What is Complaint management / 8D-Reports?

Complaint management includes all systematic measures taken by the company in the event of customer complaints and grievances in connection with the services provided by the company or its intermediaries. Complaint management is part of quality management. Therefore, it regulates short- and long-term methods of handling complaints, for which a team of complaint experts is formed in the first phase of their examination.


An 8D report is a document that is exchanged between supplier and customer (but also internally) as part of quality management in the event of a complaint. An 8D report is thus part of the complaint management and serves the quality assurance at the supplier. 8D stands for the eight mandatory disciplines or process steps that are required in the processing of a complaint in order to overcome the underlying problem.

The eight disciplines are described as follows:

D1 – Assembling a team for problem solving

Team participants should have sufficient process and product knowledge. Furthermore, they should be willing to cooperate and be equipped with the indispensable knowledge and skills to analyze the problem for its causes, initiate corrective measures and verify their effectiveness.

D2 – Problem description

The problem should be defined as precisely as possible, identifying and quantifying the core of the problem.

D3 – Determine immediate measures

Immediate measures serve to limit the damage, to ensure the ability to deliver at least for the time being and to prevent the additional spread of the problem until a permanent solution is found (e.g. segregation with the aid of sorting inspection or 100% inspection of material suspected of being faulty).

D4 – Determine cause(s) of error

Causes of failure are searched for and the most likely root cause(s) are identified and proven using experiments, tests, and comparisons.

To ensure that consistent errors do not recur in the long term, the root cause analysis must look beyond the technological cause to the organizational level. For this purpose, an orientation towards the three areas “Why did the error occur?”, “Why was the error not detected?” and “Why was the error not avoided?” is recommended.

Depending on the problem, various methods can be used in D4 to determine the cause, such as the 5-Why method or the Ishikawa diagram.

D5 – Planning shutdown measures

Measures are defined that can eliminate the root causes. The optimal measure(s) will be selected, and tests will prove that the problem can be solved effectively and equally efficiently, and that there will be no undesirable side effects. When defining measures, the focus is on error prevention and not on error detection.

D6 – Introduction of the shutdown measures

The corrective actions can affect process parameters, product specifications and other specification documents, as well as test methods and employee qualifications. After successful preamble of the stop measure(s), the immediate measure(s) will be cancelled.

For the automotive industry, it is determined that only process-improving measures are permissible as shutdown measures in the sense of the 8D process. Personnel actions such as admonitions, training, or education are not considered process improvement.

D7 – Prevent error repetition

Preventive measures must be taken to ensure that the same or similar errors do not occur in the future. The effectiveness of the measures taken is monitored – e.g. by increasing the test severity – over an appropriate period of time. Producers of articles for the automotive and aviation industries are required to assess and minimize newly identified hazardous situations in the course of root cause identification in the development and manufacturing process according to the FMEA method – failure mode and effects analysis. The quality management system with its established procedures and controls may also need to be adapted to innovative requirements.

D8 – Appreciating the team performance

The joint effort is appreciated and the experience is shared.

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