Procees Flow Control Plan Fmea for RMA Process

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    We developed a process flow chart, control plan and FMEA (w/ IPO) process that is working great to tackle problems more effectively.  We want to do the same for our warranty returned product (RMA) but I am stuck trying to determine were to say the defects occur. The cause of defects was due to upstream issues and not at our RMA handling process. I hope you can help. Thank you. 



    I am unclear, are you looking to improve your Rma process, or reduce the number of returns due to product defects?



    Six Sigma_QE:
    The RMA process is a means to collect bad products (defects) that were shipped from your facility. The defects should be tracked/attributed to the operation of the manufacturing process were they occurred (the root cause as near as can be determined). If the problems are corrected at the source, RMA requests and subsequent claims/dollars will decrease over time.
    Improving the RMA process would focus on time, accuracy, dollars, and customer satisfaction:

    Time from request of RMA to time of resolution (credit, replacement, etc.)
    Validation that there is indeed a problem (or not) and accurate determination of problem/root cause. Accurately categorizing and reporting returns/claims.
    Dollars to administer the warranty program (people, shipping expenses, repair/replacement costs, etc.)
    Customer satisfaction – was the customer satisfied that the RMA process was fair, timely, easily facilitated, etc.?
    There is some important information from the RMA process that should be collected as well:

    Returns/failures by geographic region
    Returns/failures by time of year
    Returns/failures by customer type
    Returns/failures by customer
    Returns/failures by product type
    Returns/failures by application
    Elapsed Time from shipment/receipt to RMA request (when within the warranty period did the defect/failure get noticed)
    Value of RMA’d product
    Etc., etc.
    Hope this helps?
     Good Luck!   OLD



    There is so many issues (defects, repair time, replacement availability) and at this point I am not sure. I am barely at the define stage and when I get to developing the process flow (from manufacturing to customer, from customer to repair)  I want to make sure I know where (what step) to list the defects. I guess it would be logical to list it under the manufacturing process just like OLD stated.



    Thanks for your input. This certainly helps. Any suggestions on how I should report the defect rate. On the manufacturing process I know how many units were processed vs. how many failed and I can calculate the reject rate (ppm, dpmo or P-bar). In this case I can’t think of a denominator to use. Thank you.



    Six Sigma_Qe:
    You might want to start with the basics such as:
    Number of units produced (and/or shipped)
    Number of RMA’s requested (and/or returns)
    Do a Pareto of the reasons given by the customer for the need of a RMA. Continue to drill down until you are able to tie the reason to a specific defect/problem. Try to drive those defects/problems back to the source. Not all will lead back to manufacturing as there will be other areas contributing to the RMA (wrong part shipped, wrong part ordered, too many ordered, etc.).
    The RMA process was created in an attempt to “pre-qualify” a customer’s problem to validate that it is a problem created by your company. Double check with the people who are providing RMA numbers that they have asked the right questions to verify an “acceptable” return.
    Hope this helps….
     Good Luck! OLD



    You need to incorporate the defects/rejects in the upstream process and not in RMA. Also, an expected increase in Detection and Occurrence scores are expected for the Upstream FMEA since the products have reached the customers.
    To have a better grasp of the process, your Upstream FMEA must incorporate upto RMA process to have it done end to end.



    SixSigma_QE & thread participants,
    One thing I can tell you that helped tremendously in my company was to see the defect rate charted over time on a control chart.
    What you do is to calculate your defect rate by whatever logical grouping makes sense for your business.  For example, we calculated # of defects/# units manufactured in that lot or batch.  For this we looked that the RMAs/claims and used the serial number to get a date of manufacture.  Then we took the production data and compared the two.
    What we found by doing this and plotting many, many points of defect rate data was to find how stable it was.  In the past we would see the defect rate jump around because we were only looking at one data point in time (i.e. defect rate presented at this month’s meeting) and comparing it to another single data point (i.e. defect rate presented at last months meeting or last year’s meeting).

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