Why do we ask for product returns when diagnosing a product problem?

Mark Klage - Trodat USA Regional Sales Manager


“All you need to do is go into the back, pull out Product X, and you will see what I mean.”

This is probably one of the most common responses we get when a product problem occurs and we ask for the item in question to be returned for evaluation. While pulling the same product for inspection sounds reasonable and much easier to do, there are a multitude of reasons why we ask for the product to be returned.

First, we need to see exactly what it is you are seeing, especially from a troubleshooting perspective. As we have said in a previous post, communication can be very difficult when discussing technical issues, especially over the phone. The troubleshooter may not fully understand what is being said to them due to a miscommunication. Seeing the issue firsthand will help them solve your problem by actually understanding exactly what is happening.

There could be a multitude of reasons why a problem exists. It could be as simple as the wrong die material was used, or the wrong ink was used during re-inking, or yes, it could easily be a product defect.

Furthermore, if the issue is indeed a product defect, we will need to provide samples to the manufacturing plant it came from to help make the necessary corrections or to at least provide an answer as to why something happened.

As a side note: If it is determined that the product is defective, we need as much information as possible on the history of that unit. If you are able to provide us when that specific unit was purchased, lot numbers off of the packaging, delivery dates, anything that will help us determine its origins would be of great help in correcting the issue.

Another reason it is important to have the defective product in hand has to do with the variety in which how stamps are finished. There are many variations in components that are added to our units to finish them, with some of these components not even supplied by Trodat. What may work in one process, might not work in another. These differences are not always obvious and it takes a trained eye to notice them. Without the actual sample we could only speculate on a possible solution. Speculation may not necessarily solve your problem and could actually result in an incorrect fix, exacerbation of the problem and wasted time.

Also, due to the remote nature of how we operate during these current times, it is important to remember that no one is working “in house” at our facilities to troubleshoot issues, so we do not always have access to our physical inventory. But, if a product defect is discovered, we are able to organize an inspection of our inventory and purge any product that is suspected as being defective.

Designer Paul Rand once said, “Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that's why it is so complicated.”

Like Paul Rand said, “design is simple, that’s why it’s so complicated”. Solving problems at the outset is never simple and is often more complex than it may initially seem. Investigating an issue properly takes time, diligence and an accurate understanding of what is actually occurring. This is why it is so important for us to see exactly what you’re seeing, and the best way to do that is to have the faulty product in our hands. That way, we end up with the desired outcome: the correct solution to the problem in the most time efficient manner possible.


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