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Audit purpose - case study - What is the role of SQE in such case?

adisc

Starting to get Involved
#1
Hello,

Let's imagine that we have situation when the company A is struggling with the components from Supplier. There were few different problems with Supplier (and already received some 8D reports), but this time problem concerns to NOK threaded holes. SQE already knows they are tapping these threads manually. Unfortunately, problem starts when comes to assembly and screws are not perpendicular to the threaded holes (at Company A side). Drawing do not include such feature, but it does not change the fact that part is non-functional. Supplier do not want to acknowledge complaint and is threatening that they will stop production until SQE comes to their plant. What is the role of SQE in such case? 8D audit should be fine regarding the recent other issues, but what if there is no 8D regarding to this specific problem? Additionally, I would say, SQE's role is not to give the solution, but indicate potential lacks / drawbacks of the process, do you agree?

Thanks.
 
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Jean_B

Trusted Information Resource
#2
A Supplier Quality Engineer's primary purpose is to improve or maintain the consistency of quality of incoming product (/service). The acknowledgement of complaint most likely has to do with any guarantee or credit that would be given, for a requirement you feel is implicit and he would only adhere to if it is explicit.
While an audit might be within the SQE's toolkit for achieving their primary purpose, it is a means and not an end in and of itself.
Set aside the credit issue to procurement (or even legal if it goes to the contract level) and have the SQE focus on the future. Is the supplier willing to improve going forward (probably after you've updated the drawing to include that critical characteristic)? Focus on that next batch since reworking this one seems out of the question.
The second question is: is that feature critical? A screw's function is not principally to look nice while screwed in but to firmly attach two components (when tensile strength is important, vs shear which would be nails) or in certain cases to maintain an adjustable spacing. It could be a form requirement, but they're not commonly used for embellishment. It could be a fit requirement when we're talking tight configurations or when you're edging the performance envelopes of the materials. But your supplier might not know and thus not care, especially if he wasn't informed through specification drawings, requirements or otherwise.

With all that text I forgot to give explicit answer to the last two questions:
If there is no 8D find out why, and act according to the system. Most likely 8D at their site can only be initiated on actual or potential non-conformities. If something cannot be a non-conformity as the specifications for conformity are unknown I can imagine not wanting to initiatie a goalles process.
As for translating primary purpose to your final question: you need to get good quality incoming product, and on detected problems you should aid in solving it. This can mean helping in problem definition, gathering more data, data interpretation and yes, even proposing approaches to solutions. Do realise that you cannot require things that are not, uhm, required (specifications, contract etc), and imposing new requirements on suppliers is asking for more costs from them. Proposing approaches helps them to try and keep to their existing price-point, while imposing a specific solution is more likely to open up the possibility of contract negotiation.
 
Last edited:

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#4
You basically have two choices. Push paper (8Ds) back and forth to each other. Or, roll up the sleeves, put the safety glasses on, and get to the plant floor and see what is happening to resolve the issue. The SQE should be the liaison between the supplier and the customer and help facilitate both sides to a solution.
 
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