The Client: A leading Flash Memory brand

Overview

With flash memory's capability for storing large amounts of data in a compact, removable format, the Company's products have helped drive the exponential growth in sales of digital cameras, multi-function mobile phones, USB flash drives, digital audio/video players, and other digital consumer devices.

Serving customer through thousands of retail storefronts worldwide as well as through OEM relationships with consumer electronic brands, the Company delivers world-class quality and customer support.

To deliver best-in-class and consistent quality, reliability and process excellence initiatives across its diverse products portfolio and customer profile, the Company has a central Corporate Quality function that oversees quality programs for handling and resolving product quality issues reported by customers as well as compliance with regulatory and customer mandates such as RoHS Directive and ISO 14000.

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Solution

The Company selected MetricStream customer quality management solution as it provides the most comprehensive functionality for key business processes such as customer issue management, nonconformance management and corrective and preventive actions (CAPA). Moreover, MetricStream solution are built on a broad platform, the MetricStream Enterprise Compliance Platform, that the Company is able to leverage to drive key compliance initiatives for regulatory reporting and customer mandates such as RoHS Directive and ISO 14000. MetricStream rich experience in implementing solution in the hi-tech manufacturing environments also gives it the insights and perspective that played a key role in ensuring the success of the project.

The solution’s Customer Quality Management (CQM) module tracks customer quality issues and complaints for different business units and product lines. It has a variety of users, including OEM customers, sales operations and customer quality engineers (CQEs), representing the different channels that quality issues can be reported from. The solution supports RMA and issue validation process and two levels of failure analysis (FA) - primary and secondary - and granular details at each level are recorded in the system. Once the FA is concluded, CQEs can review the investigation and analysis, compile 8D reports for customers and decide if a CAPA needs to needs to be initiated.

The CAPA module provides end-to-end capabilities to capture nonconformance and problem data, manage review and disposition, conduct investigation to determine the root cause, manage the preventive and corrective action plan, implement changes as per the action plan, track action items for completion and validate them for effectiveness.

At each stage of the process the system utilizes email as a mechanism for delivering event-based notifications, assignments, alerts and escalations to ensure timely completion of tasks. Integration of the solution with the ERP system transmits all the relevant data for RMAs, parts, customers, products batches and BoMs eliminating duplicate data entry and ensuring information integrity.

The integrated solution provides real-time access to the quality data giving the management visibility into key metrics and performance indicators (KPIs) on the quality data across the entire enterprise. Operational efficiency is easily monitored with reports that provide FA cycle times, aging, failure types, failure environment attributes, etc. Graphical CAPA dashboards and flexible reports with drill-down capability provide statistics and data by a variety of parameters such as status, priority, action type, business units, processes and divisions.

"We are unequivocally committed to excellence in customer quality", says the Director of Worldwide Customer Quality at the Company. "This enterprise-class system is one of several tools that will enable us to further streamline and integrate our customer quality processes across various organizations and provide us the foundation to take our customer quality metrics to the next level."

The solution has been rolled out to 18 sites and about 60 external parties such as customer, suppliers and subcontractors and support over 1,000 users.

Challenges

Over the last decade, the Company has been shipping products at an ever increasing rate to keep up the digital revolution that is driving massive world-wide adoption of electronic devices. It has delivered major product innovations, expanded its manufacturing, assembly and testing facilities, forged strategic OEM alliances and created a broad global distribution footprint. With rising customer base and product penetration, the Company also saw the expected proportionate increase quality issues being reported by customers. What did come unexpectedly was difficulty the quality and reliably manager started facing in maintaining consistent and predictable processes for recoding quality issues, conducting failure analysis.

In its early days, the Company had internally developed an application to record customer quality issues, take them through a validation and failure analysis process and implement necessary corrective and preventive actions. But the rapid growth in sales volumes, types of products and variety of usage scenarios started exposing the limitations of the home grown system. For instance, the system did not capture all the information related to the customer issues in a comprehensive manner. Manual data entry tasks due to lack of integration with the ERP system and absence of automated routing of information from one stage to the next meant that managers and engineers had to spend excessive amount of time to keep the system up to date – leaded to lower efficiencies. The application provided only the most basic reports that were insufficient for conducting trending analysis to drive preventive measures. Moreover, compiling data for management reviews or for reporting to customers was a time consuming and error prone manual exercise.

The Company began evaluate how it could streamline and automate its customer quality and reliability processes by implementing an integrated solution for that would create a collaborative environment for customer support, quality, reliability and engineering organizations. Moreover, the Company wanted to drive innovation in the way it approached quality by providing its large OEM customers the ability to log quality issues directly into its system and creating a transparent environment for real-time tracking and reporting.

Why MetricStream was Selected?

End-to-end automation of the customer quality issues and CAPA processes

Powerful reporting with executive dashboards for analytics and trending

Web-based architecture that can be extended to customers and suppliers for collaboration

Flexibility to meet specific requirements and adapt to changing business processes

Embedded best practices for the hi-tech industry ready to be used out-of-the-box

Benefits

  • Accelerated Issue Resolution:
    Streamlined recording, tracking and resolution of customer quality issues through a collaborative environment have accelerated the resolution of customer quality issues.
  • Greater Customer Satisfaction:
    A reliable close-loop process of resolving products issues and defects has significantly improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Higher Efficiencies:
    Ability to monitor trends and analytics on customer quality issues and improved effectiveness of engineering and operational resources has led to higher process and personal efficiencies.

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