Corrective Action or Customer Complaint

embedded

Starting to get Involved
#1
Hi All,

We are ISO 9001:2015 certified and I have a situation I'm hoping you can point me in the right direction on.

We have a customer that was unhappy with a recent order for three different issues that they described as product defects. Please note they were oversees so our engineering team performed their analysis based on photos and descriptions of the defects. The end result was engineering deemed all complaints as cosmetic issues. The reported defects had no impact on the functionality of the product. I originally initiated a corrective action but after seeing engineering's analysis quickly realized I have no root cause, so after further discussion with engineering we're thinking of capturing this as a customer complaint as the customer didn't explicitly ask for a corrective action. Is this a reasonable solution?

If specific are helpful, the product we are selling is essentially an industrial ipad. Below are customer complaints and engineerings response.

Complaint 1: There was visible glue on the glass display on multiple units.
-Engineering's response: The glue is on a protective plastic cover that needs to be removed before the product can be used. The glue is not on the product itself.

Complaint 2: On the back of the product some units have a noticeable bow / warp of the plastic.
-Engineering's response: This is benign and has no impact on the functionality of the product.

Complaint 3: There is a noticeable gap between the glass and bezel on several of the products.
-Engineering's response: This is benign and has no impact on the functionality of the product.

Any other pointers for someone who is new the quality industry would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Eddie
 
#2
How did the customer let your company know they were unhappy? Did they issue actionable non-conformances? Who did the customer contact?
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
Trusted
#3
How does your system handle complaints? Something like what's described, we would probably dump into our corrective action system with the engineering responses so we noted it was looked at. It would be a "no action taken" as there was no need for a corrective action.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Super Moderator
#4
Any other pointers for someone who is new the quality industry would be greatly appreciated.
You say you are certified to ISO 9001. Then, you have to be committed to customer satisfaction and this is one of those times you can demonstrate if that’s for real, or not.

Be careful how you manage this feedback from the customers because you don’t want to give them an impression that you are belittling their concerns. Explain to them that your engineering group have reviewed their concerns and they don’t believe the items reported impact the functionality or the performance of the product.

You also have to think how important is this customer. Do they represent 30% of your sales or 0.001%? Don’t make the mistake of offending an important customer and losing their business along the way.
 

Ninja

Looking for Reality
Trusted
#5
Complaint 1: There was visible glue on the glass display on multiple units.
-Engineering's response: The glue is on a protective plastic cover that needs to be removed before the product can be used. The glue is not on the product itself.

Complaint 2: On the back of the product some units have a noticeable bow / warp of the plastic.
-Engineering's response: This is benign and has no impact on the functionality of the product.

Complaint 3: There is a noticeable gap between the glass and bezel on several of the products.
-Engineering's response: This is benign and has no impact on the functionality of the product.
Several thoughts come to mind...none of which disagree with Sidney or Golfman...both of their thoughts match my own.

Complaint 1: There was visible glue on the glass display on multiple units.
-Engineering's response: The glue is on a protective plastic cover that needs to be removed before the product can be used. The glue is not on the product itself.
Fine response to an engineer or PhD...I hope it didn't get sent to the customer...
I would reply with a question: "Is the glue in question on the glass, or the protective film?"
That gives your customer a way to "save face" if they complained about something stupid.
If it is indeed on the glass...is there any requirement that there not be?

Complaint 2: On the back of the product some units have a noticeable bow / warp of the plastic.
-Engineering's response: This is benign and has no impact on the functionality of the product.
Fine response to an engineer or PhD...I hope it didn't get sent to the customer...
Is there any requirement that it be camber free?

Complaint 3: There is a noticeable gap between the glass and bezel on several of the products.
-Engineering's response: This is benign and has no impact on the functionality of the product.
Fine response to an engineer or PhD...I hope it didn't get sent to the customer...
Is there any requirement that it be tight?

By repetition, I hope you've gleaned that engineers should not have direct customer face unless you've seen how they behave.
I am an engineer...and it took me years in front of customers to stop embarrassing myself and the company.

Expectations weren't met...there is a complaint...plain and simple.
Root cause is either that you didn't meet the requirements of the product (your requirements)...or the sales process did not manage expectations well enough.
When expectations are not met...there is a complaint. You can't call it anything else.
How you respond to this complaint is up to your company...including the considerations that Sidney mentions.

You can tell the customer to pound sand...and still keep your cert.
Or you can please the customer...and still keep your cert.
This is one of the moments when your company has to decide who they want to be. Address it, or risk losing the customer...it is a business decision, not an ISO one.
It should be documented through your CA system based on the complaint made.
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
Trusted
#6
Several thoughts come to mind...none of which disagree with Sidney or Golfman...both of their thoughts match my own.

Complaint 1: There was visible glue on the glass display on multiple units.
-Engineering's response: The glue is on a protective plastic cover that needs to be removed before the product can be used. The glue is not on the product itself.
Fine response to an engineer or PhD...I hope it didn't get sent to the customer...
I would reply with a question: "Is the glue in question on the glass, or the protective film?"
That gives your customer a way to "save face" if they complained about something stupid.
If it is indeed on the glass...is there any requirement that there not be?

Complaint 2: On the back of the product some units have a noticeable bow / warp of the plastic.
-Engineering's response: This is benign and has no impact on the functionality of the product.
Fine response to an engineer or PhD...I hope it didn't get sent to the customer...
Is there any requirement that it be camber free?

Complaint 3: There is a noticeable gap between the glass and bezel on several of the products.
-Engineering's response: This is benign and has no impact on the functionality of the product.
Fine response to an engineer or PhD...I hope it didn't get sent to the customer...
Is there any requirement that it be tight?

By repetition, I hope you've gleaned that engineers should not have direct customer face unless you've seen how they behave.
I am an engineer...and it took me years in front of customers to stop embarrassing myself and the company.

Expectations weren't met...there is a complaint...plain and simple.
Root cause is either that you didn't meet the requirements of the product (your requirements)...or the sales process did not manage expectations well enough.
When expectations are not met...there is a complaint. You can't call it anything else.
How you respond to this complaint is up to your company...including the considerations that Sidney mentions.

You can tell the customer to pound sand...and still keep your cert.
Or you can please the customer...and still keep your cert.
This is one of the moments when your company has to decide who they want to be. Address it, or risk losing the customer...it is a business decision, not an ISO one.
It should be documented through your CA system based on the complaint made.
Yes but really depends on the product. Might have a customer shopping at Walmart but wanting Nordstrom service.

Cosmetic issues on industrial products are always pretty subjective.
 

embedded

Starting to get Involved
#7
@Eredhel - The complaint was directed to our sales team, with a defect description/photo and qty of units impacted.

@Golfman25 - Thanks, you seem to have a perspective similar to what we are taking. We have a Corrective Action system and a Customer Complaint system. We're going to go the customer complaint route. I just wanted to make sure a CB auditor wouldn't see fault in this.

@Sidney Vianna - Thanks, the business part is the easy, being new to ISO 9001 is the harder part for me as I'm still new and unsure on many of the requirements.

@Ninja - Thanks, I wrote concise information here, but we have a sales team that will interact with the customer that is really tactful with tons of customer service experience. They do a good job of not letting people talk to customers without someone experienced present to ensure the right message is communicated :)
 

AndyN

A problem shared...
Staff member
Super Moderator
#8
Hi All,

We are ISO 9001:2015 certified and I have a situation I'm hoping you can point me in the right direction on.

We have a customer that was unhappy with a recent order for three different issues that they described as product defects. Please note they were oversees so our engineering team performed their analysis based on photos and descriptions of the defects. The end result was engineering deemed all complaints as cosmetic issues. The reported defects had no impact on the functionality of the product. I originally initiated a corrective action but after seeing engineering's analysis quickly realized I have no root cause, so after further discussion with engineering we're thinking of capturing this as a customer complaint as the customer didn't explicitly ask for a corrective action. Is this a reasonable solution?

If specific are helpful, the product we are selling is essentially an industrial ipad. Below are customer complaints and engineerings response.

Complaint 1: There was visible glue on the glass display on multiple units.
-Engineering's response: The glue is on a protective plastic cover that needs to be removed before the product can be used. The glue is not on the product itself.

Complaint 2: On the back of the product some units have a noticeable bow / warp of the plastic.
-Engineering's response: This is benign and has no impact on the functionality of the product.

Complaint 3: There is a noticeable gap between the glass and bezel on several of the products.
-Engineering's response: This is benign and has no impact on the functionality of the product.

Any other pointers for someone who is new the quality industry would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Eddie
Eddie:

Is this your proprietary product (you own the design) or did you make to the customer requirements provided to you?
 

qualprod

Quite Involved in Discussions
#9
Embeded
What did you offer to your client?
Did you catch the requirements and offered what he needed?
You have to deliver what you promised.
On the other hand, is good to your business to raise a CA, even if you were not asked, you can raise it.
What does your complaint procedure say in this case?
It will cause a good perception to your client if you say him, that you are taking actions.
The first two points seem are not a problem but the third, is not valid to say that does not affect functionalty, I insist what quality level you offered to your client.
If you really want to implement a true quality system, do something , remember "continual improvement".
Hope this helps
 

JoshuaFroud

Involved In Discussions
#10
Complaint 1: There was visible glue on the glass display on multiple units.
-Engineering's response: The glue is on a protective plastic cover that needs to be removed before the product can be used. The glue is not on the product itself.

Complaint 2: On the back of the product some units have a noticeable bow/warp of the plastic.
-Engineering's response: This is benign and has no impact on the functionality of the product.

Complaint 3: There is a noticeable gap between the glass and bezel on several of the products.
-Engineering's response: This is benign and has no impact on the functionality of the product.
Eddie
Hi Embedded

I think this really goes down to how your system states this kind of issue should be handled. If these were to come in via our customer feedback system they would be raised as "Customer Feedback Reports" (What a wonderfully sanitised term for complaint). These are then assessed technically by the technical team and either a direct response will go back to the customer or a Non-conformance will be raised.

In our system Complaint #1 would probably have a direct response to the customer as it is a true cosmetic issue. Complaints #2 and #3 would trigger non-conformance as while they do not impact fit/form/function they are, however "incorrect" in the eyes of the customer and customer satisfaction is one of the key drivers for change in 9001:2015. We would have gone back to the customer to assure them the defects will not impact the product function in any way and then conduct an internal investigation as to why these defects exist (manufacturing error, within tolerance, training issue) and how they made it through our quality inspection process.

Hopefully, that helps.
 
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