Using Corrective Actions For Improvement

This week we are continuing the discussion of corrective actions with a focus on improvement.  In our previous posts we have provided tips on the elements of a formal corrective action process and why these are important.  You may recall that a corrective action must correct a defect or issue, and a corrective action plan must follow to prevent the recurrence of the root cause of the defect.  Why is it important to formalize the corrective action process?

The recording and formal reporting of corrective actions helps to change the way members of your organization think about and deal with product and service defects.  In short, a formal reporting process spreads the knowledge about a quality issue or defect to management and to others who may not otherwise have known about it.  We thereby create a culture of awareness and prevention.

Think of it this way.  In a world without a formal quality culture, an employee or customer finds a problem and might send an email or call someone to report the problem.  Action may or may not happen and nobody follows up to ensure correction.  When an organization uses a Quality Management System the same initial report occurs by email or phone, but a corrective action would also be completed a and entered in to a tracking system.  The corrective action would be monitored by management and the resulting “fix” would be communicated formally to other employees. This ensures that the defect and its future prevention are widely known among employees.  A best practice might be to communicate these in a quality bulletin, or on a quality Web site.  If you need assistance in implementing any of these programs or steps, please contact