Customer Corrective Actions - Replying with 'No corrective action needed'


Gary Calahan

Has anyone ever addressed a customer corrective action with no corrective action needed? Is this acceptable. I work for a distributor and our customer is rejecting one lot of parts because one nut failed torque test requirements. Lot size is 650 pcs. and they tested two nuts with one failing. Mfg. inspection reports shows 10 pcs. tested passed requirements. This is a large OEM so I do not want to piss them off but finding root cause of one nut non-conformance is difficult if not impossible.
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Do you make them?

Are you the manufacturer? If you are a distributor, you may have to ask the manufacturer to increase his sampling plan. A torque failure is a serious problem. You have evidence of 0 in 10. The Customer has evidence of 1 failure in 2. Did your Customer do them all? Tell your customer that the manufacturer has agreed to increase the amount of torque tests per lot. But, make sure that they do it. Or, look for another Supplier. It may be a swaging, brazing or clinching process defect. If your Customer has signed off on your Quality Plan, you may suggest that the product met current requirements, but you will increase the testing by (50%?) to ensure that there are no failures. Personally, I would insist a few lots at 100% to convince myself that it was a rare occurrence. It's a problem that requires Corrective Action. Your statement that it is not, falls on these deaf ears!:smokin:
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Gary Calahan

Energy, The customer did not test them all. The Mfg. tested 10 pcs. as did I as soon as I was informed of the reported condition with the same lot of parts pulled from stock. Could not duplicate condition. Since 1998 we have purchased 70,000 pcs. comprised of 19 different lots with no reported failures. I do not see a trend here and would like to call it a isolated incident. The one nut failed on the seventh removal cycle.


What I would try


Then you explain just like you did here. I copied this reply from a post here several months ago, for potential use by me if this sort of condition arose. See if you can use it:

"Current review of the system is sufficient to catch the vast majority of errors. The rest of the Quality System has been audited and found to conform to requirements of ???? Further preventive actions to eliminate the cause of potential future occurrences(Check spelling) would not be commensurate with the minimal risk involved."
All this after you explain the history of failures as you did in your post. Give it a shot and good luck!:bigwave: :smokin:
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I have used the "in all of our data..." approach a couple of times. If it is truely a 1 in a million case so to speak, there isn't a lot of justification to spending tons of money to fix a problem that isn't there. One thing you need to be aware of, if this is the route you go, you have to sell this theory to your customer. They aren't going to just take it lying down in most cases. They want to see you do something that makes them feel warm and fuzzy.

Overall, back to the original question, yes there can be customer issues that do not require corrective actions. Not real often. There is usually something you can do to either make you or them more confident of the process. But I can remember a couple of stand-out issues from the past. One, the customer picks up their material, drive off down the road, falls asleep and wrecks their vehicle then turns in a claim that our product surface is bad, dinged up, bent, scratched, or whatever. Ya think? Lucky for us, we had instituted a new preventive action program by taking a polaroid (upgraded to digital) of each truckload before it left the shipping bay.


We do too!


We also photo everything we ship to preclude Customers and Freight Companies from saying that "This is how we received it". It has saved us from additonal expenses that were not our problem. Here's another example of a Customer Corrective Action Request that was enjoyable. During an audit at our facility, the auditor issued a non conformance because we didn't have the latest revision of a particular packaging procedure. To begin with, they never sent it to us. Second, we never received an order with this procedure specified. When we responded, he just sent us the latest spec and never retracted the N/C. It remains in their "Historical" data.

Same Customer. Late shipments because "their" designated carrier never picked up the shipment that was ready. Our complaints go unanswered and we get their monthly Supplier Status Report with the late shipments affecting our rating. But, guess what? They keep on purchasing and remain one of our largest Customers. Sometimes, lower echelon people just like to thump their chests and try to intimidate you. If these problems, Customer generated, caused us to lose their business, you can bet our CEO would take "our" history to their top person and it would get rectified. Possibly resulting in some "counselling" for the real responsible people. You never rule out what may happen when the "Big Suits" get together.
O.K., this was longer than I intended, but my passion for resisiting the "bully" type customer gets me cranky. Later "Maiden":smokin:


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Re: We do too!

Originally posted by energy

... When we responded, he just sent us the latest spec and never retracted the N/C. It remains in their "Historical" data.

Around here we refer to that as "The Hysterical Data File" All the stuff that people think they can get away with.

Al Dyer


Are we digging too deep here? There had to be a reason for the nonconformance.

Are you within the PPM requirements for the customer?

Was a new person running the line?

Have you looked at maintenance and set-up records?

What does your FMEA define?

Are increased audit rates applicable until the root cause is determined?

I guess I am getting to the point of let's get real. Something malfunctioned in your system. It may be training, it may be execution of instruction, it might be a lazy employee.

Whatever the scenario there is a glitch somewhere in the process. I surely can't see or say what it is or whether the person that wrote the C/A was just having a slow day.

What type of traceability do you have?

You could not reproduce the incident, did you request the defective part from the customer so you could perform your own test on the subject part?

Have you visited the customer to determine if the operator had the air ratchet backwards and was afraid to open him/herself to superior review?

There are just so many variables that it is a very hard question to answer.

Please believe me that this is not a dressing down, just an opinion of an old *art.

Gary Calahan


Thanks for all your replys. Keep in mind that we are a distributor not the manufacturer. We purchased the parts from the largest nut manufacturer in the world, Simmonds, located in france. We have received the nut back that is in question and the rest of the same lot we sent them. We tested the nut and agree with the customer that torque effectivity on the seventh removal cycle is below specs. We plan to send the lot back to the manufacturer in France for verification of the rejection. The manufacturer tested ten pieces at time of manufacturing and test reports reflect product passed all torque tests. We tested ten pieces after we were informed of the reported condition. We could not duplicate the condition. I feel our customers acceptance on 0 defects and reject on 1 is ok but what is the fallout of the lot. Is there not such a thing as varibles in the manufacturing process that may allow one bad nut to go undetected due to the inspection sample size at time of manufacturing? How many pieces should be tested before you get a warm fuzzy feeling about the entire lot. I think ten pieces on a 660 piece lot size is appropriate. I can understand implimenting some form of corrective action if I could find more than one nut not to spec.

Al Dyer


You are in a tough position, what was the root cause and fix of the corrective action you issued to your supplier?
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