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Business question for you CMers

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#41662

Business question for you CMers | 18 May, 2006

I can't believe this is the first time this has happened, but anyway.....

We have a turnkey job (customer provided only the bare boards) that included testing with their system. One board failed, and we found damage (a short deep gouge) that seems to at least penetrate the second layer of copper. The test results don't provide enough information to tie the damage to the failure, but don't eliminate the possibility either.

The customer had the board designed on contract and either can't or won't provide schematics for us to troubleshoot with. Not sure how much more troubleshooting we'd want to do anyway. They want us to start shotgunning parts, some of which are in the $10-$25 range (our cost).

There is silkscreen over the damage which indicates the damage was not produced by us.

Who is responsible for the assembly and material costs? Yes, that sort of thing would be nice to have covered in the verbage of a contract, but in lieu of that, what say you all?

My boss thinks we fullfilled our end of the deal (assemble and test), but I can see the other side as well in that it could be assumed that providing assembled, tested boards could mean that they all function.

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Chunks

#41664

Business question for you CMers | 18 May, 2006

Being a CM you have to jump through hoops for the customer. Our owner actually has a saying on his office wall that states that. It's true, you have to do what the customer says, even though you may feel they are wrong. My best advise on this is to get and keep everything documented and keep tabs on the price as well.

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#41665

Business question for you CMers | 18 May, 2006

Sounds like your company will need to make a "sound business decision."

Is this a contract that you guys really want to win? If yes, then Chunks is correct. Jump through hoops for this customer and "eat the cost" of rebuilding or repairing their board.

There are some customers who use you for quick turn-around prototypes. I had a customer like that once. "Here's some boards, here's some parts, some bulk, some reeled...now build it." These type of customers pay a premium...if the cost of repairing their "damaged" board is minimal compared to the markup, then again, eat the cost and do it..sounds like your "Strategic Customer Manager" dropped the ball on this one as well.

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#41669

Business question for you CMers | 18 May, 2006

Should have mentioned that since we don't really know for sure what's causing the failure (we just know that it fails, and that there is unrepairable (by us) damage to the board that was provided by the customer), and can't troubleshoot further, we consider it a total loss minus any high cost parts we can recover.

We'd gladly eat the cost of repairing the board if it was an option. Scrapping it is a little harder to swallow but yes, customer relations are the other side of the coin.

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Chunks

#41671

Business question for you CMers | 18 May, 2006

Can you send it out for repair. Best Electronics has helped us out in the past. I know they used to advertise here (see Earl?) in the past and can do some pretty cool stuff.

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RDR

#41672

Business question for you CMers | 18 May, 2006

When we rceive a PCB that has supplier damage we charge the PCB supplier for the board and material cost. We will give them the option of repair at their expense if they desire.

Russ

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#41673

Business question for you CMers | 18 May, 2006

In this case we're not the customer of the fabs, OUR customer is. So, our customer provided us with damaged material. However, we can't prove that the damage is the cause of the failure because no one has the expertise to troubleshoot the board adequately, including the customer that designed the test software.

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#41674

Business question for you CMers | 18 May, 2006

Don't really know if fixing the damage would even fix the board. The cut is deep, short, and narrow, like it was stabbed with an Exacto point. There is visible disruption to copper in the second layer but we can't tell if there is an open, a short, or just a nick. We'd have to cut it open to tell.

All we know for sure is that we can't find any visible defects on the board, there is damage, and it doesn't work. The vias are tented or I'd be stripping any large parts off to see if we have hidden shorts.

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#41675

Business question for you CMers | 18 May, 2006

Obviously you know the cost involved and what value the relationship is. I dont think there is an industry norm but here is pretty much our take on it:

If its turnkey and testing is included, we fix it or eat it. If the customer cant or wont provide schematics, just a test fixture, they fix it or eat it. (if they dont have a set of schematics-they should know the risk, if they dont want you to have them, they should know they will be doing the troubleshooting)

I would never in any case start "shotgun"ing parts. If your power supply is blowing the micro and you cant test your power supply, why put another micro in to get blown up? And since it did not fix the problem, you assume that both micro's are still good right? You may feel you have no choice but try this aproach but I would scrap every part that comes off that board if you cant fix it. That goes for trying to salvage parts as well, something is wrong.

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