Customer Complaint - PPAP - Issues not called out on the print

J

JeffHutch7

#1
I have been a Quality Manager at my current location for 8 months out of necessity as our old QM was fired. I only had experience as a layout tech so it's been a very...interesting year.

I am currently dealing with a customer complaint with unusual circumstances, at least from my experience.

We were kicked off on a new part about 1.5 years ago and have been strung along ever since. We submitted PPAP, but they didn't approve it because there was an engineering issue. Then it was corrected and we resubmitted, but then they had another engineering issue so they delayed signing the PSW again.

Then they said they needed parts. I reviewed our submissions with our SQE and he signed an interim approval so that we could send parts and their engineering could figure out what they wanted to do with the design.

Then they requested several runs at production capacity...

We submitted 14,000 parts after discussing with the SQE (he said the parts were tested and worked well) and then received a complaint. a slide shut-off was causing issues with assembly which was my 1st indication testing was not done.

We changed the shut-off condition and parts were submitted and approved. We made another 10,000 pieces and now they are complaining about a warping issue which causes assembly issues, 2nd indication testing wasn't completed (even after the first issue).

Now my problem is that both these issues were present on all of our samples from kick-off and have been approved on several separate occassions. These "issues" are in no way called out on the print (no profile to prevent warpage and the one callout for the shut-off issue passed dimensionally.

I don't think our customer has a leg to stand on as this is clearly a design related/lack of engineering knowledge issue.

My concern is that they are coming back to us with thousands of dollars in chargebacks and don't see how they can claim that the issue is our responsibility.

Please help explain if I am misunderstanding. If anyone has any advice as to how to handle this issue, I'm all ears.
 
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normzone

Trusted Information Resource
#2
I've no supportive advice at the time, just commentary to the effect that this is not an uncommon event. Insufficient signoff records from your customer leave you at risk, insufficient testing by them leaves them at risk. Been there, done that, try not to do it everywhere I go now.

Based on what they asked for I don't think the chargebacks would pass muster, but you may not retain the customer unless the relationship is sufficiently codependent as to make changing horses impractical.

Welcome to the quality management world, regret to hear your baptism by fire is so interesting.
 

Bruser

Starting to get Involved
#3
Well I'm no expert (35 years in the quality business) but I have seen this type of thing in the past. Personal opinion? You dont have a signed approval so this will be a tough battle; if the conditions they are having issues with have been in the parts from the start and you can prove it (documentation) I would approach the customer about making the changes they want as Engineering Changes to the product.
They have quite a bit of product that was sampled ( if they have used the product) so the parts you have shipped cant be all that bad.

Just my $.02
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#4
Jeff,

In theory you may have a contract based on your offer and your customer's acceptance of your offer.

It rather depends if your offer was to help them with their design.

In practice your customer may be taking advantage of your desire to win the order.

Let us know how it turns out.

Good luck,

John
 
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