How to Politely Close out a Nuisance Customer Corrective Action?

#1
I have a customer that sends over corrective actions for any defect that reaches their process. They certainly fit the Pareto principle, they buy 20% of our production but generate 80% of the returns.

Sometimes it makes sense to put a dedicated effort towards improving a process to eliminate a defect, and sometimes you are just directing your staff on a wild goose chase. The pursuit of an individual error seems to be wasted effort to appease a customer when one could be working on process improvements of much higher value.

What methodologies have you used to tell a customer that you are working hard to improve the product and the process and this particular issue is not worth pursuing at the moment?
 
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Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#2
I have a customer that sends over corrective actions for any defect that reaches their process. They certainly fit the Pareto principle, they buy 20% of our production but generate 80% of the returns.

Sometimes it makes sense to put a dedicated effort towards improving a process to eliminate a defect, and sometimes you are just directing your staff on a wild goose chase. The pursuit of an individual error seems to be wasted effort to appease a customer when one could be working on process improvements of much higher value.

What methodologies have you used to tell a customer that you are working hard to improve the product and the process and this particular issue is not worth pursuing at the moment?
Go thru the root cause and when it comes to corrective action put something to the effect that permanent corrective action is not cost effective at this time.
 

RCH2016

Involved In Discussions
#3
At some point a strategic decision must be made that we would be better off if our competitors had to deal with this pain in the behind.:notme:
 

somashekar

Staff member
Super Moderator
#4
I have a customer that sends over corrective actions for any defect that reaches their process. They certainly fit the Pareto principle, they buy 20% of our production but generate 80% of the returns.

Sometimes it makes sense to put a dedicated effort towards improving a process to eliminate a defect, and sometimes you are just directing your staff on a wild goose chase. The pursuit of an individual error seems to be wasted effort to appease a customer when one could be working on process improvements of much higher value.

What methodologies have you used to tell a customer that you are working hard to improve the product and the process and this particular issue is not worth pursuing at the moment?
What is your agreed AQL. Perhaps you can have a new look into your supply contract with this customer.
Without knowing the risk to your customer and your supply quality agreement, it not possible to say further.
If this issue is nitpicking in nature., its good for your management to talk with your customer management. Sometimes you encounter bookish customer who fail to see beyond what an operator sees.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#5
What methodologies have you used to tell a customer that you are working hard to improve the product and the process and this particular issue is not worth pursuing at the moment?
It would depend a lot on the type of relationship you have with the customer. Some customer-supplier relationships are truly mutually beneficial with seriousness from both ends. In other cases, suppliers are treated as incompetent, cheaters, unworthy business partners.

If the relationship is strong, a supplier should be able to be honest with the customer and mention that no assignable cause could have been identified and, thus, no cost-effective corrective action could be devised.

On the other hand, if the customer just wants the supplier to go through the motions of a root cause analysis and corrective action, play along and do the "best" you can and send them the forms.
 
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Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#6
It would depend a lot on the type of relationship you have with the customer. Some customer-supplier relationships are truly mutually beneficial with seriousness from both ends. In other cases, suppliers are treated as incompetent, cheaters, unworthy business partners.

If the relationship is strong, a supplier should be able to be honest with the customer and mention that no cost-effective assignable cause could have been identified and, thus, no corrective action could be devised.

On the other hand, if the customer just wants the supplier to go through the motions of a root cause analysis and corrective action, play along and do the "best" you can and send them the forms.
Yeah. A lot depends on who you are dealing with. Most people aren't decisions makers, they just do what they are told. So some "Director" of whatever says issue a corrective action request for any problem and that sets off a whole load a paperwork with little, if any, return. So sure, you go thru the motions to close the paperwork and everyone is "happy."

But then I had the guru from corporate call and ask to visit because of a "problem." I said: "Sure come on out. But beforewarned there is no answer to this one." So he came out, did some things and after several months finally capitulated that there really wasn't a viable answer here on earth. Great guy and very helpful. But stumped. :)
 

hogheavenfarm

Quite Involved in Discussions
#7
We would gradually increase the cost to this customer on each run or contract renewal, until when they catch on and ask why, you can explain that the cost of doing business for them is higher than others due to the increased paperwork workload imposed by their overly strict interpretation of policies.
 

qcman

Registered Visitor
#8
We have 2 customers like that. I finally wrote up a response spelling out nothing more than the process steps including inspections being done. I concluded with a speculation of how the defect could have occurred and that investigation to continue. A copy of this is reused now and then with a couple word changes. Not something I like doing but you have to direct your resources to where they are most needed. I have also ignored CA request and never heard anything further. Many of the people issuing CA's are doing what their manual says to do. I am convinced many responses are never read but they can check the box as completed.
 

TPMB4

Quite Involved in Discussions
#9
We had a complaint from one part out of tens if thousands of parts supplied each month for several years without such a defect. It was quite simply down to operator error that could not be error proofed without an expense that was not able to be supported by the value of the contract.

CA report was produced (15 minutes work using a set format). We sent it out partly through to fully completed automatically over a couple of weeks. From the customer's POV we were following a process over that period. Reality we had a stock set of phrases stating what we already did. Permanent countermeasures simply stated that error proofing was not cost effective. It allowed the guy sending the complaint through to tick his boxes and close it off so his boss kept off his back.

Put simply it could be the case of one guy at the customer following a procedure to the better because he's been told to. If that's the case then they'll probably be easily placated. Give them something to allow the box to be ticked then move on. If that's possible of course.
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#10
We had a complaint from one part out of tens if thousands of parts supplied each month for several years without such a defect. It was quite simply down to operator error that could not be error proofed without an expense that was not able to be supported by the value of the contract.

CA report was produced (15 minutes work using a set format). We sent it out partly through to fully completed automatically over a couple of weeks. From the customer's POV we were following a process over that period. Reality we had a stock set of phrases stating what we already did. Permanent countermeasures simply stated that error proofing was not cost effective. It allowed the guy sending the complaint through to tick his boxes and close it off so his boss kept off his back.

Put simply it could be the case of one guy at the customer following a procedure to the better because he's been told to. If that's the case then they'll probably be easily placated. Give them something to allow the box to be ticked then move on. If that's possible of course.
That really seems to be the norm these days. Really destroys the credibility of corrective action. People don't like to do meaningless stuff.
 
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