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How can SAP Quality Notification help improve product quality?

SAP Quality Notification can help handle customer complaints for defective products, defective products produced in-house and defective materials supplied by a vendor. Here's a look at how it works.

SAP Quality Notification can alert you to product defects and take control of them.

Quality Notification is a subcomponent of the Quality Management module in SAP ECC in sales and distribution, production and procurement. Quality Notification provides a formal notification to record a customer's complaint for a defective product and helps take action on such issues. While Quality Notification can work independently in all three business areas, such as sales, production or procurement, the real strength is when these three business processes integrate together to share data and information -- thus, shedding light on the root cause of defect.

Here are the three SAP ERP components where Quality Notification plays a central role in managing material defects:

1. Quality Notification in SAP's Sales and Distribution component. This works when a customer calls, sends an email or simply visits the company's website to register a product complaint. There can also be a CRM portal that directly connects with SAP ECC to automatically create a quality notification as soon as the customer logs a complaint. The company's customer services representative not only creates a notification, but also assigns specific tasks and performs activities to handle the complaint. The tasks could be a visit from the company's quality inspector to the customer's location to assess the product's damage, for example, or it could be arranging an immediate replacement delivery of a defective product. Activities can be triggering an alert to find out the root cause of a product's defect and the number of customers affected. If the defect is big or serious enough, it is also possible to create a quality order to capture the cost of evaluating and fixing the defect in all affected products. In case of a manufacturing defect, the customer services representative automatically links Quality Notification to the production process.

2. Quality Notification in the SAP ERP Production Planning component. This works for defects found in products produced in-house. For this, Quality Notification not only acts as an integration point when a problem is first reported by customer, but also digs into the root cause of problem, such as a packing machine's misalignment, which is responsible for the product defect. Quality Notification can help to correct the problem before it moves forward to the next production step, thus preventing additional costs associated with the product's defect.

If the root cause analysis finds that product's defect was the vendor's fault, Quality Notification can automatically connect with the procurement process.

3. Quality Notification in SAP's ERP Materials Management component. This is for defective goods delivered by the vendor. Sometimes, the company relaxes the quality control for vendors who regularly supply good-quality material to cut time and costs associated with quality inspection by only inspecting a limited sample of delivered material. But what if a defective material reaches production and leads to a defective finished or semifinished product? Quality Notification in procurement ensures the vendor replaces the defective material. The notification also affects its vendor evaluation. Vendor evaluation is the process in which the company evaluates a vendor's performance for timely delivery, competitive pricing, adhering to a company's specified packing instructions and number of quality notifications raised for a specific vendor to denote defective materials supplied over a period of time.

Next Steps

How Quality Management can help manage quality specs

How Quality Certificates boost standards

Lower the costs of inspections

This was last published in September 2016

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