Warranty management is usually not in focus at the manufacturing location – as long as the received monthly debits are within a certain acceptable limit.
Generally, when it is over a limit, 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 significant 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 these requirements’ details.
Each OEM has its additional customer-specific requirements, which describe how the warranty management works and what their expectations are.
Study these requirements carefully and ensure that the internal processes are fully aligned with them, including the NTF (no trouble found) process.
2. Plan the warranty analysis process
The supplier needs to be prepared for warranty analysis before SOP according to VDA Field Failure Analysis booklet.
Yes, before SOP.
This means that each newly developed product’s exact analysis process 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 continuously provide comprehensive data about the rejected parts, including vehicle data, mileage, failure code, symptom, etc.
Use these data to understand patterns better, identify lifetime issues, predictions for the future failing rate / overall risk.
4. Continuously analyze rejected parts from the field
The supplier’s best interest is to continuously monitor the warranty performance, which ensures 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. That means an agreement about the percentage of the overall warranty cost, which the supplier needs to cover.
5. Keep the deadlines
Simple advice, but as an auditor, I have experienced many times that suppliers were debited just because the given deadline was not kept.
Even if the final analysis outcome was that the supplier is not responsible, if it is over a specific deadline, the debit would come.
6. Verify debit notes and the data behind
Sounds obvious again, but my experience shows it worth 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 a 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 field failure analysis process’s specific requirements.
VDA 6.3 process auditors can perform the audit if they have professional skills in the field failure analysis process.
Look for an experienced auditor and identify any issue on time.
As always, think in system with Pro Automotive.
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