Internal and External Failures

Posted on October 28, 2009 by


Despite the best of efforts, some portion of products will be created with defects. The point in time that this defect is discovered determines whether it is an internal failure or an external failure. If the defective product is discovered while still in the control of the organization that created it, it is an internal failure. If the customer discovers that the product is defective, it is an external failure. So the type of failure refers to whether it is internal or external to the organization that made the product. Here is an example: Katy’s Cookie Factory accidentally made a batch of cookies with Plaster of Paris rather than flour. There was some construction work occurring in the building, and someone mistook the white powder for flour. If someone notices the problem before the cookies leave the factory, it is an internal failure. If the cookies are sold and it is the customer who discovers the hard, poor-tasting cookies, it is an external failure.