Within most engineering development processes, product testing and validation is an integral part of the product development process.
All prototype / engineering development samples are tested. And all failures are handed over to product engineering with failure reports, which includes test data documented in various forms (paper, word documents, excel tables, etc). The product development team then gets 1-2 weeks to perform root cause analysis and develop corrective action before the product goes into production.
The current root cause analysis / corrective action process that I'm working with can be characterized at best as chaotic, brute force, or uncoordinated. Needless to say, some product comes back as warranty returns or field returns. We'd like to drive the return rate down.
The business conditions, competition, and resource levels don’t permit the luxury of additional time for root cause analysis and proper (the way I prefer) corrective action. We do understand there are areas in the engineering development process that can be improved, and plans are underway to implement these improvements. Currently, we are following waterfall project management methodology. And it's worth noting that I am responsible for the electrical engineering component only.
Question: What is an engineering product develop process strategy that will help bring order to the current chaotic, brute force, uncoordinated root cause analysis and corrective action processes?
We currently have a few suggestions on the table, but would like to probe the community for additional insight.