Complaint or Not a Complaint

by Mihail Opra
(Deva Romania)

One of my supplier sent me a Finished Good that created a functional problem after it was assembled .
When I complained to supplier regarding the defective parts , the answer was that this defect type hasn,t been considered when the process Control Plan has been agreed and therefore he has no liability in issuing the defective parts because the defect could not been detected as per Control Plan.
Is this a fair answer from my supplier?
Mihail Opra

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Service Level Agreement
by: Craig Ninneman

This is a tricky one and will be hard to resolve. You may have to consider using another service provider. Next time, ensure that there is a comprehensive Service Level Agreement in place and inspect the prospective service provider's Quality system before entering into a contract.

Be a Customer Oriented Vender
by: el_magzoub

dear Mihail,
it is not a fair answer to your comlaint from a really customer oriented suppler. It is his responsibility to set up a very effective quality plan that proclude production of s such deffective parts. Be wise-enough He will grasp this opportunity and works on improving his production rather than refering to a quality plan which imprical results showed its ineffectiveness.

by: Anonymous

Thanks, Appreciate your comments. Still, this suplier is arguing that he put in place exactly the amount of controls the customer is paying. Any extra control will charged .
Can you argue with that ?
Mihail Opra

Further Explain the Situation
by: Robert Broughton

If the supplier is not correcting the situation, this is not an acceptable response. If the supplier can't provide the controls they need to explain why and the additional costs. Your company will need to evaluate the additional costs.

Since you are the customer, if the supplier wants to keep your business, they will work with you to resolve the issue on future shipments.

With regards to fault, as in many cases, you both are at fault. If your company is experiencing costs then you will need to negotiate the split of that costs between your company and your supplier.

It depends...
by: Anonymous

Having been in the contract manufacturing business for more than 30 years and have frequently encounter customer complaints regarding product parameters that were not clearly defined (or not defined at all) in the procurement documents (PO, drawings, electrical specifications, etc). Sometimes we were able to infer some of the needs from our understanding of the application but often the customers had expectations that were not consistent with the information supplied.

If the functional problem you experienced was clearly defined in your requirements, then your supplier really doesn't have justification for their response. On the other hand, if both parties agreed to the control plan and there was no clear metric related to the functional requirment in question, then the responsibility falls on you.

Regardless of who is at fault, the incident is an opportunity for both you and your customer to improve communications and understanding.

Walk it out
by: brandnew

i agree with other comments indicating if supplier wants your business they'll work with you relating to this issue.

However to their point, i believe that all this should have been covered even before the job was taken. It sounds like they are indicating they covered their part of responsibility in meeting what they charged you for their service. i'm not certain if this is a particular part that has been given to this supplier for sometime or if they are new supplier to you.

i'm not quite certain but how long has it been since you received these parts in return? Was there a first article inspection? Did you request this type of reporting? Did you supply the material? There appears to be many factors that can play on this issue.

As of right now all you can do is attempt to work on a solution (rework, repair, submit SDMR...)

Complaint or Not a Complaint
by: Jeff Woodworth

I Would ask my supplier does he use a discipline problem solving method.
Does the supplier perform internal quality audits.
Are control plans revised for product and process changes or when processes are found to be unstable or non-capable.
Does the supplier utilize defect prevention methods.
How do you qualify your suppliers.
How do you rate your suppliers.
Lastly has your supplier has a Final inspection.

by: Anonymous

Does this supplier know the use to which the finished part will be put to? Or is he someone accustomed to the requirements of the uses to which you want to put the part? If the answer to the above questions is YES, then he is responsible.

Response to Complaint or Not a complaint
by: Bob Rinderman

Fundamentally, if the supplier has violated a requirement of the documented and signed Purchase (Order) agreement (including attachments, drawings, etc.) he is responsible.

It is your responsibility to point out which provisions of the Purchase agreement that he violated and to hold the supplier accountable for corrective action, up to and including costs that you incurred as a result of his negligence.

If the problem that your company suffered was NOT part of the Purchase agreement, it is not the problem of the supplier. However, it IS an actionable opportunity (Lessons Learned) to learn how to avoid the problem in the future.

From the suppliers point of view
by: Eujdi

I would like to start by stating that there is not enough detail in the original question to proffer an answer without speculation. With that in mind I would echo the sentiment of some of the other commenters - it depends on the details of the situation.

You stated that the part created a functional issue. Was the defect with the supplier's part a defect they would recognize as a defect given the specifications they were provided?

I work for a contract manufacturer and often we are provided a print or spec sheet and asked to make a part as indicated. In these cases usually the materials are called out as well as the size shape etc. Many times we do not know the application or the requirements of functionality for the end product our component is a part of.

I say if it is possible that the supplier does not or would not understand the application of the part they are supplying than there is some responsibility on the part of the customer to make the critical specifications clear.

If the defect that is causing the compromised functionality is indicated in the provided specs but not in the control plan than I say the onus falls on the supplier. Just as the supplier should not be expected to necessarily understand the customer's application for their component the customer should not be responsible to fully understand the supplier's process to know what controls need to be in place.

I also agree that the supplier should be willing to work with you...within reason. If this is a one shot order or a small dollar amount with thin margins and they feel that they acted in good faith and provided a product they feel to meet the specifications they were provided then there is a case where they should be free to act with some pragmatism. It would depend on the relationship if they were to opt to pay for an issue they feel is the customer's responsibility.

I can't recall where I heard it but as they say the customer is always right- unless they're wrong.

SO in summary of this long winded response that offered very little new information to the discussion for which I apologize. Not enough information to answer.

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