No matter how robust your planning phase and how hard you try to evaluate all possible failures, problems and defects will occur. When an unexpected problem arises and impacts on your product quality, how do you approach this situation? The key to avoid extra costs is to find a solution and put measures to not repeat the problem in the future again.
Quality managers, quality controllers and engineers are tasked with evaluating such situations and finding an immediate action to contain the problem itself. If the issue is critical or it has a major impact, escalation may start, and it can have an impact on the production. The stock in the warehouse can be put on hold and in quarantine, and logistics departments may face the possibility of missing delivery dates.
Reacting fast is important, but only if we deeply analyze root causes and implement measures to correct them, we can expect to solve the problem and avoid reoccurrences – and even improve the quality of the product itself.
What are the main steps to follow in these cases? Directions from international standards
Quality standards and norms provide the main guidelines to pursue process-based quality management. In the model proposed by the ISO, continual improvement is of fundamental importance.
If a nonconformity occurs in a production process, it is important to analyze the issue and to define the root cause. The problem-solving process must use error proofing approaches. Once the main cause of the nonconformity is discovered by using specific quality tools, corrective actions should be undertaken to resolve the problem.
Once these immediate corrective actions are put in place, they must be reviewed to ensure that they are having the intended effect. Corrective actions usually mean you will need to update your quality management system (QMS) processes and/or risks analysis determined during your planning processes. Records describing nonconformities, actions taken, and the results of those actions must be kept.
Manufacturers have to demonstrate that their quality processes are capable and stable. A quality improvement plan, for all aspects of the product and manufacturing processes, is a critical tool, not only to track and provide documented evidence, but also to prepare a risk analysis for future projects.
How a holistic quality solution can support full complaint management
A Quality Management System software includes capabilities for acquiring all relevant external and internal complaint data, and related costs, too.
1.Initiating procedures for complaints
The first step is to differentiate between various complaint acquisitions, such as internal or production complaints, customer or supplier complaints and freely-definable complaint sources. It is possible to initiate procedures for complaint generation, including the ability to:
- Notify the issue occurred on first sample inspection on a new specific product
- Create a new issue during the goods inspections, by referring to an Incoming or Outgoing Goods Control
- Identify process defects through in-process inspection with Statistical Process Control (SPC)
- Facilitate manual input of complaint, if the issue has been detected on a laboratory during validation test or quality control statistical tests.
2.Intuitive defect analysis
Faulty products and parts subject to complaint go through a part-specific evaluation during an intuitive defect analysis process.
It is possible to assign and document defects or defect catalogues along with respective causes and costs. At this point in the process, it is possible to determine what actions need to be taken and to define a combination of configurable workflow per manufacturers resolution and escalations chain. A fully-integrated actions management feature, with a robust escalation mechanism, allows you to complete the timely processing of complaints currently logged in the system. Once defect analysis is completed, the software allows you to document activities using standardized reporting options, for example each customer can be provided with full transparency and visibility of 8D results.
What is the Quality Solution by Siemens to support complaint handling?
Opcenter Quality software is a multilingual, multi-industry Quality Management System (QMS) solution that complies with international quality standards, including the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 9001:2015), International Automotive Task Force (IATF 16949:2016), Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) and others.
Opcenter Quality provides functionalities for structured complaint handling procedure with detailed documentation, track and trace capabilities, which allows you to achieve significant time and cost savings.
Concern and complaint management is a capability provided by Opcenter Quality, and thanks to all the other available modules in the suite, the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) approach is ensured.
By means of Opcenter Quality, manufactures can advantage of many benefits:
- Automate and simplify complaint process
- Develop higher level of customer satisfaction
- Increase quality process transparency
- Rapidly identify weaknesses and implement corrective measures
- Eliminate redundant tasks
- Paperless quality processes
- Reduce quality costs
Integrated, comprehensive evaluation and analysis tools can help manufacturers support sustainable continuous quality. Discover Opcenter Quality.