Managing a "special" customer into the QMS?

qualprod

Trusted Information Resource
#1
Hello to everyone
I ´d like to hear your opinion in this issue.
We have a very special "customer".
He send us a lot of Purchase orders, what is quoted to him, never is questioned regarding the price.
So, in general we have important profits with this relationship.
But....
Into this, there are issues in which frequently we can´t comply with the QMS requirements.
Some examples:
In our procedures we state that when a work order is started, we have a PO placed, reference documents of the requirements, etc.
But Customer not always send us all the documents, sometimes work orders are finished before, we receive the documents, in fact
sometimes we don´t receive the total of documents we mention in the procedures.
Very often the compromise is done by phone most of the times as urgencies.
Also we have a KPI, which is the OTD, sometimes we met it, sometimes we don´t, mainly because this "special" customer.
It is a trade, and understood agreement, when we don´t met it, he understands it because we help him, finishing work orders with
urgency, working on weekends and over time.
When he issues a complaint, is difficult to close out the complaint, because sometimes doesn´t send us the information for the follow-up.
After this story ....
On one hand ,Is difficult to have this customer complying with all the QMS requirements, but on the other hand,
is very important customer because the profits we have.
What can I do, to comply with both issues with this customer?.
Could I state exclusions in my procedures for this case?

Please give some ideas, I´ll appreciate your feedback.
 
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Tagin

Trusted Information Resource
#2
In our procedures we state that when a work order is started, we have a PO placed, reference documents of the requirements, etc.
But Customer not always send us all the documents, sometimes work orders are finished before, we receive the documents, in fact
sometimes we don´t receive the total of documents we mention in the procedures.
Very often the compromise is done by phone most of the times as urgencies..
Change your procedure to allow someone in your company to authorize an exception, and create a form or some way for that authorized person to sign as a record that it has been authorized.


Also we have a KPI, which is the OTD, sometimes we met it, sometimes we don´t, mainly because this "special" customer.
It is a trade, and understood agreement, when we don´t met it, he understands it because we help him, finishing work orders with
urgency, working on weekends and over time.
In such cases (rush, impossible deadline, where the customer knows it is "best effort") , we use the satisfaction of the customer to determine if it was "on time" or not.


When he issues a complaint, is difficult to close out the complaint, because sometimes doesn´t send us the information for the follow-up.
You can only act on information you have, so if they do not respond, there is not much you can do. Maybe you could create a complaint form for them, with fields for the data you need? Then tell them whenever they want to submit a complaint to use that form. Probably won't work, since they sound dysfunctional, but it might be worth a try.
 

qualprod

Trusted Information Resource
#3
Change your procedure to allow someone in your company to authorize an exception, and create a form or some way for that authorized person to sign as a record that it has been authorized.




In such cases (rush, impossible deadline, where the customer knows it is "best effort") , we use the satisfaction of the customer to determine if it was "on time" or not.




You can only act on information you have, so if they do not respond, there is not much you can do. Maybe you could create a complaint form for them, with fields for the data you need? Then tell them whenever they want to submit a complaint to use that form. Probably won't work, since they sound dysfunctional, but it might be worth a try.
Thanks Tagin
For all your recommendations.

From your comment:

In such cases (rush, impossible deadline, where the customer knows it is "best effort") , we use the satisfaction of the customer to determine if it was "on time" or not.
for example I defined the KPI to comply with an OTD of 90% for all customers.
In special with him, I can lower to say at 80%, this way, I´d be in compliance.
Do you think is it a good idea?

General question in the QMS.
Can we create exceptions in some processes?
Case like this one.
Other examples:
-Raw material is required to supplier by phone, not filling out forms, or filled out and sent late.?
-Some approvals of something done by phone, not always in a signed paper?
But this happens sometimes , they are exceptions.
But what is important, I think, is to have it explained in procedures, in order to be of support to employees and for auditors.
I think these cases happens in all the QMS systems, what really matters is to comply with satisfaction of customer.
Please share your thoughts
Thanks for your advice.
 

Tagin

Trusted Information Resource
#4
for example I defined the KPI to comply with an OTD of 90% for all customers.
In special with him, I can lower to say at 80%, this way, I´d be in compliance.
Do you think is it a good idea?
Yes, I think that would work too, as long as its explained somewhere in your QMS.

General question in the QMS.
Can we create exceptions in some processes?
Case like this one.
Other examples:
-Raw material is required to supplier by phone, not filling out forms, or filled out and sent late.?
-Some approvals of something done by phone, not always in a signed paper?
But this happens sometimes , they are exceptions.
But what is important, I think, is to have it explained in procedures, in order to be of support to employees and for auditors.
I think these cases happens in all the QMS systems, what really matters is to comply with satisfaction of customer.
Please share your thoughts
Thanks for your advice.
The risks with allowing exceptions are twofold, which is why I suggested an authorization for using the exception.:
1) What prevents the exceptions from being used excessively as an excuse not to follow the 'normal' procedure?
2) An exception means you are circumventing normal risk controls in that procedure, raising your risks - how do you account for that?

Perhaps reviewing the risks associated with those processes you mentioned would help? Are the controls you have in place really necessary, or are they overly strict? Could controls be placed at other points in the process or using different methods that provide control without excess paperwork? If so, then maybe a change in the controls for all customers could be implemented that would make creating a bunch of exceptions.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#5
This thread and the underlying question(s) just exemplify one of the typical mistaken mindsets about a QMS and ISO 9001. Neither one is about dogmatically "following procedures" per se. Both are about consistently satisfying customers. If you have to "deviate" from your processes (NOT PROCEDURES), in order to satisfy customers, without doing anything illegal or immoral, you better do it.

There is a thread here at The Cove ( I can't find it now) about a company that lost it's most important customer suddenly because someone enacted a policy that no credit card would be accepted for payment. It just so happened that the large customer owner ONLY wanted to pay the invoices with a credit card. Inflexible dogmatic policies tend to be stupid, in may cases.
 

qualprod

Trusted Information Resource
#6
This thread and the underlying question(s) just exemplify one of the typical mistaken mindsets about a QMS and ISO 9001. Neither one is about dogmatically "following procedures" per se. Both are about consistently satisfying customers. If you have to "deviate" from your processes (NOT PROCEDURES), in order to satisfy customers, without doing anything illegal or immoral, you better do it.

There is a thread here at The Cove ( I can't find it now) about a company that lost it's most important customer suddenly because someone enacted a policy that no credit card payment would be accepted for payment. It just so happened that the large customer owner ONLY wanted to pay the invoices with a credit card. Inflexible dogmatic policies tend to be stupid, in may cases.
Thanks Sidney

But don't you think such deviations should be documented somewhere? Something like" eventually a raw material may be bought without issuing a purchase order to suppliers"so that all people know that are exceptions.
If is not documented, don't you think I can be practicing a bad leadership, if people see what I do, they will want to do the same.
On the other hand, imagine a poor or stubborn CB auditor in an external audit, how can I proof him that I'm deviating with no support in documents into my QMS?
Where in the standard can be used to convince him of my actions?
Would it be enough to show a good level of satisfaction of the customer?
Please feed me back.
Thanks
 

Kronos147

Trusted Information Resource
#7
But don't you think such deviations should be documented somewhere?
If you make it a customer specific policy you may not need to document each discrete order. Do what makes it effective, and efficient.

If you have to document each one, there is more of an opportunity to miss the one an assessor finds. If it's policy, you conform to your policy.

One thought is the use of colored work orders. Yellow work orders indicate customer X - WI-Production section 4.2 Cust X says 1) Use Yellow Traveler. and 2) job may be started based on phone calls\emails with out final product specifications to meet their deadline.

The deadline cannot be before delivery of final product specification. Product cannot be rejected per contract for production non-conformance based on product requirements manufactured prior to delivery of final product specification, vs. the final product specification.
 

qualprod

Trusted Information Resource
#8
Thanks Kronos
My comments in blue

If you make it a customer specific policy you may not need to document each discrete order. Do what makes it effective, and efficient.
Ok, yes I know, managing this out of the system, is what you mean?

If you have to document each one, there is more of an opportunity to miss the one an assessor finds. If it's policy, you conform to your policy.
Ok, that is not convenient, in fact is one or two customers in this case.

One thought is the use of colored work orders. Yellow work orders indicate customer X - WI-Production section 4.2 Cust X says 1) Use Yellow Traveler. and 2) job may be started based on phone calls\emails with out final product specifications to meet their deadline.
But this option, in some way when an auditor walks in the manufacturing area, will notice this, and will ask, what is this? don´t you think so? what can we respond?

The deadline cannot be before delivery of final product specification. Product cannot be rejected per contract for production non-conformance based on product requirements manufactured prior to delivery of final product specification, vs. the final product specification.[/QUOTE]
If I understood well, with that customer , we release product by using specifications received by phone, the procedures state, first we have to receive by email the specifications, in some way we comply with specifications but not with procedures.
 

Kronos147

Trusted Information Resource
#9
1) I don't mean managing it out of the system, just that there is a separate method within the system for this customer.

2) The one or two customers will have their own 'deviations' to the normal process that are allowed per your procedures.

3) If the auditor 'notices,' you show them the procedure. As an auditor, I would be more impressed that you planned for the difference rather than discover the difference and have to inquire of the operator how they know.

4) You are using your procedures. The procedure for the customer that is always late with the specs.

Bottom line on this one, is you have to make the deliverable match the specifications. If there is no 'final spec' submitted, you have to collect the information you have to justify the part conforms.

Example: email from 1/1/2020 says make it .055" +/- .010", and then the an email 2/1/2020 says .055 +/- .005. The final config should now be ".055 +/- .005" unless there is an email later than 2/1 that changes that requirement.


BTW, there is one thing I learned from digital models (from AS9102). If a customer wants something built from a digital model, we create an internal drawing and an AS9102 First Article Inspection Report with the dimensions and tolerances. Before recording measurements, we have the client sign off on the method of inspection and the variables.
 

qualprod

Trusted Information Resource
#10
1) I don't mean managing it out of the system, just that there is a separate method within the system for this customer.

2) The one or two customers will have their own 'deviations' to the normal process that are allowed per your procedures.

3) If the auditor 'notices,' you show them the procedure. As an auditor, I would be more impressed that you planned for the difference rather than discover the difference and have to inquire of the operator how they know.

4) You are using your procedures. The procedure for the customer that is always late with the specs.

Bottom line on this one, is you have to make the deliverable match the specifications. If there is no 'final spec' submitted, you have to collect the information you have to justify the part conforms.

Example: email from 1/1/2020 says make it .055" +/- .010", and then the an email 2/1/2020 says .055 +/- .005. The final config should now be ".055 +/- .005" unless there is an email later than 2/1 that changes that requirement.


BTW, there is one thing I learned from digital models (from AS9102). If a customer wants something built from a digital model, we create an internal drawing and an AS9102 First Article Inspection Report with the dimensions and tolerances. Before recording measurements, we have the client sign off on the method of inspection and the variables.
Thanks again Kronos, very useful your advices.
 
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