Field Returns - 6.3.2 s - Contingency plans to satisfy customer requirements



We are looking for more definition for the term 'field returns'.
6.3.2 states we shall prepare contingency plans to satisfy customer requirements in the event of........field returns.

We are a tier 2 supplier shipping millions of parts each week and get line accumes regularly from our customers. We do not get field returns.

In this case, would it mean if a customer returned all the parts back to us for some unforseen reason (quality defect, supplier defect)? How would we ensure the customer would not be disrupted if they sent back all the parts but we still had to meet schedule? Or does it mean an actual 'field failure', something we did that caused a car/truck to be returned to the manufacturing plant? There are no safety issues with our product nor environmental issues.

Our QS-9000 contingency plan addresses utility interruptions, labor shortage, key equipment failure.

Thank you for your input.

Dave Johnson

I believe "field returns" refers only to returns from an end user (individual customer) or returns from a proving ground.

In a previous life, I worked for a supplier (tier 1) to the heavy truck industry. All of our returns from customers were field returns, from individual semi's breaking down on the road. (The suspect parts were returned to the maufacturer, e.g. Mack, PACCAR, etc, by the dealer or repair facility, then returned to us).

I added a contingincy plan for this to our process control and corrective/preventive action procedures stating that we will have a cushion of inventory to cover these emergency events.

I also do not believe this requirement would apply to tier 2, but it would be a good idea to have some inventory on hand to help cover your customers.

However, if one of your tier 1 customers reports a problem, caused by one of your parts, which resulted in a field return, you must give that problem TOP priority in your CA/PA process.

I wouldn't put this in your QS "contingincy plan" SOP. It belongs in CA/PA.

JMHO. If I mis-understood your question, please let me know.

Everyone Else: If I screwed up, PLEASE POST!!!

best regards

Sean Kelley

This clause is a direct results of Firestone having field failures and not reporting them to Ford.


We have a separate plan/process for field returns. It starts with customer feedback ans then we issue a RGA.


where to plave contingency plan?

Does anyone know where to place the contingency plan in the TS manual?


rangotango said:
Does anyone know where to place the contingency plan in the TS manual?
There is no requirement for the plan to be included in the manual (assuming the "TS manual" you refered to is the "quality manual" of 4.2.2). I'm not convinced that it should be part of the manual. However, if you want to put it there, then put it wherever it seems to best fit your needs.


We have our contingency plans in a separate notebook, and electronic files to comply with TS16949:2002 and our Visteon Customer Specific requirements for which are detailed in Annex E of same.
rangotango said:
Does anyone know where to place the contingency plan in the TS manual?
We say this:
XYZ, Inc. plans for customer satisfaction, in event of emergency, by:
 Planned inventory control of finished goods to ensure uninterrupted delivery, (we have stock, whether your business picks up or you need a replacement)
 Planned inventory control of supplied components offsite, (so do our suppliers, in case we burn down)
 Preventive maintenance of key equipment, including service contracts, and (we keep up the equipment)
 Cross-training of personnel. (in case the creek rises and cuts off the people on the south side)
db is right. During our pre-assessment the auditor did not find this in the manual and asked our Operations Director about it. She replied with the inventory statements above, plus offsite data backups, and etc. not covered here in writing. You have to have something planned, it doesn't need to be in writing.
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Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
rangotango said:
Does anyone know where to place the contingency plan in the TS manual?

You may "place" it anywhere you want. It just needs to be incorporated in your program, and people need to be able to find it in an emergency.

I have seen it placed in the following ways:
In the shift supervisors' office
In Maintenance
In the business plan
In the Q manual
In the EMS Manual
In the president's files
At the receptionist's desk...etc.

Bear in mind, an electronic copy may not be available if the power is out, unless it's on a laptop with a battery that works.
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