Warranty management programs can be a thing of beauty — an efficient, effective contributor to customer satisfaction and your company’s profitability. Or, warranty management can be a deep, ugly pit filled with slow or incomplete fixes, expensive mistakes, and unhappy customers.
Here are three signs your warranty management program needs an overhaul, along with suggestions for improving this area of your global service supply chain.
Sign #1: Replacement parts are not being delivered per standards set by the service level agreement (SLA)
If your company or your service partner consistently misses the delivery and repair times outlined in your SLA, it’s time to take a close look at your warranty management program. You can improve the issue with these steps:
- Make sure your forward stocking locations (FSLs) are mapped correctly to best service your install base using supply chain modeling.
- Maintain accurate inventory data. Think that’s not possible? Learn more about how a specialized warehouse management system can give you visibility throughout your service supply chain.
- Make sure warehouse operations are optimized to support your capability to meet 2-hour, 4-hour, and next business day (NBD) deliveries.
Sign #2: You hear about service failures from your customers rather than your warranty management team.
Regardless of whether your warranty team is in-house or an external partner, you want to hear about warranty issues from your own squad rather than being blindsided by unhappy customers. This helps your company resolve issues more quickly — before those issues become apparent to the end-users. To improve communication with your warranty team, you should:
- Make sure you’re monitoring orders from end to end. If you’re not already doing this, establish a process to consistently follow up with customers within 24 hours after parts and service delivery.
- Ask your warranty team to communicate service delivery failures up the chain of command as they happen. This means you need to create an environment where they feel comfortable coming to you with issues. It’s always better to find out the team didn’t meet the SLA from someone in-house rather than from the customer.
- Boost communication between your warranty service and engineering teams (and any other relevant departments) by scheduling regular cross-functional meetings to discuss what’s behind recurrent repairs and other issues. Steady communication between these departments can lead to quicker identification and resolution of common issues and even contribute to new product ideas. Here’s a real-world example of what we’re talking about.
Sign #3: You’ve got international orders stuck in customs.
Nothing can delay service repairs and warranty management quite like necessary parts getting stuck in customs. If this bureaucratic nightmare is normal for your company, here are a few suggestions to resolve the issue:
- Create a company manual that outlines the specific rules, regulations and processes for importing and exporting with each country where you need to have product. Details should also include what documentation is necessary and contact information (telephone numbers and emails) of in-country experts and agencies.
- Don’t wait for problems to occur. Proactively manage local providers for importer of record (IOR) and exporter of record (EOR) services by auditing all forms and specs to prevent unnecessary delays.
- Hire an auditor to verify that your internal team or your warranty partner is in compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
By tightening oversight of your warranty program and repair deliveries, you gain significant insights into customer needs. This knowledge, in turn, can propel future product development, improved engineering, and customer satisfaction.
If your warranty management program isn’t getting the results you know your company needs, Flash Global can help. Our after-sales methodologies support some of the biggest high-tech customers in the world. Contact us today to learn how our solutions can improve your warranty metrics.