Should Customer Complaints trigger Internal Audits?

A

Andrews

How many of you schedule an internal audit as soon as you receive customer complaints ?
 
R

RosieA

Andrews, I wouldn't schedule an internal audit unless I felt that there were unknown process problems behind the complaint. An audit is generally not the right mechanism for complaint resolution in my company.
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
In response to a customer complaint: Investigation, yes. Audit, no.
 
D

D.Scott

I agree, follow the 8-D format (or whichever one you like). It may lead to an internal audit but that wouldn't be where you start.

Dave
 
R

Rockanna

Customer Returns

We perform investigation of the root cause for the item being returned. If the investigation points to our current process causing the failure, we document a corrective action plan and within an acceptable amount of time schedule a follow-up to verify the effectiviness of the C/A plan.

We may only have 5 items returned per year due to our extensive testing before the product leaves the building.

My question is what would be the benefit of scheduling an internal audit?

We leave the investigation up to the folks who control the process - Manufacturing Engineers and/or Quality Engineers.

Our internal auditors are from numerous departments throughout our facility, total of 28. Due to our manufacturing process, it would be difficult for them to determine any root cause of the product failing.
 
A

Andrews

Wouldn't an internal audit (independent person) help find the root cause of the problem because usually personnel on the shop floor may attribute some cause (not the root cause) because they may be biased during analysis ? Am I wrong ?
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
Andrews,

Perhaps due to language differences we're confusing an internal audit with a root cause investigation. I generally think of an internal audit as something done 1-3 times a year company-wide to determine if the procedures and processes are ISO compliant and to verify that the procedures are being followed as they are supposed to be, etc.. It is probably not practical or advisable in most companies to do a full audit every time a customer complaint comes in. Most companies prefer to do an investigation specifically targeted at determining the cause of the specific defect/complaint. This is probably a more focused effort that does not waste time and resources looking at areas unrelated to the problem. Also, some larger companies or companies with higher defect/complaint rates may get 10, 20, 30 or more such complaints a year and it would be impractical and a waste of time/resources to do an internal audit for each one. Often the cause of a defect can be determined very quickly without lots of time/effort but sometimes the cause must be investigated on a much deeper level than a typical audit. You can still have have an independent person investigate or review the results of the investigation. JMO.
 
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