Warranty management is usually not in focus at the manufacturing location – as long as the received monthly debits are within a certain acceptable limit.
When it is over a limit, generally it is too late to control or requires an enormous effort to minimize the risk.
We should always keep in mind that our product performance in the field has a huge impact on customer satisfaction. Every claim means a faulty part from a vehicle, the car must be taken back to the service to repair.
Here are some tips about the focus areas of a proper warranty management process.
- Be aware of customer specific requirements
Sounds easy, right?
Based on my auditor experience, many automotive suppliers are not fully aware of all details of these requirements.
Each OEM has its own additional customer specific requirements which describe how the warranty management works and what are their expectations.
Study these requirements carefully and make sure that the internal processes are fully aligned with them, including the NTF (no trouble found) process.
2. Plan the warranty analysis process
Supplier needs to be prepared for warranty analysis before SOP according to VDA Field Failure Analysis booklet.
Yes, before SOP. This means that the exact analysis process for each newly developed product needs to be defined during APQP before the part is used in vehicle series production.
3. Collect and analyze the data from the customer
OEMs are continuously providing comprehensive data about the rejected parts, including vehicle data, mileage, failure code, symptom, etc.
Use these data to better understand patterns, identify lifetime issues, predictions for the future failing rate / overall risk.
4. Continuously analyze rejected parts from the field
It is the best interest of the supplier to monitor the warranty performance continuously, which assure that new issues are identified and solved as quickly as possible.
The outcome of the analysis is the basis for Technical Factor (TF) agreements with the customer, which means an agreement about the percentage of the warranty overall cost which needs to be covered by the supplier.
5. Keep the deadlines
Simple advice, but as an auditor, I have experienced it many times that suppliers were debited just because the given deadline was not kept.
Even if the outcome of the final analysis was that the supplier is not responsible, if it is over a certain deadline, the debit will come.
6. Verify debit notes and the data behind
Sounds obvious again, but my experience shows it worth to mentioning.
Do not accept the debit notes without fully understand the data behind them. Customers are making mistakes too – as the suppliers do as well.
Take the time to review the data and request a modification if something is not OK.
7. Continuous improvement
Warranty management is part of the continuous improvement process. Use the lessons learned for future product and process improvements.
Keep in mind, APQP Phase 1 includes review of historical warranty and quality information.
8. Audit your field failure analysis process
Do not learn from your mistakes. Detect any lack of fulfillment of the requirements by conducting Field Failure analysis audits.
VDA Field Failure Analysis & Audit standard describes a uniform evaluation method.
The audit for the field failure analysis is an independent audit standard based on the specific requirements of the field failure analysis process.
VDA 6.3 process auditors can perform the audit if they have professional skills in the field failure analysis process as well.
Look for an experienced auditor, review the field failure analysis to identify and correct issues on time.
As always, think in system with Pro Automotive.
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