Corrective Action Request (CAR) to Customer - Has anyone done this?


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I've been tempted many time in the past, but never have done it. Could cause bad customer relations.



CAR to customer

Did it twice. First customer was the U. S. Postal Service, Topeka, KS. We manufactured a replacement part for sorting machines, the part had a reported high failure rate in one specific location on the West Coast. Used the CAR form to gather information from that location to compare with data from parts I had on hand. Managed to get to the root cause, two months later.

Second time was in response to a customer's complaint. A part used in microwave transmitters was arcing from static, but only in the Arizona location. Determined that it was the polished finish that was the cause. The part had been used on the (humid) NE coast with no problems, only arced in (dry) Arizona. Used the CAR to document my analysis and request a change on the drawing(s).

Don't know if that is what you were thinking of. Just make sure you send it with a very nice cover letter, use buzz words like "supplier partnership".


Re: car to customer

SniperMan said:

Can I issue corrective action to customers? Did it ever happen before?:bonk:
I absolutely have. For example, when customers supply you with parts to be assembled into a package, if they screw up the part, I think you have to. They are not always thrilled, but in the wonderful world of QS, if you had a supplier reject, you better have some corrective action. And by the way, it feels really good!!!:thedeal:


Inactive Registered Visitor

If they don't respond within 24 hours and give you a corrective action within 10 days, put them on containment. Cutting off their privledge to ship direct should help keep them in line.

Although I am being facetious, I would be very careful about sending a CAR to a customer. Sure, involve them in your resolution of problems but don't "pass the buck" back to them. Making the customer feel responsible for resolving your problem would seem to put your relationship in jepordy.

I'm not saying "don't involve the customer" - just be careful HOW you involve them. A partnership is one thing but CARs in our industry tend to have the meaning "You made a mistake and need to fix this".

My approach would follow more of a contact with my customer asking for his help in resolving MY CAR. JMHO.


Mike S.

An Early 'Cover'
What Dave Said!

D.Scott said:
I'm not saying "don't involve the customer" - just be careful HOW you involve them. A partnership is one thing but CARs in our industry tend to have the meaning "You made a mistake and need to fix this".

My approach would follow more of a contact with my customer asking for his help in resolving MY CAR. JMHO. __________________
I agree with Dave. When I hear the phrase "issue corrective action to customer" I think of someone sending a CAR form to their customer saying "this is wrong, it is not supposed to be this way, reference drawing xxx, etc. Please investigate and send a root cause analysis and actions you have taken to correct/prevent the problem in the future. Failure to do so may result in..." NOT the kind of thing to send to your customer, IMO!

But, as Dave said, involving the customer, asking for help or guidance from the customer, having a good dialogue that will help everyone in the long run -- that stuff is great medicine and I use it quite often.

A bit of diplomacy and grace can turn a failure or problem of some type into a situation that helps cement your relationship with the customer even more, making lemonade from lemons as the saying goes.


Mike S.

Michael T

Inactive Registered Visitor
Yep- what they said...


Gotta agree with this august bunch. :bigwave:

Customer "education" is very important if they are using your product incorrectly. I've had that happen a number of times. Never issued a CAR - but did study customer's installation technique and found the problem.

While it may be tempting (who am I kidding - it is VERY tempting) to issue a CAR to a customer - it probably isn't in your/your company's best interests to go that route.

Good luck!!!

Al Dyer

At times I have issued multiple corrective action requests to customers. BUT, we were receiving cinsigned parts from the customer, shaping them, then returning them.

In this situation we were almost working as their final product inspection firm.

The problem got to be that they would ask us to contain the parts until a determination had been made. With limited floor space this can lead to a real problem for a JIT organization.


n/c parts

I believed the company reach the point where sometimes, customer will supply bad components to assemble a particular part and the company always ended up getting the flak for assembling non-conforming parts. These happen several times , I guess our quality systems is not as perfect but needless to say when your customer introduce non-conforming parts in your system you end up being screwed too.

Thanks for the response:rolleyes:

Marc Richardson

Issue a corrective action request to a customer? Never have but I have had many situations when a customer issued a CAR to us and I have jumped on a plane to Mexico, Toronto, even Rome once, only to discover that it wasn't our problem at all but the manner in which the customer was using our product. So, ever trying to find ways to improve things, I came up with a Customer Complaint Data form. The purpose of it is to capture detailed information about how the customer is experiencing the failure, and coincidentally, to help them do some basic investigation to determine if they are causing the problem. I ussualy ask the customer the questions over the phone, using the form as a script.
I have sent this form to customers when I suspected that they may be causing the problem and had them rescind the CAR. It works especially well when a customer calls to inform us of the issue prior to actually issuing the CAR.
My experience is that customers frequently do not analyze the cause of the problem. They stick my part in and if it doesn't work, or if it doesn't fit they assume it must be my problem. Boy, the stories I could tell. They never consider that it may be something else in the chain. This at least gets them to take the first couple of steps in the right direction.
Marc Richardson