Defective Materials Software Slashes Returned Products Processing Time
Trackware Inc. QSTracker
- Allows network or single-user access with password protection at different levels
- Minimizes input requirements with pre-designed report formatting
- Automatically updates reports to indicate that document changes have been made
Trackware Inc. QSTracker
For Trazar Co., which makes components vital to semiconductor manufacturing, processing products
returned by customers for refurbishment or repair as quickly and efficiently as possible is critical. Trazar, based in Santa Clara,
California, is one of the world's leading suppliers of automatic impedance matching units (AMUs), which ignite the plasma used to etch silicon wafers.
"Our customers depend on Trazar AMUs to keep production going and yields high," says Reynold A. Martinez, COO of Trazar. "When customers call to ask
about customer-returned products, we must be able to tell them exactly what's being done and how long it will take. Trackware Inc.'s QSTracker Corrective
Action System makes it easy for us to give our customers immediate, accurate answers on the status of their AMUs."
Before using the QSTracker Corrective Action System Module, Trazar employees manually recorded customer-returned products in a logbook. Handwritten routing
slips followed the product through receiving, production, testing and finally out to shipping. The entire process sometimes took up to two weeks, during which
routing slips sometimes got lost and logbooks were smudged.
"We used to have production bottlenecks," recalls Martinez. "Handwritten log
entries were sometimes illegible and incomplete. When a customer called, someone had to physically walk through the factory looking for the unit in question. This
was inconvenient for our customers and inefficient for us. After installing the QSTracker Corrective Action System Module, we reduced the time it takes to
follow up on customer-returned products calls by 90 percent and significantly improved the administration of the repair and refurbishment process. Plus,
Trackware's software application has improved customer satisfaction because we can answer customer-returned products status questions immediately. Trackware
Inc.'s software has helped us earn a reputation as an efficient company that responds to customer needs."
The Defective Material and Corrective Action system is a two-part relational database application. It reports, in separate sections, defective material found at
three primary locations: receiving inspection, in-process inspection and customer return material authorization. The two modules are linked so that a corrective action
request (CAR) can be launched automatically from any of the Defective Material modules, but the user maintains control over the incident's status and progress
within each module with a full range of predefined reporting functions. Reports can be printed as designed or can be modified by finding and sorting for data subsets.
The modules are thoroughly integrated, enabling the user to monitor the status of CARs and defective material reports online; track ISO 9000 section problems;
monitor supplier, product, process, class, priority and effectiveness; review cause and preventive action statements; and link customer and supplier databases. Data
can also be exported to Microsoft Excel for additional reports and graphing.
Trazar installed the QSTracker application in its production, administration and
engineering departments so that the customer-returned products process is visible to everyone from the CEO on down. Trackware Inc. also helped Trazar design its
routing forms so that the product's status confirmation, serial and invoice numbers, plus any warranty and upgrade information, are easy to input and retrieve. Martinez
says that Trazar's employees mastered the software in just a few days.
In addition to defective material and corrective action modules, Trazar uses
QSTracker's Document Control module for controlling engineering documents and change orders. The Document Control module is also a dual-part application that
can both monitor document status and location and regulate the change-control process. Users can track and replace released documents at assigned workstations,
follow a document's change-activity history (including a "where used" list), generate automatically updated reports of change activity, insert graphics and text
files, and generate table of contents sheets for each document's location. Further, the system can maintain a related documents list that automatically updates all
related documents when one document is changed.
"We track the customer-returned products all the way to accounting and
invoicing," Martinez notes. "We initiate corrective action requests and our administrators sign off on them right on the computer. It's really a beautiful system.
In fact, we're even using it to help our customers track their own products."
The customer-returned products tracking process becomes especially important
for Trazar's customers concerned with compliance to ISO 9000 standards. Because Trackware's products were designed and developed by quality specialists,
the system adheres to ISO 9000 mandates and ensures full compliance with recognized methodologies.
"The semiconductor manufacturing and medical equipment industries are in a constant state of change," Martinez observes. "We have to be able to efficiently
upgrade our products to meet new specifications and track costs. Fortunately, Trackware's QSTracker applications help us do that, and support is only a phone call away."
Additionally, Trackware provides free demonstration copies of the database software packages at its Web site.