Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F37

FIXED OPS JOURNAL

minutes with ...

"

We have some real
challenges. NHTSA requires
us to announce recalls to
the public in a certain time
frame. Sometimes we don't
even have the parts.

Jim Blenkarn,
senior manager,
systems quality improvement,
Nissan North America

How automakers respond to technical issues
can seem a mystery. Some problems can be addressed with a technical service bulletin and
redesigned parts, while others warrant a recall.
Nissan's Jim Blenkarn peels back the curtain.
On the recall process needing an overhaul
We have some real challenges. NHTSA requires us to announce recalls to the public in a
certain time frame. Sometimes we don't even
have the parts. It's embarrassing when a customer hears about it on the Internet and they
will not have received a notification letter.
Then they go to the dealer wanting to get
their vehicle fixed, and we don't have the part.
They might want a loaner car because they
don't feel safe in their vehicle. It's a mess.
On using a technical service bulletin to replace faulty parts instead of a recall
Once the TSB is authored and ready to go, it
is held until the parts are in stock. The problem is, NHTSA announces a recall; there is a
cadence now, but it is tight, and you don't get
a lot of extra time to get parts.
As a practical matter, most of our suppliers
work with just-in-time delivery. Now, all of a
sudden, you come out and say: "We need
5,000 more widgets to satisfy this action we
are going to take." They don't have that production capacity in their pocket. Even for the
best suppliers, that's a 16-week delivery time
frame, to do production reallocation and get
whatever parts and materials they need.
There's engineering risk when you do that
because a supplier goes out of process mode
and into ramp-up mode. They are trying to
produce parts as fast as they can. Now you are
out of process, and errors could be made.
On how bulletins are generated
It isn't so much by incident as by how a repair is going to be made. There's an issue, and
there's a countermeasure. Do we need to go
through this flow chart to determine if it is going to be reported?

"

5

Interview by Richard Truett

applied judiciously. A huge incident rate for
us is 10 percent. That's what in field quality we
would consider a very large rate, even though
90 percent will never have the incident.

A&M PORTRAITS

There is only going to be a TSB if we have a
way to fix it and it is not something techs are
already doing. Many repairs do not have a TSB
because techs are replacing the correct part.
It's just that the part they are replacing has
some issue and the new part fixes it.
On how quality is improved by having suppliers' engineers at Nissan's Field Quality
Center examine parts that are returned under warranty
Some are here full time; some are part time.
They are expected to collect their parts and investigate them and do reports and work directly with the [Nissan] engineer who is assigned to their part.
On how Nissan monitors quality after a vehicle is launched
For the first six months, sometimes longer,
of every new product, we have a team that focuses strictly on the product and examines
every claim that comes in for that vehicle
model. Our engineers have to target reporting
something if it is a 0.5 incident rate. That's our
threshold.
When you do a service action, you just made
that a 100 percent incident rate. It has to be

On the Takata airbag inflator recall
That's a latent durability issue that is happening in a unique environment in high-humidity
locations. It isn't even across the country. Certainly, Takata didn't do that maliciously.
It speaks to using the best engineering data
you have. That's all you can really do, to be
honest. It is certainly going to change the way
we do durability testing. Obviously, we're going to do more humidity testing and those
kinds of things.
On how new technology in electric vehicles
and autonomous cars will affect technical
service bulletins, customer service actions
and recalls
The more wear items you remove, that reduces the onus on the customer to maintain
those items. But as technology increases, I am
not sure there will be fewer [issues]. Just the
type and style of issues are different.
Chasing software bugs can be frustrating.
Sometimes, it is the input you don't expect
that is difficult - [it] happens only in unique
circumstances, only at certain times, only in
ambient conditions. There are lots of things
that can happen that can make it difficult for
an engineer to identify.
On vehicle quality in general
As a consumer product, the automobile has
fewer incident rates than just about anything
else we can talk about. There are not many
consumer products that live in a harsher environment. 

APRIL 2018

PAGE 37



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018

Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - Intro
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F1
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F2
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F4
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F5
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F6
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F7
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F8
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F9
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F10
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F11
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F12
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F13
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F14
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F15
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F16
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F17
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F18
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F19
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F20
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F21
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F22
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F23
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F24
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F25
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F26
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F27
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F28
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F29
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F30
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F31
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F32
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F33
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F34
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F35
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F36
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F37
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F38
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F39
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F40
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F41
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F42
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F43
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F44
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