Quality is our life. More than a slogan it has become a way of life at Kia, a company which has
been quick to embrace the need for quality improvement as a matter of corporate survival. Under
the old school of thinking, providing good after-sales service was understood as the best remedy
for compromised quality. Today, product quality comes first above all else: It reaches all
levels of the corporation. Even achieving the highest standards of after-sales service requires
systematic quality management activities at all levels, whether at the product or personal service
For months now, Kia Motor has been energetically restructuring its entire after-sales organization.
As an initial step to change attitudes toward the issue of quality management, Kia eliminated un-
necessary gaps between the production division and after-sales service activities. The move was
designed to encourage the overall organization responsible for after-sales service to work with more
flexibility and efficiency. As a result, the production division assumed a greater responsibility
for overall quality activities.
For example, production headquarters is responsible for quality management planning as well as all
other after-sales service activities. Their determined efforts to improve product quality took on
the intensity of a military campaign. Achieving dramatic gains in quality improvement became a matter
of life or death for all Kia staff engaged in after-sales service activities. Kia's quality management
activities are performed at two levels. First, quality management policies are established by higher
management. Second, actual quality control activities are instituted and performed by at all department
levels and production lines.
Generally, quality improvement activities at the department level are quick, timely and effective, al-
though somewhat less organized than what is being performed at higher levels. The tendency is to always
move quickly to the next target, as soon as a specific task is finished, while quality improvement poli-
cies at higher levels are strategically made on a long-term basis.
However, quality control activities on production lines are carried out in a more organized and systema-
tic way than at the department level. Each production line maintains an integrated stock of parts in
preparation for contingencies, that is, as the need for quality improvement arises. As part of the effort
to secure more reliable quality products from its suppliers, Kia holds Quality Improve Meetings with its
suppliers at dawn once every week. These meetings are designed to focus the attention of suppliers on
the desperate need to improve their quality.