Quality Manager vs Warranty (service) Manager - Authorities & Responsibilities


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Hello Everyone,

I am interested in hearing your opinions and experiences as to what is the delimitation that different companies use to allocate warranty tasks.

Particuarly, I am looking to explore to what extent is the quality manager or quality team involved in making monetary decisions as to whether a customer should or should not get a warranty claim approved. For example, if there are cases that the warranty policy does not clearly cover or cases considered borderline (i.e. product failure 1 hr after midnight on last day or warranty period), what role does quality management play in decidnig whether or not the company should pay. There is often pressure to replace or repair (either in-house or on-site) products for free, when problems emerge, regardless of warranty status.

I am aware that most financial decisions are normally governed by the signature rules or RACI procedures that lay out who has authority to sign money off. However, in situations with a power vacum or insecurities, sometimes people avoid making these decisions and defer them to others. This can happen for several reasons such as fear of upseting the customer, fear of appearing too forthcoming towards customers and therefore againgst the company's financial wealth, or just plain competence issues in judging a problem. Sometimes other departments pitch in their interests such as sales claiming primacy of customer strategic value, or engienering teams claiming customers to be too demanding, etc., etc.

How is it in your companies? Who makes the final decision whether or not to "give in" to an unclear claim? Your Customer Service Manager? Your warranty manager? Your quality manager? Your general manager? When and how do you apply goodwill policies?


Jim Wynne

Knowing something about the value of the things involved would be helpful. Also, you might want to explain what "signature rules or RACI procedures" means.


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Well, it could be things like industrial replacement parts ranging from a few hundreads to a few thousands. In bad cases it could be an industrial machine that needs to be repaired on-site. It can get pretty expensive up to 10s of thousands.

Sorry about the confusion. By signature rules I mean those policies and procedures that contain definitive allocations of responsibility and underwriting limits or authority to make decisions that cost a lot of money. It normally depends on your rank, like if you are in middle manager you can make a decision up to let's say 10k, top managers have huge limits. Lower level supervisors may be able to sign off up to 5K or so. Anything above that, they need a signature from a higher-up manager.

RACI is a tool used to document who is responsible for what. It is simple a table sometimes called responsibility assesment matrix. Here is the Wikipedia explanation of what the letters stand for:

"RACI is an acronym derived from the four key responsibilities most typically used: Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. It is used for clarifying and defining roles and responsibilities in cross-functional or departmental projects and processes. "
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