New Quality Solution Modules Target Customer Issues, Product Change

MetricStream debuts apps to help manufacturers increase customer loyalty and reduce product liability and risk

MetricStream debuts apps to help manufacturers increase customer loyalty and reduce product liability and risk

Redwood Shores, CA — November 23, 2005 — Quality and compliance specialist MetricStream has rolled out two new modules for its customer quality solution, adding customer issue management and product change notification capabilities to its flagship solution.

MetricStream worked with Fairchild Semiconductor to develop the new modules, which the enabler said can help companies implement best practices for recording and managing product-related issues reported by customers and for planning and managing product change-related issues affecting existing customers. Together, the modules offer a solution for customer quality, including customer issue management, corrective action management, change notification, document management, audit management and customer/supplier access, MetricStream said.

The Customer Issue Management module is designed to help a manufacturer start the process for investigation and tracking of customer-report quality issues by tracking issues in specific terms and performing containment as well as failure analysis and determining if corrective actions need to be initiated. Key capabilities include:

  • Issue Recording and Verification: Define quality problem reported by customers in measurable and specific terms; record device markings to identify failed components and trace their manufacturing history; and select the investigation team and conduct initial verification of the problem.

  • Containment and Failure Analysis: Take containment action while quality analysts do failure analysis; follow standard failure codes and assign code to each failed component. Attach relevant failure analysis and other documents that get consolidated in the final report to the customer.

  • Generate the final "8D" report to the customer automatically using the desired template applicable to the particular customer. The final report can be printed in Microsoft Word or Adode PDF format, and a permanent copy of the report is associated with the record and stored in the system for historical and audit purposes.

  • Reports and Metrics: Get real-time visibility into open case counts, closed case counts, open case count by age, etc. Executive dashboards provide a visual representation to the status of customer reported issues, enabling an organization's customer-facing representatives to provide the real-time feedback customers demand. Reports for internal tracking and review as well as for status reporting to the customer in prescribed formats are available.
The Change Notification module was designed to help manufacturers standardize the processes for initiating and communicating products changes to enable systematic decision-making and timely communication to all affected customers as well as internal groups. The module covers product changes as well as product obsolescence, alerts and recalls. Key capabilities include:

  • Plan and Initiate: Identify required product changes and schedules in a horizon report; propose products for obsolescence and discontinuation; and analyze customer and internal processes that will be affected.

  • Approval and Execution: Consolidate proposed changes for review by a central approval committee; seek and track approvals from affected customers and account managers for upcoming changes; and issue timely notifications to sales and customers for obsolescence.

  • Reports and Metrics: On-demand reports and executive dashboards provide visibility into product change data by types, product lines, part numbers, customers and regions. Graphical displays enable tracking of planned and unplanned changes, approved and rejected changes, cycle times and customer approval status.
"MetricStream worked very closely with our quality and reliability organization to develop these two modules," said Mark Rioux, vice president of worldwide quality and reliability at Fairchild Semiconductor. "We believe that these modules capture the best practices in customer quality management in the industry today".

"We want to continue to be the most compelling quality and compliance management solution in every one of our target segments", said Shellye Archambeau, CEO of MetricStream. "By partnering actively with innovative customers, we ensure that our products continue to lead the industry".

Additional Articles of Interest

— For examples of companies implementing warranty management solutions to reduce costs and improve product quality see the daily news items on Carrier, auto supplier ArvinMeritor, retailer Sears and appliance manufacturers Whirlpool and Sub-Zero deploying these types of solutions.

— Is it possible to preemptively address the business risks associated with product quality? One industry executive thinks so. Read more in "The Quality Risk," the Executive Memo column in the August/September 2005 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

— Looking to outsource your supply chain? For five success factors for your outsourcing project Read "Rising to the Challenge of the Outsourced Supply Chain," cover story in the October/November 2005 issue of Supply and Demand Chain Executive.