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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazzert View Post
    That sounds like most modern consumer goods.

    You said that you found hundreds of defects upon inspection. What percentage of previous production would you estimate had (has?) the fault? And if you're ISO or otherwise certified does your quality policy have a percentage laid out for defective parts?
    I found close to 6% internally. It seemed to be an intermittent issue caused by setup/operator error. I eliminated the problem going forward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jancollc View Post
    Why were they returned? Did the customer send them back because they were defective or failing?

    What actual failure rate have you documented?
    They were returned for an unrelated issue, and weren't used. The timing of it all was uncanny.

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    This is sounding allot like "Servicecar rider" and the fake news smoke screen
    portrayed on here, all for a phsyc major's thesis.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteM View Post
    Only tangentially in that situation, very early in my career. Sounds like you're likely approaching it well - especially if these parts are sold directly to an end user and that end customer is getting screwed in the process.

    The main question, as suggested above, is that no one here has enough information to judge whether the defect is one more part of a modern one horse shay -- most all of whose parts will self-destruct after a year or so -- or something more serious.

    It does sound as if these parts are sold to customers who then incorporate them in some sort of assembly. In that case, one would think they would know the failures and share your concern?
    Your main question is a sticking point with me as well.

    The parts are sold individually, in bulk, and as part of an assembly. The beauty of it is that only an in depth investigation could discover it. The average person would likely just through the whole assembly out, complain about it on-line, and just buy another one.

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    Thank you for that. It gave me peace.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emissary View Post
    I found close to 6% internally. It seemed to be an intermittent issue caused by setup/operator error. I eliminated the problem going forward.
    Why didn't the company issue a recall for the items made during that time frame? How long does it take to replace the defective part?

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    It's often 'good form' to bring along a proposed solution or two when reporting a problem. Something more specific than 're-design it.'

    If the fallout for the customer is only economic/product life instead of actual human life, perhaps it's time to fill the niche in the market and supply the customers with a longer-lasting part. If it turns out they care. There's a long history of this approach to a fix, but it's not without some risk. Approach with caution and counsel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emissary View Post
    They were returned for an unrelated issue, and weren't used. The timing of it all was uncanny.
    So basically there is no history of failures in use?

    There's a difference between a non-conformance and a defect. You come from a very structured environment- aerospace and medical, etc. Now you are in a proprietary manufacturing environment. They are very different worlds.

    Proprietary manufacturing companies are very often started and run by entrepreneurs, and are usually "seat of the pants" type operations until they get to a certain size. Then they start to need more structure.

    That sounds to me like what you are trying to do, and that's good. I've been there myself. The only thing I'd say is you should be sure that the issue you are raising is a real issue. A 6% non-conformance rate in an unstructured proprietary manufacturing environment does not surprise me at all, and it doesn't mean anyone is being negligent.

    The notion that a serious defect, that could cause a catastrophic failure, has gone unnoticed by the owners for years is hard for me to visualize. If it was real, customers would have raised hell and the owners would have addressed it. That's my experience anyway.

    I have no doubt the company has room for process improvements- a structured QC process with a second set of eyes on the parts, get rid of the napkin drawings, control the programs, etc.

    Go ahead and address the issue you are concerned about. Take the problem, and your solution to the owners, and show them what you are doing and explain why it's necessary.

    If you aren't experiencing high failure rates, and there is no history of someone getting injured or major destruction of the machine- caused by the "defect", then you should focus on putting out better products in the future. Don't get carried away and start calling customers unless this is really something serious.

    Help the company grow and mature- that's why they brought you in.

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  10. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    Why didn't the company issue a recall for the items made during that time frame? How long does it take to replace the defective part?
    The decision wasn't mine to make. But it was my mindset. I'm thinking that if each customer who has these components in their assemblies were contacted, it would potentially be +50,000 assemblies? It'd take a year plus to replace?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jancollc View Post
    So basically there is no history of failures in use?

    There's a difference between a non-conformance and a defect. You come from a very structured environment- aerospace and medical, etc. Now you are in a proprietary manufacturing environment. They are very different worlds.

    Proprietary manufacturing companies are very often started and run by entrepreneurs, and are usually "seat of the pants" type operations until they get to a certain size. Then they start to need more structure.

    That sounds to me like what you are trying to do, and that's good. I've been there myself. The only thing I'd say is you should be sure that the issue you are raising is a real issue. A 6% non-conformance rate in an unstructured proprietary manufacturing environment does not surprise me at all, and it doesn't mean anyone is being negligent.

    The notion that a serious defect, that could cause a catastrophic failure, has gone unnoticed by the owners for years is hard for me to visualize. If it was real, customers would have raised hell and the owners would have addressed it. That's my experience anyway.

    I have no doubt the company has room for process improvements- a structured QC process with a second set of eyes on the parts, get rid of the napkin drawings, control the programs, etc.

    Go ahead and address the issue you are concerned about. Take the problem, and your solution to the owners, and show them what you are doing and explain why it's necessary.

    If you aren't experiencing high failure rates, and there is no history of someone getting injured or major destruction of the machine- caused by the "defect", then you should focus on putting out better products in the future. Don't get carried away and start calling customers unless this is really something serious.

    Help the company grow and mature- that's why they brought you in.
    That's the other side of the coin. I've found plenty of cases of these same assemblies failing for what could be caused by the issue that I found. But without the actually components, who knows what the issue was?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emissary View Post
    I found close to 6% internally. It seemed to be an intermittent issue caused by setup/operator error. I eliminated the problem going forward.
    Well then pat yourself on the back for a job well done and move onto the next job.

    You might want to look into what happens to whistle blowers, it seems very rarely to end well for the whistle blowers. It may mean getting a future job could be difficult.

    If the company sue you for any reason, can you afford an attorney to defend yourself? Who has deeper pockets you or them? If they have deeper pockets they will likely bankrupt you, leave you in a tent on the street, your children working nights at McD's, rather than getting an education at Stanford.etc etc

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emissary View Post
    It may not even break right away. But WILL break eventually.
    I think you work for Fisher Pakel, the clowns that made my dishwasher.

    What do you expect to get here? What you should do entirely depends on what the product is and the liabilities and we here given no details. Parachutes are different than dish cloths. If there is risk to life/environment etc, you should care about being part of the legal chain, if there is no risk to others, the risk is primarily to their brand and its whether you stay/go is personal to your situation/values.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WA-CNC View Post
    Well then pat yourself on the back for a job well done and move onto the next job.

    You might want to look into what happens to whistle blowers, it seems very rarely to end well for the whistle blowers. It may mean getting a future job could be difficult.

    If the company sue you for any reason, can you afford an attorney to defend yourself? Who has deeper pockets you or them? If they have deeper pockets they will likely bankrupt you, leave you in a tent on the street, your children working nights at McD's, rather than getting an education at Stanford.etc etc
    I'm aware of the hardships that come with whistle-blowing. That's why I wanted unbiased, uncompromised takes on the situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcgyver View Post
    If there is risk to life/environment etc, you should care about being part of the legal chain, if there is no risk to others, the risk is primarily to their brand and its whether you stay/go is personal to your situation/values.
    Good way of putting it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcgyver View Post
    What do you expect to get here?
    To see if I missed anything.

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    You did your audit. Have the owners sign it acknowledging the failures. It could be part of their overall business plan and they know all about it. But if you are an "executive" member of the company you are liable. But I'd talk to an attorney and not us scuttlebutt lawyers. Telling the company's customers sounds like it opens you up to a very large lawsuit from your employer so good luck with that decision.

    Now that you are aware of it have you worked with anyone to put go /no go fixtures, inspection jigs, and new procedures in place? If you are a department manager fold in a new QA staff in to your department and fix the issue. But if the owners don't care and you're not legally liable, ride it out until you retire, or quit.

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    Write a detailed letter to the Better Business Bureau and list all customers. Send same letter to every customer. For out of state customers send the letter to the BBB for that state. Then gather enough supplies and sit in your bomb shelter for the next two weeks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rons View Post
    Write a detailed letter to the Better Business Bureau and list all customers. Send same letter to every customer. For out of state customers send the letter to the BBB for that state. Then gather enough supplies and sit in your bomb shelter for the next two weeks.
    The BBB is not a government agency and wields no power. I never understood the high opinion people have of them, they are a joke and a fraud. There are crap loads of businesses with bad reviews on their site that just keep rolling on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emissary View Post
    That's the thing. I don't believe so. But it's at least possible.
    Low chance of injury, check.

    Does this product carry some sort of warranty?

    If the warranty is 1 year and this defect causes failure after 18 months, I think you've found your answer.

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    I have a strong suspicion there is more/less to this saga than the op's version.......

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