Warranty Parts Center

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-- Focusing on Quality/Vehicle Engineering Center Parts Reviews

The Warranty Parts Center (WPC) has been a critical part of GM's business model since 1996. Refer to bulletin 99-00-89-019E (05-00-89-042C for Saturn). It is well known by most dealers that the WPC requests parts to better understand and help resolve product issues. At GM, the continued focus on product quality, fast issue identification, root cause, correction and containment is now more important than ever. That is why the WPC process has been expanded to include parts reviews held at the Vehicle Engineering Center (VEC) at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan.

TIP: Parts are still returned as always to 45 Northpointe Drive, Orion, MI 48359, but many of the parts are now being reviewed at the VEC.

We've done this because the VEC is where many engineers and suppliers have residence. As a result, we've had higher participation, more on-site/on-vehicle part testing, better results in our analysis and quicker resolution of issues.

The parts and repair orders that are requested back are reviewed by key stakeholders for the involved part, including Engineering, suppliers, GM Supplier Quality, production plant, assembly plant and Brand Quality. The part is analyzed to determine the root cause of the issue. Based on the group's analysis, the part is placed into one of three main categories. They are:

- Engineering issue, which can also include plant installation and handling

- Supplier quality issue

- Dealer issue

If it's an Engineering or supplier issue, we have to determine if it is a known issue that is already being addressed, or if the issue is something new that must be placed in our 24-hour process where either the supplier or the plant needs to quickly provide a solution to the problem. Many times the part is sent back to the supplier for a detailed analysis to get a better understanding of what is required to address the issue.

Parts that don't meet the criteria for the Engineering, supplier or plant category are placed in the dealer category. Parts in this category are usually there for the following reasons:

- Dealership returned incorrect or incomplete parts for the repair claimed.

- Insufficient information on the Repair Order (or lack of supporting information or documentation) to perform analysis or justify the replacement

- Dealership didn't follow the published diagnostics, bulletins and/or PIs and unnecessarily replaced the part or replaced more parts than they should have.

The dealer category is the responsibility of the Brand Quality Manager. It's our job to make certain no parts end up in the dealer category without a valid reason. The Brand Quality Manager is the only person in the parts review who can issue a Feedback Report (which usually results in a debit to the dealer). Before that happens, many questions are asked, published service procedures are checked for accuracy and completeness, TAC cases are  reviewed, vehicle service history is reviewed in GMVIS, etc.

We always decide in the dealer's favor if there is any gray area. If the part replacement falls into a gray area, either no Feedback Report is issued, or an Info Only Feedback Report is issued, which provides information to the GM DVM (Warranty Manager in Canada) to review with the dealership. An Info Only Feedback may result in a dealer debit after the DVM review. In the reviews, it is Brand Quality's job to act on behalf of the dealer. We work hard to ensure that only those parts that are clearly the result of a dealer issue end up as a Feedback Report. From a product quality perspective, we'd rather have no parts that end up in the dealer category because they provide no value to product improvement.

Because Repair Order information is so critical to analyzing product issues, the more detail the better. Use the following guidelines to help us expedite the review process, identify issues faster and reduce the likelihood of receiving a dealer debit:

- When tagging parts, tag in areas that don't damage the part being sent back (example - don't wrap a metal tag wire around rubber wiper blade inserts).

- Return the correct/requested part (return all parts related to the labor operation paid on the warranty claim).

- Properly package and protect all parts returned so they are not damaged when received at the WPC.

- Do not return a similar part or a new part, and do not remove pieces from the part sent back.

- Do not replace the entire assembly when only a component of the assembly needs to be replaced.

- Clearly mark or circle the area of concern on the part with a paint pen (i.e. area of defect, leak, etc.) - do not assume WPC will see what you are seeing.

- Thorough repair order documentation is a must:

-- Customer complaint (provide accurate and detailed information)

--- Any characteristics of the fault that were observed

--- Conditions observed when the fault occured (operating conditions, weather, etc.)

-- List any/all DTCs

-- Proper diagnosis (Bulletins, TAC PIs, SI numbers followed)

-- Scan tool data print out, snapshot, diagnostic worksheets (be sure to return all substantiating service documents with the RO returned with the part)

-- TAC case number (document any other RSE/DVM interface)

-- Use proper labor operation

- Be sure the parts department includes a copy of the RO with technician comments (hard copy of RO copied front and back) along with all related service documentation with each part return.

- Submit warranty claims only on warrantable items (parts damaged by customer or dealer are not warranted).

- Transportation claims should be claimed as a transportation damage claim, not warranty.

Additionally, you should also include any information that provides the reason why the component was replaced. Here are a few examples:

- Any customer or local issue that resulted in a repair that may not be supported by GM service information.

- An assembly was replaced instead of the component indicated by service procedure. If the component was not available, note it on the RO.

- The service procedures were inaccurate and resulted in incorrectly replacing a part that could not be returned to the parts department.

- A part was damaged while following service procedures to access the component with the fault.

In these last two cases, you should submit SI feedback PTR (Problem Tracking Record), and indicate it on the RO. The reviewers will check service information, bulletins and PIs to make certain they are accurate.

TIP: Be sure to review this article with service manager, warranty administrator and parts manager.

In conclusion, this is just one of the many areas in which GM is taking a hard look at the business and asking "How can we improve?" We are also asking all our partners to do the same, which helps achieve the main goal -- to engineer, process and build the highest quality products possible.

- Thanks to Ray Romeo

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This page contains a single entry by Blog Post published on June 1, 2009 3:00 PM.

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