Handling Sort/Return Requests

leftoverture

Involved In Discussions
#1
Hi all. I would be interested in getting feedback on how everyone is handling sort requests and return requests when the customer complaint involves defective product. I recently had a request from a customer to send a sorting company to their facility to sort 20,000 parts they had in inventory because they found a couple defective parts. The sort revealed a defect rate of only 43 PPM.

I recently had my own customer complaint to file with one of my suppliers over some defective machine screws. The defect rate has proven to be extremely low and, while I was not asking for them to sort, they voluntarily told me that if I wanted perfection they would have to raise my price to cover added inspection (ie: Sorting) costs.

Lots of people talk about zero defects but the reality is that zero defects, while perhaps an admirable goal, is not realistic for most processes. So is there a point where we push back on our customers sort requests if the defect rate is below a certain percentage? Or how are others handling this?

Thanks!
Lefty
 
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#2
Lots of people talk about zero defects but the reality is that zero defects, while perhaps an admirable goal, is not realistic for most processes. So is there a point where we push back on our customers sort requests if the defect rate is below a certain percentage? Or how are others handling this
I'd ask, firstly, is the product in question your design or made to the customer's specs?
 

Ninja

Looking for Reality
Trusted Information Resource
#3
First, a question...1 part bad from 20,000 parts is 50ppm...so how did you come up with 43ppm ?
For "a couple of bad parts" to be 43ppm, you would need at least 46000 pcs shipped.

Sort requests are immediately a cost/benefit analysis.
Cost is easy...how much does sorting cost?
Benefit is softer...happy customer with repeat orders, industry reputation, defect levels contractually agreed, etc.

Hard or soft, easy or hand waving...being a cost benefit means that it is usually unwise to handle every situation the same.
For the once ever only customer...send them 1000 more pieces and be done with it...
For the automotive customer and most other major customers, negotiate a mutually agreeable way to handle it.

Then do a separate cost/benefit on whether it makes sense to sort before shipping (it does not usually make sense, but sometimes...)
Then consider how you handle the defects that get through the sorting process...because some will.
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#5
I agree. For most processes zero defects is a myth. You either need passenger auto volumes or 1s and 2s. The companies I'm familiar with that do "zero defects" have the volumes to set up specialized testing / inspection equipment as part of their lines. Most customers can't afford "zero defects."
 

leftoverture

Involved In Discussions
#6
First, a question...1 part bad from 20,000 parts is 50ppm...so how did you come up with 43ppm ?
For "a couple of bad parts" to be 43ppm, you would need at least 46000 pcs shipped.

Sort requests are immediately a cost/benefit analysis.
Cost is easy...how much does sorting cost?
Benefit is softer...happy customer with repeat orders, industry reputation, defect levels contractually agreed, etc.

Hard or soft, easy or hand waving...being a cost benefit means that it is usually unwise to handle every situation the same.
For the once ever only customer...send them 1000 more pieces and be done with it...
For the automotive customer and most other major customers, negotiate a mutually agreeable way to handle it.

Then do a separate cost/benefit on whether it makes sense to sort before shipping (it does not usually make sense, but sometimes...)
Then consider how you handle the defects that get through the sorting process...because some will.
Thanks for noticing the PPM calculation. I actually had 43ppm projected from the sorting company's initial progress report (which also included the parts we had in stock at our facility that we sorted and found zero defects). I do not yet have final sort results.

As for cost/benefit analysis, the sorting companies work pretty inexpensively. For us maybe it's more about our metrics. We calculate our PPM based on the entire number of parts they request to be sorted. So in this case the entire 20k counts against our metric. Our primary process is injection molding and we are really good at it. We use state of the art equipment and scientific processing methods and in higher volume products automation. But those familiar with molding know that even with the very best practices it's very difficult to guarantee zero defects in the molding industry.
 

Ninja

Looking for Reality
Trusted Information Resource
#7
As for cost/benefit analysis, the sorting companies work pretty inexpensively.
Fair enough...but (in my shop) that would be compared to shipping 10 extra parts with agreement from the customer that 0ppm is never gonna happen.
Is the sorting company cheaper than 10 parts + firm customer agreement (which builds beneficial cooperation and mutual understanding)?

You don't need to answer...I'm just pointing the direction the path leads...
 
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