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Newly established customer satisfaction teams address perceived quality issues and the most frequently occurring warranty repairs.

Before a quality complaint could be passed from department to department, now 18 teams bring representatives from manufacturing, engineering, supplier relations and customer advocates around one table during regular meetings.

"All the sudden these guys that were natural enemies now don't care (who caused the problem) because they all have accountability to solve the problem," Betts said.

The teams are organized not by model, but by systems, such as interior, brakes and heating/cooling. Some 250 employees are dedicated only to these teams, whereas before quality oversight was only part of a larger job for many in the company.

"We have a clearer, simpler definition of what quality is," said Brian Lazarus, the customer satisfaction team leader for interiors. The cross-functional teams "improve communication ... and allow for much faster decisions."

(Nitro Issue?)

For example, Lazarus' team found repeated warranty claims for a dashboard panel that popped out of place. It was found that two brackets were frequently broken when the panel was installed at the plant. To address the issue, the team immediately implemented a new process to install the panel, but then also ordered engineering changes to strengthen the brackets, which made the panel easier to install.

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