Verifying the Effectiveness of Corrective Actions: Continuing The Discussion

Recently, we posted about using corrective actions to correct a defect and prevent its recurrence.  After starting this discussion thread, we’ve received questions about verifying the effectiveness of corrective actions.  To ensure that an organization’s corrective action system is effectively facilitating continual improvement, ISO 9001 and TL 9000 require that you verify the effectiveness of corrective actions before closing them.  Last week, we used the example of having a flat tire in a mall parking lot.  We covered that the defect was corrected when we fixed the tire, but that preventing the recurrence of the defect involved doing an analysis to determine why the tire went flat.

In our example, the analysis revealed there was a nail in the tire.  Further analysis revealed that there were many nails in the mall parking lot and preventing further occurrences would require letting management know that they needed to rid the lot of these nails.   How do we know that the corrective action (involving both correcting the defect and preventing further recurrence) was effective?   There are various ways to do this, but in this instance we might return to the lot and inspect to see if the nails had in fact been removed.  Therefore, inspection is one way to verify the effectiveness.  In other instances, we can review records or interview personnel.   If the effectiveness of the action cannot be verified it should be left open.  Once it can be verified it can be closed.

If you have any further questions regarding corrective actions, BIZPHYX consultants can assist you with specific problems in your quality management system.  Please visit our website or contact: bclancy@bizphyx.com.