The Importance of the No-Fault-Found Rate, and Ways to Reduce It

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In our conversations with leading manufacturers, CaseBank has found that No-Fault-Found rates are a top concern for OEMs as well as service operations. Whenever a part has a No-Fault-Found, it means that 1) a service technician has wasted time  2) incurred more product costs by removing the wrong part, 3) the equipment problem may have been mis-diagnosed and 4) in the case of high-cost parts, the OEM has wasted time in putting the part through unnecessary diagnostic tests.

Business strategy consultant Joe Barkai recently published a blog post titled “Method to Reduce No Fault Found Rates” in which he noted the importance of No-Fault-Found (NFF) parts for service operations:

“NFF parts carry high direct and indirect costs, bloated inventory, excessive warranty claims and poor customer satisfaction. No wonder NFF is a closely watched service operation metric, and service organizations work hard to reduce the frequency of NFF parts.”

Barkai cites several scenarios that increase NFF, including this one: In the course of the repair activity, the technician replaced multiple parts. However only one was the actual root cause for the failure. This could be caused by suboptimal diagnostic methods and poor service information and training, but can also be encouraged or required, for example, when equipment uptime is more important than the cost of the repair (and of NFF parts.)

CaseBank’s troubleshooting technology addresses this problem by enabling service technicians to identify the root cause of equipment failure.  CaseBank SpotLight® is used by maintenance technicians and call centers to confirm equipment operating conditions, verify symptoms and isolate faults to quickly arrive at a specific repair procedure. Once a solution has been identified, SpotLight seamlessly moves the user from diagnosing the problem to viewing the information needed to make a repair, including maintenance manuals, service bulletins and parts catalogs. (This includes the OEM’s instructions enhanced with relevant field experience)

When armed with the right diagnosis and the right service and parts information, even novice service technicians can perform like experts.

Another factor, cited by Barkai: “Marginal design leads to “tolerance stacking” in which a part will cause a failure in some systems in the field but not on the test bench.”

CaseBank technology collects, analyzes and reports on equipment problems and experience in the field; this knowledge is captured and delivered not only to the field service team but also to customer support and product engineering. It tracks recurring failures/defects, across fleets and locations. With this repository of knowledge, product engineering can then re-design parts and systems to prevent repeat failures. CaseBank technology thereby enables product engineering to design products that eliminate recurring failures.

And Barkai cites this scenario: “The technician made incorrect diagnosis and the system appears to operate correctly, but is likely to fail again. This problem is often exacerbated by a marginal design, as described in the previous point.”

CaseBank helps technicians accurately and efficiently troubleshoot faults and diagnose equipment so that he or she can take the right corrective action the first time; this increases the first-time-fix rate.

Lastly, Barkai notes that one service operation found another way to reduce NFF; some technicians purposely “zapped’’ a component to make absolutely sure it was broken when it was sent back to the manufacturer for testing. Call this method “cover you’re a** by creating a fault instead of finding a fault.” Gaming the system is one way to reduce NFF, but there are better ways. Contact us if you would like to learn more about how our solutions provide accurate troubleshooting and defect trend analysis to reduce unnecessary removals that result in no fault found components.

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