods, those in charge of quality control
  • Target operating companies for apparel and household items training: Seven-Eleven Japan, Ito-Yokado, Sogo & Seibu, Akachan Honpo, THE LOFT, Nissen, and Barneys Japan

Acquiring Quality Management Certification

Seven & i Group has sought and attained various quality management certification in order to strengthen quality management for products such as foodstuffs, clothing, and household goods.

Participation in the Japan Food Safety Management Association

Seven & i Holdings became one of the founders of the Japan Food Safety Management Association (JFSM)※1, established in 2016 as the primary Japan-created operating body for food product safety management standards, along with food product manufacturers both in Japan and overseas. We did this in partnership with food-related companies, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and university researchers with the goal of responding to the increased handling of imported foods (globalization) in Japan and improving domestic food safety management. By utilizing the JFS standard※2 developed by this association, we aim to improve food quality as a retail group that is building a supply chain.

Currently, eight Group companies※3 that handle food products have become JFSM members and are promoting the improvement of food safety management levels within the Group. In addition, we are proceeding with the acquisition of JFS standard certification and conformance certification for factories that manufacture the Group's “Seven Premium” private brand products and fresh foods such as Seven-Eleven’s boxed lunches, rice balls, sandwiches, delicatessen items, noodles, and bread.

  • An organization that creates and operates a Japanese food safety management standard (the JFS standard) and its certification/conformance certification system.
  • A Japanese food safety management standard developed by JFSM that conforms to international standards that include Codex HACCP.
  • Seven-Eleven Japan, Ito-Yokado, York Benimaru, York, SHELL GARDEN, Sogo & Seibu, Gottsuobin, Seven & i Food Systems

Obtaining Certification of Food Safety Management Standards that Conform to International Standards

Original products such as boxed lunches and delicatessen items sold at Seven-Eleven stores are made by daily manufacturers who are members of Nihon Delica Foods Association (NDF)※1. In October 2018, NDF revised the NDF-HACCP Certification System to the NDF-FSMS certification system※2 in response to the institutionalization of HACCP for the international standardization of food sanitation management. In addition, in March 2020, all factories that manufacture original products such as boxed lunches, rice balls, sandwiches, delicatessen items, noodles, and breads, obtained certification and conformance certification. (Number of the factories as of the end of March 2022: 176)

Similarly, we are working on obtaining certification and conformance certification related to food safety management standards that conform to international standards that include Codex HACCP, such as ISO 22000, FSSC 22000, and the JFS standard, at all manufacturing factories that produce the Group's “Seven Premium” private brand products. (As of the end of March 2022, 99% of the manufacturing factories have acquired certification.)

  1. The NDF was formed in 1979 to improve hygiene quality management levels at daily food manufacturing facilities and to eliminate region-based quality differences.
  2. FSMS: The Food Safety Management System (FSMS) is a system designed to manage potential food safety hazards in order to ensure delivery of safe and reliable foods to consumers.

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Acquisition of GAP Certification

Ito-Yokado is recommending the acquisition of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) certification, an agricultural production process management method, in order to further improve the level of our quality management of its private brand “Traceable Vegetables with Producer's Faces” and “Traceable Fruits with Producer's Faces." GAP certification sets standards that should be implemented in day-to-day farm management to improve safety and protect the environment. Certification has been acquired by 226 producers as of the end of February 2022, and efforts will be made for further certification going forward.

Acquisition of ISO 22000 Certification

York-Benimaru Co., Ltd. acquired certification under ISO 22000, an international food safety management system, at its Otsuki Store in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture in March 2018. Certification has since been expanded to the York-Benimaru Head Office. Going forward, York-Benimaru is committed to expanding the scope of certification to include delicatessen factories of the former Life Foods Co., Ltd., which merged in March 2022. In addition, York-Benimaru will use the experience of acquiring ISO 22000 certification to introduce HACCP systems at all stores while training store employees. The company will also work to provide greater safety and confidence to local customers regarding food products and enhance product quality in all stages from procurement to sale.

In addition, at York, in April 2020, the York Mart Nerima Heiwadai store passed the one-year renewal of the Tokyo Metropolitan Food Sanitation Meister System, considered a step toward ISO certification.

IY Foods, a Group food manufacturer, acquired ISO 22000 certification in August 2016.

Hygiene Management Based on ISO 9001

Seven & i Food Systems' QC Office, the hygiene management department, has acquired the ISO 9001 international standard concerning quality management. Utilizing this system, the company is working to boost both hygiene management and employee training (application scope: Planning and Provision of Food Hygiene Management Systems in Stores).

In hygiene management, priority is placed on freshness management that is easy to understand and can be performed by anyone. The QC Office and others conduct checks at stores, and random checks of store hygiene are also conducted by a third-party hygiene inspection organization (wipe inspections). Store employees undergo periodic hygiene management training to raise hygiene management levels.

画像①QC室差し替え写真.jpg

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Audits of Processes at Apparel and Household Goods Manufacturing Factories

Seven & i Group sells apparel and household items, such as the Group's “Seven Premium” private brand products, while Group companies sell their own private brand products as well. To ensure the safety of these products, we conduct audits of our processes at our manufacturing factories both in Japan and overseas (These audits were cancelled for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021 due to the impact of COVID-19).

Since there is no official certification for manufacturing factories that guarantees a level of quality control for apparel and household items, Seven & i Holdings has established its own standards, and each Group company carries out external audits through specialized external institutions based on these standards. Seven & i Holdings issues a process audit “Compliance Certificate” to factories whose audit results have cleared certain standards.

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Compliance certificate

Response to Product Incidents and Implementation of Exercises

Seven & i Holdings assumes the occurrence of product incidents and product defects within the Group. By conducting regular exercises, Seven & i Holdings and each Group company mutually confirm the flow from the occurrence of an incident to investigations, reports, and corrections, and confirm the effectiveness of the incident response system. Should a product incident occur, the company promptly reports to the president, deliberates and makes decisions on any corrective actions, and the department specializing in quality control confirms the implementation and completion of corrective actions.

External Recognition for Initiatives Addressing Quality Control

Ito-Yokado received the METI Minister Award at the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Product Safety Awards※1 three times, and was also certified as a gold product safety company※2 in the fiscal year ended in February 29, 2016—a first for a general supermarket. In March 2021, Ito-Yokado was again certified as the gold product safety company upon undergoing a follow-up audit, earning the single star Gold PS Award mark.

  • The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has been conferring this award since fiscal 2007 to raise awareness of corporate product safety and establish a culture of product safety that spreads the important value of product safety beyond the boundaries of companies to create a society where product safety is protected everywhere.
  • Every five years after certification, the review committee will follow up to see if the efforts being made at the time of certification are still being maintained.
  • Ito-Yokado received the METI Minister Award at the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Product Safety Awards in 2011, 2013, and 2015.
  • Ito-Yokado was certified as a gold product safety company in 2015.
  • Ito-Yokado was certified again (follow-up) as a gold product safety company in 2020.
  • Ito-Yokado was once again certified as a gold product safety company in 2021.

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single star Gold PS Award mark

Initiatives for Material Issue 2