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Is cold chain breakdown a valid customer complaint?

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Posted 08 June 2021 - 05:01 AM

Hi all, currently we are reviewing the customer complaint procedure in our plant. For those complaint that related to cold chain breakdown either customer or distributor side, is that an valid complaint? For what reason the complaint could be categorized under invalid complaint? 



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Posted 08 June 2021 - 10:06 AM

If the complaint is the result of the actions of your customers, or your customers' customers, rather than an inherent problem with the product then I'd suggest that this isn't a valid complaint - how would you undertake corrective action to address something that someone else is doing wrong?

I've generally used that approach as one of the reasons for classifying a complaint as invalid, but it's difficult to give an exhaustive list - aside from someone doing something wrong/stupid that is outside of your control, there are potentially fake/fraudulent complaints, potentially complaints where a product is in spec but the customer didn't bother to look at the spec before buying it, or used it wrong, etc etc. Really you'll need to treat each complaint as genuine initially, and then assess it through your complaint recording and investigation process to decide on its legitimacy.

Ryan M.

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Posted 08 June 2021 - 08:10 PM

Yup, what pHfruit said.  Assess each complaint individually and ask, "Could you have prevented it?"  If it is out of your control then it is not a valid complaint.  If you have control or influence over the cold chain such as choosing your distributors then you do have some leverage in preventing the complaint.


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Posted 14 October 2021 - 09:31 AM

If the material is in the custody of your customer at the point of break-down (i.e. the material belongs to them, has been delivered to them, and is under their control), then it's the customer's responsibility - provided you informed them of the required storage and handling conditions.


If you manufacture and distribute material to a customer via a logistics partner, it comes down to whether is was your company or your customer that engaged the services of that distributor.


If your QMS has approved a storage/distribution service provider, and the use of that storage/distribution service provider results in a customer complaint, then your QMS must sustain that complaint and initiate an investigation with appropriate responsive actions. Those actions might include a performance review for the storage/distribution service provider or the delisting of that service provider. 


Put another way, if I were in the position of the customer and received material manufactured by your company that had been subject to temperature abuse, I wouldn't accept any suggestion of my complaint being classified as 'invalid' - regardless of whether the temperature abuse occurred at the manufacture site or while under the control of the distribution company.

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