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Return Policy/Sorting Companies

Discussion in 'Other Quality and Business Related Topics' started by leftoverture, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. leftoverture

    leftoverture Member

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    Hi Folks,

    Wasn't quite sure where this topic fit on the forum but I want to ask about how you are handling return requests and/or requests to send in a third party sorting service.

    What prompts my question is recently we sent a 3rd party sorting service to a customer's facility only to find that the defect rate is 63 PPM (they found one bad part). Now zero defects is a great theory, but in most manufacturing processes it is not a realistic goal. When we ship product with less than 100PPM and our customer just happens to find one bad part, is it fair that we be asked by them to sort the entire shipment?

    So I am curious how others are handling customer concerns and requests for return/sorting. Do you have a formal policy? Do you use a certain defect rate threshold? Is it always a negotiation? Are there best practices?

    I will note that it is not necessarily a cost factor thing for us. They way we calculate our customer PPM is if we are asked to sort, say 20,000 parts, the entire 20,000 count towards our PPM not just the defectives that are actually found. (Feel free to comment on this aspect also - does this seem unusually severe?)

    Thanks,
    Tim
     
  2. Miner

    Miner Moderator Staff Member

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    A lot depends on your industry sector and the power of an individual customer. I once had a GM plant insist that we bring in a third part to sort for 3 months. The trigger was 1 nonconforming part over 3 years (3 PPM). GM was too big to argue with.
     
  3. leftoverture

    leftoverture Member

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    Geez. That is the epitome of unreasonability. What did you find during that sort? Also, can you comment on how you counted that towards your external PPM metrics?
     
  4. Miner

    Miner Moderator Staff Member

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    The 3rd party did not find anything. However, if they had, we would have counted the actual nonconformances toward the PPM.
     
  5. ncwalker

    ncwalker Well-Known Member

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    As a customer, there's usually two triggers:

    1) You are at the top of our "bad supplier" list. In quotes, because you may not be that bad. But, if I have a metric, I can put you in order BY that metric. So someone will ALWAYS be in the top ten. If you're in that top ten, it gets known in the company and people are less likely to look the other way over a one-off defect. Is it fair? No. But that's what happens.

    2) The professionalism of your INITIAL response is a HUGE factor. If I go to a supplier with an issue, my own problem solving may not be done. What I mean is - it COULD be your problem, it COULD be my problem too, I haven't gotten that far. So I send you a complaint and say "Somethings wrong ..." If you come back at me with a litany of how it can't be your problem INSTEAD of an attitude of how can I help, guess what I'm going to do? If you come back with good lot control that's well organized inspiring confidence in me that you have a good explanation as to why I should expect it in one box, one pallet, whatever, I'm much less likely to sort all the stock in between. Another aspect of this is where I discover it in MY process. If I can't even load it on the line, I'm usually more apt to listen. But if it makes it all the way to end of line testing and self declares there after I have put all MY value in it, you're gonna be sorting. And yes, there will be times you will sort and after a week of investigation, we find a problem on my jig. Absolutely not fair. But that will happen. I'm sorry for that, but you can trade and be the tier 1 any time if you really want to know what pain is.

    In these circumstances of unreasonable sorts, it is less about being right, and more about being not wrong sooner.
     
  6. leftoverture

    leftoverture Member

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    Thanks NCWalker. I would characterize our response process as first rate. And our customers would agree. And the most recent sort request was presented with the initial notification of the issue so we never had a chance to "look into it". I went ahead and sent in the sorting company because our service level is first rate and I wanted a happy customer.
     

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