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Customer specified Item Defect Corrective Action Responsibility

Fender1

Involved In Discussions
#1
Earlier this year, our customer sent us a complaint related to a sub-assembly, that they specify we obtain and connect to the product that we produce for them. We are not design responsible for the sub-assembly or the product that we produce. Our customer specifies the sub-assembly manufacture and part-number. Promptly after receiving above complaint, we reported the defect to the sub-assembly manufacturer, telling them and our customer that we would look for the defect when we receive future sub-assemblies.

Recently we discovered the same NC in another sub-assembly shortly after receiving the sub-assembly. We informed sub-assembly manufacturer, our customer, and arranged component replacement prior to shipment of our product to customer. Customer informed us that they also discovered a repeat of same NC. The defect can reveal sometime after the equipment is in service, due to service pressures/vibrations.

Now customer is requesting CA from my employer. I currently view the problem as a component design flaw or ‘sub-assembly’ build issue that isn’t within my employers’ control, that my employer shouldn’t be required to spend time to correct the problem. I feel our customer should go to sub-assembly manufacturer for CA.

Who should be responsible for above CA?
 
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T

Tyler C

#2
Here's my two cents (based on ISO 9001:2015):
8.4.1 of the standard says, "The organization shall ensure that externally provided processes, products, and services conform to requirements. The organization shall determine the controls to be applied to externally provided processes, products, and services when: a) products and services from external providers are intended for incorporation into the organization's own products and services, ..."

With that said, it seems you still have some responsibility. However, that responsibility is determining the control necessary to ensure conforming product.

In my mind, your CA would be to apply X controls on Y supplier to prevent unintended incorporation of defective parts into your product. Whether that be 100% incoming inspection or whatever else you decide.

The other part of it would be to extend a SCAR to the supplier of the defective part as they have to be the one to fix the issue.

So basically, you need to show your customer what you are doing to prevent defects from getting to them, and what your supplier is doing to prevent defects from reaching you.
 

Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Staff member
Super Moderator
#3
Re: Customer specified item defect CA responsibility.

Earlier this year, our customer sent us a complaint related to a sub-assembly, that they specify we obtain and connect to the product that we produce for them. We are not design responsible for the sub-assembly or the product that we produce. Our customer specifies the sub-assembly manufacture and part-number. Promptly after receiving above complaint, we reported the defect to the sub-assembly manufacturer, telling them and our customer that we would look for the defect when we receive future sub-assemblies.

Recently we discovered the same NC in another sub-assembly shortly after receiving the sub-assembly. We informed sub-assembly manufacturer, our customer, and arranged component replacement prior to shipment of our product to customer. Customer informed us that they also discovered a repeat of same NC. The defect can reveal sometime after the equipment is in service, due to service pressures/vibrations.

Now customer is requesting CA from my employer. I currently view the problem as a component design flaw or ‘sub-assembly’ build issue that isn’t within my employers’ control, that my employer shouldn’t be required to spend time to correct the problem. I feel our customer should go to sub-assembly manufacturer for CA.

Who should be responsible for above CA?
I tend to lean toward your statement about going to the manufacturer of the sub-assembly.

However, I have a few questions that might help determine and suggest the best route on this.

1. Was the sub-assembly furnished by your customer as customer furnished material?

2. Was any potential receiving inspection performed?

3. When in the final assembly process did your organization identify the nonconformance?

4. What type of final inspection was performed, testing, and such?
 

Fender1

Involved In Discussions
#4
Sub-assembly not furnished by our customer; our customer specifies assembly part number and who we are to obtain the assembly from. We order it, receive it, connect/test to our product, and ship it with our product.

The sub-assembly is a hydraulic pump. After alerted to the failure, we started checking for the defect when we receive a sub-assembly, and then again later when we connect/test the assembly with our product. We have received the NC. Incoming inspection discovered one, another not found at incoming-leaked during our equipment test. When we find a crack/leak, we obtain/replace the component and recheck. Repair labor cost/mess and sometimes product ship delay due to subject component is one of our concerns; so far… per our dime.

The subject component has also failed sometimes later after the equipment is deployed by end-user.
Sub-assembly producer advised us that they are now being more cautious during install of the failing component, and are being more observant in their inspection. I’d like something more robust.

My objective is to learn if anyone else experienced a similar scenario and how their incident played out.
Thanks in advance.
 

Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Staff member
Super Moderator
#5
Sub-assembly not furnished by our customer; our customer specifies assembly part number and who we are to obtain the assembly from. We order it, receive it, connect/test to our product, and ship it with our product.

The sub-assembly is a hydraulic pump. After alerted to the failure, we started checking for the defect when we receive a sub-assembly, and then again later when we connect/test the assembly with our product. We have received the NC. Incoming inspection discovered one, another not found at incoming-leaked during our equipment test. When we find a crack/leak, we obtain/replace the component and recheck. Repair labor cost/mess and sometimes product ship delay due to subject component is one of our concerns; so far… per our dime.

The subject component has also failed sometimes later after the equipment is deployed by end-user.
Sub-assembly producer advised us that they are now being more cautious during install of the failing component, and are being more observant in their inspection. I’d like something more robust.

My objective is to learn if anyone else experienced a similar scenario and how their incident played out.
Thanks in advance.
This would be how I would handle this situation.

I would accept the CA from the customer, and generate a Supplier Corrective Action to the sub-assembly supplier, and copy the Customer (keep them in the loop). Respond to their CA with the SCAR and the responsible supplier's response.

Yes I have experienced similar issues like this:

My experience with this is when our Customer is also our supplier who furnishes components parts (Customer Furnished Material - that is the difference between your scenario and ours). We create a Nonconforming Material Report and generate a Supplier Corrective Action to the customer (since they provided the material), listing all applicable nonconforming material reports and ask for a CAPA. We have received responses back.

It appears that your scenario is the sub-assembly supplier is Customer/Drawing directed.

Just my :2cents:
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#6
Sub-assembly not furnished by our customer; our customer specifies assembly part number and who we are to obtain the assembly from. We order it, receive it, connect/test to our product, and ship it with our product.

The sub-assembly is a hydraulic pump. After alerted to the failure, we started checking for the defect when we receive a sub-assembly, and then again later when we connect/test the assembly with our product. We have received the NC. Incoming inspection discovered one, another not found at incoming-leaked during our equipment test. When we find a crack/leak, we obtain/replace the component and recheck. Repair labor cost/mess and sometimes product ship delay due to subject component is one of our concerns; so far… per our dime.

The subject component has also failed sometimes later after the equipment is deployed by end-user.
Sub-assembly producer advised us that they are now being more cautious during install of the failing component, and are being more observant in their inspection. I’d like something more robust.

My objective is to learn if anyone else experienced a similar scenario and how their incident played out.
Thanks in advance.
A lot will depend on how helpful your customer is. If they are just paper pushers you'll have a lot of trouble on this because you have no control. If they are serious about solving the problem, they'll work with you and more importantly their chosen supplier to fix it.

Right now, I would engage the customer on how they wanted to approach it. If they bail on you, then you know what you got. Bottom line, at some point the supplier will need to fix the issue. Good luck.
 

howste

Thaumaturge
Super Moderator
#7
The bottom line is that your organization is responsible for the quality of ALL of the product you ship to your customer. Your organization has already accepted your customer's requirement to use the supplier and their product. You need to work with your supplier to resolve the issue, and probably will need internal controls to ensure that if their parts are bad you find them and don't ship them. If you can get your customer to help with this situation, then that's an added bonus.
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#8
The bottom line is that your organization is responsible for the quality of ALL of the product you ship to your customer. Your organization has already accepted your customer's requirement to use the supplier and their product. You need to work with your supplier to resolve the issue, and probably will need internal controls to ensure that if their parts are bad you find them and don't ship them. If you can get your customer to help with this situation, then that's an added bonus.
Frankly, that's a copout. I know it's in the standard but it is baloney. If I have no control over design, and I have no control over selection, then how can I possibly have control over quality. The supplier can tell me to pound sand and I have zero recourse. And any end using customer who uses this method to bind suppliers just plain sucks and is not worth doing business with. Things go much better when the customer is helpful.
 

Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Staff member
Super Moderator
#9
Frankly, that's a copout. I know it's in the standard but it is baloney. If I have no control over design, and I have no control over selection, then how can I possibly have control over quality. The supplier can tell me to pound sand and I have zero recourse. And any end using customer who uses this method to bind suppliers just plain sucks and is not worth doing business with. Things go much better when the customer is helpful.
At that point, you find an alternate supplier and get your customer to remove that from the drawing.

I think that it depends on the product you produce. If you are a Government Contractor, many of the drawings have a source control or suggested source listed on them. It really is a matter of customers.

As for the comment of "...bind suppliers just plain sucks and is not worth doing business with" try making that statement to your Organization's Management. There are a lot of suppliers that rely on that specific business from a customer that may have that required. Unless you are a Multi-million/billion dollar company that wouldn't work. The binding of suppliers is sometimes driven by long term contracts with that Customer. I don't like "sole source" callouts, but when the organization is trying to meet the P&L you live by it.

So, to make a statement like that might be a little misdirected, in my opinion.
 

howste

Thaumaturge
Super Moderator
#10
Frankly, that's a copout. I know it's in the standard but it is baloney. If I have no control over design, and I have no control over selection, then how can I possibly have control over quality. The supplier can tell me to pound sand and I have zero recourse. And any end using customer who uses this method to bind suppliers just plain sucks and is not worth doing business with. Things go much better when the customer is helpful.
You and I may not like it (I don't), but it's still the reality even if ISO 9001 said nothing about it. The customer specified that before the agreement (contract or PO or whatever) was accepted. The ideal time to negotiate is before the agreement is made. After it's agreed you can ask to renegotiate or ask the customer to help. If they're reasonable and you have a good working relationship then they may do it.
 
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