Archive for December, 2010

Get Customer Complaint Details

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

An effective organization requires a robust customer complaint system. Complaints communicate customer perceptions of quality, and  compose the largest determinant of customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, the majority of complaint systems are completely reactive: You’re not reaching out to your customer—you’re relying on the customer to reach out to you. This is a risk laden proposition and for every complaint your organization receives, there may be four, five or more you’ll never know about.

Because of its reactive nature, a complaint system should be used in combination with one or two proactive tools. Here are some suggestions to help you implement an effective system that is capable of improving your customer satisfaction connection.

Get the Details!

In addition to your customer service personnel expressing empathy, the person receiving the complaint must gather the correct details. Exactly what went wrong? Allow the customer to provide a general description, then begin to drill down. Typical information includes the following details:

  • What was the exact nature of the problem? Generalities won’t cut it. The problem statement must provide enough detail and depth to facilitate investigation.
  • When did the problem occur? The date is certainly necessary, as might also be the time.
  • Where did the problem occur? The state, city, plant, retail outlet, department, production line and machine all might be important.
  • Who was involved in the situation? What roles did they play?
  • What product was involved? What were the part or style numbers?
  • Were there any specific batch numbers, serial numbers or other identifiers that provide traceability?
  • Was the problem isolated or generalized across all products?

Consistently gathering this expansion of information is difficult without a structured format. Most organizations custom-design complaint forms based on their individual needs and the most effective forms allow customers to go online and submit.  Decide exactly what information you need to investigate customer complaints and take effective corrective action; then design your form around these needs. Certain sections of the complaint form are almost universal, including:

  • The person to whom the complaint is assigned
  • The response due date
  • The root cause
  • The action taken
  • A verification of action taken
  • A closure signature and date

Also, consider all the steps that constitute a response to a typical customer complaint:

1.  Clearly defining the problem
2.  Identifying the root cause
3.  Proposing a range of acceptable corrective action
4.  Choosing the action
5.  Implementing the action
6.  Following up to ensure the action was effective
7.  Reporting the action and results back to the customer
8.  Updating procedures and other documentation as necessary to reflect changed methods.

The more people involved in the complaint investigation, action and follow-up, the more likely it is the organization will learn from the experience and not repeat the same mistakes.

The Quality Guru Asks: How effective is your organization in gathering the right customer information? Give us your ideas on what are the  proper complaint questions to ask to get the right details?   

ISO 9001:2008 Survey – Give Your Opinion!

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

 
Sustaining Edge Solutions, Inc. Newsletter )
Performance Improvement Solutions for Your Business Needs December 2010
In this issue

  • ISO 9001:2008 Survey – Give Your Opinion!
  • 2011 Manufacturing Outlook Shows Growth
  • Outsourcing is Out
  • In The News
  • Training Courses 
  • Greetings!

    Welcome to Sustaining Edge Solutions Performance Improvement Newsletter

    Our newsletters provide guidance on operational and quality systems ISO 9001, AS9100, ISO/TS 16949, ISO 27001, ISO 13485, ISO 14001, and others. This includes internal auditing techniques and process improvement methods Lean Enterprise, Six Sigma, and other topics of interest to our readers.

    We want to wish everyone Happy Holidays! Look for our Improved Newsletter Format starting next month in 2011. As always, please let us know how we are doing, and inform us of any topic of interest you would like to see. Contact Us.

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    ISO 9001:2008 Survey – Give Your Opinion!

     

    Audit

    ISO has launched a survey for users and potential users of the ISO 9000 family of documents. The survey provides a specific focus on ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System Requirements to ensure its relevance for the future. This includes sector specific standards that are based on ISO9001. For example Aerospace, Medical Devices, Environmental, Telecommunications.

    The survey is directed to include the users and potential users of standards that are based on ISO9001. ISO’s rules require all its standards to be reviewed at least every five years to establish whether they should be confirmed, revised, or withdrawn.

    • The survey will take about 30 minutes to complete and can be accessed online at this ISO Web Page. If you need to interrupt the survey, you can save the survey and return at a later time.
    • The survey is being done using the online tool SurveyMonkey. The survey will be online until January 2011, and a report on the results is planned for end of March 2011. You will not be contacted for any sales or marketing activity as a result of having taken part in this survey.

    According to ISO the goals of the survey are:

    • Indicator of strengths/weaknesses of current ISO 9001:2008 content
    • Indicator of gaps in current content
    • Compatibility with other management system standards
    • Views on the current structure of ISO 9001:2008
    • Future market needs not currently addressed
    • Feedback on conformity assessment for third party-certified users.

    ISO is seeking to ensure through the survey that the users of ISO 9001 continue to be satisfied. The ISO experts responsible for maintaining the relevance of ISO 9001 aim to gather feedback from both current and potential users of the standard.

    Current users include:

    • Third party-certified organizations
    • Organizations using ISO 9001 as minimum quality standard “frame” for their quality management systems (QMS)
    • Certification bodies
    • Consultants
    • National standard bodies
    • Purchasers/specifiers/requirers of ISO 9001 in the supply base.

    Potential users include organizations who:

    • Are aware of ISO 9001, but do not use it currently
    • Have actively chosen not to use ISO 9001
    • No longer use ISO 9001
    • Use other quality models as basis for QMS
    • Countries who have not adopted ISO standards.

     

    Up to the end of December 2009, at least 1,064,785 ISO 9001 certificates (2000 and 2008 editions) had been issued in 178 countries and economies.

     

    2011 Manufacturing Outlook Shows Growth

     

    Cust Sat

    The second annual ASQ Manufacturing Outlook Survey shows a vast majority of manufacturers are optimistic about an economic uptick in 2011 at their organizations.

    The survey, conducted by ASQ-the world’s largest network of quality resources and experts-states 68 percent of respondents employed in the manufacturing sector predict their organizations will experience revenue growth. This is a bit of a brighter outlook than for 2010.

    Despite the economic landscape, a year ago, 64.7 percent of respondents predicted that revenue would grow in 2010. This year, when asked if their organization did experience revenue growth in 2010, 67 percent indicated “yes.” More than 1,200 manufacturing professionals from the United States and Canada responded to the online survey October 24 – November 5, 2010.

    The two areas from the survey that showed the most promise were in the areas of payroll and operational budgets:

    • Only 18% expect a pay freeze in 2011 – compared to 44.8% in 2010 at their organizations.
    • 18% predict mandatory budget cuts in 2011 – whereas 35.2% did in 2010.

     

    Of the other 2011 organizational options offered, respondents anticipate:

    • Expectations of a salary/merit increase (48%).
    • Organizations will continue to create processes to reduce costs (47%), down from 61.3% in 2010.
    • Maintaining current staff levels at their organizations (42%).
    • Hiring of additional staff (42%).
    • No mandatory furlough days (73%). In 2010, 72% indicated they did not have to take furlough days.

     

    As many organizations had to make sacrifices to survive a down economy, the survey inquired whether staff reductions or other cutbacks implemented in 2010 negatively impacted the quality of the products/services delivered. Thirty-three percent of respondents believed that the quality of their products/services was negatively impacted. Thirty-two percent believed that the quality did not suffer.

    Manufacturers Offer Advice

    Respondents were also asked what one tip they would give to manufacturers to ensure revenue growth in 2011. The top four tips, similar to the 2010 outlook, from respondents were:

    • Continue to take part in continuous improvement practices and increase the use of quality processes.
    • Increase customer satisfaction.
    • Implement more lean processes.
    • Reduce costs/eliminate waste.

    We agree with these revenue tips for 2011 and beyond. Though it appears the manufacturing sector is still facing some challenges on the road to full economic recovery, the incremental gains shown in this survey are very promising. 

     

    Outsourcing is Out

    In The News

     

     

    Seven U.S. Organizations Receive 2010 Baldrige National Quality Award -Three small businesses chosen for the first time in a single year.

    U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today named seven organizations as recipients of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest presidential honor for performance excellence through innovation, improvement and visionary leadership. This marks the first year that three small businesses have been selected at one time and only the second instance in the award’s 23-year history that a total of seven organizations are being honored. Read NIST Press Release.

    Quality Progress Annual Salary Survey. Mean salary levels for full-time employees in the quality professional not only started to rise in 2010, but they have made up ground lost over the last two years. That’s one of the surprising findings you’ll read in this year’s annual December salary survey.The online version will be posted and the print version mailed by Dec. 1, 2010.

    Brochure on Market Surveillance. ISO/CASCO (Committee on Conformity Assessment) is in the process of developing an information brochure on good practice in market surveillance. The brochure is aimed at assisting developing economies in identifying activities appropriate for their specific circumstances. It is expected to have the brochure available in early 2011 after it has been reviewed by ISO/CASCO and ISO/DEVCO.

     

    Training Courses

     

    training

    To see the course description, schedule, and on-line registration click on the course title below. We do provide onsite and custom training. View all our Courses

    View Our Web Based E-Training Courses

    Understanding and Implementing ISO9001:2008
    ISO 9001:2008 Process Based Internal Auditor
    Documenting Your Management System

    Understanding and Implementing AS9100C (9110 &9120) Aviation, Space and Defense
    AS9100C:2009 Process Based Internal Auditor 
    Documenting Your Management System

    Understanding and Implementing ISO/TS16949:2009 Automotive 
    ISO/TS16949:2009 Process Based Internal Auditor 
    Documenting Your Management System

    Understanding and Implementing ISO14001:2004 Environmental
    ISO14001:2004 Process Based Internal Auditor

    5S Five Pillars of a Lean Workplace Organization
    Continuous Process Improvement
    Lean Six Sigma
    8 Disciplines (8D) of Problem Solving 

    Understanding and Implementing ISO 13485:2003 Medical Devices
    ISO 13485 Process Based Internal Auditor

    Understanding and Implementing ISO 27001:2005 Information Security
    ISO 27001 Process Based Internal Auditor

    All courses can be delivered at your company. Don’t see a course, location, or date that fits your needs?

    Contact Us

     

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