Original Date: 10/07/2002
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : In the Field Defects
General Tool Company has taken a proactive approach to solving an end user satisfaction issue and is now using similar approaches to preclude issues with new products in the field. As a result, the end users are extremely satisfied with the product.
The Navy’s Generator Set Program at General Tool Company (GTC) had some problems when deployed in the field. The system met all of the required specifications, but there were many things that had not been specified in the design that caused difficulties during deployment (e.g., access panels that could not be removed when the generator set was installed aboard the ship; and many instances when an inspection for preventive maintenance required the removal of several pieces of the equipment to gain access). When failures were encountered, typically additional failures were reported that were caused by the repair of the first failure. The equipment met the contractual obligation, but the end user was not satisfied with the results.
GTC could have ignored the dissatisfaction since all requirements of the contract had been fulfilled, but instead took a proactive approach to satisfy the end user. The end user and field personnel were consulted to determine all of the shortcomings in their environment. All requirements for inspections were defined, the onboard spare parts were reviewed, and the repair plans were reviewed for whether the repair would be performed underway or in port. The end users provided the input on accessibility issues for preventive maintenance and repair of the system.
The next step in the process was to analyze the changes needed to facilitate the end users’ desires. Many of the changes would add additional costs to the product, but in several instances the changes actually resulted in decreased costs. The final result was that GTC was able to absorb the difference in costs and redesigned the system to incorporate the desired changes. In one instance, the supplier of a part would not change the design to accommodate the differences, which resulted in GTC bringing on a new supplier of that part.
The new generator set design has had 30% fewer reported problems and a corresponding increase in the mean time between failure. The system is not being damaged during repair or inspection procedures, and the end user is now extremely happy with the product. GTC is applying the philosophy learned on this project to other projects. The success of each product in the field can be attributed to the up-front involvement of GTC.
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