VDA FFA – introduction to field failure analysis

The vast majority of companies supplying components to the automotive industry must be aware that in addition to production dedicated directly to the customer’s production plants (0-km).

They are also often produced service parts that are directly related to automotive warranty management.

IATF requirement that refers to the above is point 10.2.5 “Warranty management systems”, which in addition to identifying definition of NTF -No Trouble Found informs about additional customer requirements in this area of activity.

In the case of german customers, such information is presented, among others, in the following documents:

  • VW Group: Customer Specific Requirements which can be found in IATF refereed to point 10.2.5, which directly relates to the implementation of NTF using the VDA FFA manual.
  • BMW: standard GS 95004 “Failure analysis – Part analysis of field complaints”
  • Daimler: MBN 10448 “Field Failure Analysis”

It is also worth remembering that the last two customers in the documents cited have relevant requirements which are informing the supplier about possibility of field returns process auditing. Such audit is performed directly in production plant by customer representatives. Therefore, acting preventively, it is worth considering the introduction of FFA audit as part of  process audit in addition to the requirement from the IATF.

During warranty issues discussion, we should not forget about the liability issue, which is defined after analyzing the root causes for a given warranty part. It is divided, among others, into the following areas:

  • Responsibility for design – for example in the VW group, where the organization is responsible for the project (co-design) the KVV factor will be between 10 to 90%. However, if the project is submitted for realization by the customer, the KVV is reduced to 20-30%. Of course, other configurations are also possible depending on the agreed contractual provisions between the parties.
  • Responsibility for the manufacturing process – 100% of the costs are incurred in this case by the organization when the defined root cause relates directly to the non-compliance assigned to the production process.
  • Responsibility for instructing – specifying whether in case of a problem from the warranty field (or directly reported by the manufacturing plant) was organized by organization in advance meeting with the customer. The purpose of this activity is to present and approve the way of parts handling in order to avoid their damage.

For example, holding wires from parts may cause plug disconnection and finally electrical fault in the car. Such requirement is in the MLA form at level 5. The point that should be discussed with the client in this area is recognized in section 5.4.1.

When organization should start to planning field failure analysis process?

The activity related to warranty parts analysis should be started in the pre-launch phase when carrying out MLA, which, depending on the defined risk in the project (A, B, C), is carried out by the client or organization. This requirement is defined in MLA level 4. The point that should be discussed with the client is defined in section 4.2.5 (there is also referred VDA FFA document as well).

However, in case of activity related to the escalation of the problem in the project, customer can perform an audit during pre-launch phase basing on process audit according to VDA 6.3 which will cover sections 2, 3 and 4. Why is this so important? Because in section 3 and 4 there are questions related to process planning for analysis of warranty returns and its implementation (points 3.4 and 4.7 respectively).

Another situation occurs when an internal production audit is carried out, which organization for current production should carry out 1/12 months. In this case, the question 7.4 will be assessed, which is equivalent to the questions from sections 6 and 7 of the FFA audit form.

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