In Auto Repair the negative impact of warranty work or comebacks is well understood. At its worst it can result in lost business and at the very least it will result in lost productivity. When a vehicle returns for warranty work – all the overhead of checking the vehicle in and delivering it are incurred with no profit gained in the process. Personnel spend time re-doing what was already done rather than spending time earning money. Quality assurance and control measures will prevent warranty problems and continuous improvement of processes will gradually reduce quality problems to the lowest level possible. If employees and suppliers share in the responsibility for quality the best possible outcome will be realized. Following are ways to achieve the best possible quality:
Perfection is not attainable but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence … Vince Lombardi
- Employ Quality Assurance and Quality Control Measures – Quality Assurance/Control procedures should be clearly defined and practiced as part of the vehicle repair process. Testing and quality assurance at the point of production as well as quality control checks prior to vehicle delivery will keep warranty problems to a minimum.
- Review Quality Failure Causes and Enact Preventive Measures – Dr. Edward Deming – one of the foremost quality experts in history – teaches us that the majority of quality problems are process oriented as opposed to personnel oriented. When quality problems occur focus on the process first to identify potential changes to prevent re-occurrences.
- Guard Against Incentives with Unintended Outcomes – If an employee is incentivized to produce as much as possible in the shortest time possible without regard to quality – warranty issues will most certainly manifest. Incentives are a great way to positively impact production but perfect quality should be the primary objective.
- Ensure That There are Consequences – If there are no consequences to the employee for quality problems there will be no concern on their part. So employees that create warranty issues should be impacted financially.
- Avoid Part Brands/Lines With Quality Issues – Warranty situations that occur for parts should be investigated for potential problems with brand, product line or production run. Parts can be serialized and if a batch had problems it should be avoided.