Five Things to Know About Return Materials Authorization

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Return Materials Authorization (RMA) in Electronics Manufacturing

As any good project manager knows, things can sometimes stray from the plan. There’s a possibility for mistakes even when you’ve done everything exactly right. That’s why it’s important to have a contingency plan in place for such an occasion—so project managers can know exactly what to expect and adjust schedules accordingly.

This is the benefit of a return materials authorization, also known as an RMA. It’s an agreement between the manufacturer and the customer that if there is an issue with product or part upon receival, it can be returned and corrected. Although each manufacturer handles an RMA a bit different, there are a few things to keep in mind as you consider which electronics manufacturer to work with.

1. An RMA is a safety net for the customer

An RMA is a protection for the customer, provided by the manufacturer so in the case that a product or part they’ve ordered doesn’t meet their original specifications or something happens in shipping, they can have the issue resolved quickly and conveniently. Customers can feel secure knowing that should a part or product not meet its original specifications, the issue can be resolved for no additional cost. At ACDi, we’re proud of our less than 0.5% RMA return rate, which gives our customers confidence in our accuracy and expertise.

2. It begins with an initial request

You’ve spent time developing the specifications of the part you need. You’ve worked closely with the manufacturer to ensure it will work for you. You’ve placed your order, patiently waited and received it, only to discover something is just a bit off from your specifications. Perhaps a crucial hole is a few millimeters off-center, or something is just not the right size. With ACDi, you’ll have 120 days for turnkey builds or 60 days for consignment builds to let us know and put in an initial request for a RMA. As with most manufacturers, this step includes submitting documentation of the error, whether it’s a photo, video, or other form of proof.

3. RMA allows the customer to return the parts or product

After a customer has sent an initial request, the manufacturer will review the evidence and make a preliminary determination about whether the error is the fault of the manufacturer or a potential user error. If it’s determined that the error is the fault of the manufacturer, meaning it doesn’t fit the initial specifications agreed upon, the manufacturer will issue a RMA, which allows the customer to return the unusable parts or products.

4. An additional inspection is conducted when the manufacturer receives the parts

When the manufacturer receives the incorrect parts or products, they will conduct an additional inspection to confirm the customer’s report. If it is confirmed that the error is the fault of the manufacturer, they will then determine what action will be taken to correct it.

5. The issue will be resolved by a fix, replacement or refund

Once the manufacturer has confirmed that the mistake was on their part, they will work to develop a solution. Often times, this involves fixing the original parts. Other times, it is more cost-effective or time-effective to create new parts or products. In some instances, a refund is given. The ultimate goal is to ensure the satisfaction of the customer.

As you search for an electronics manufacturer to work with, be sure to ask about their specific Return Materials Authorization policies and timelines. To learn more about how ACDi builds strong working relationships with our customers, give us a call at 301-620-0900, or contact us.

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