Corrective and Preventive Actions: Wrap Up

For the past few weeks we have been discussing the keys to an effective corrective action system including the three elements of every corrective action: correcting the defect, analyzing why the defect occurred (a.k.a. root cause analysis) and preventing future recurrences of the defect.  Let’s wrap up this topic thread by discussing another frequently asked question.  Should I close a corrective action first or verify, then close? You can close the corrective action when you fix the defect, thus meeting a timely interval for taking action to fix that particular defect.  However, it remains to be seen whether the root cause has been found and solved.  The analysis of the defect’s root cause and preventing recurrence may take longer, so don’t log verification of the corrective action until you are sure your action plan has been effective.

Let’s go back to our original example of the flat tire.  Recall that we had a flat tire (defect) and an analysis found the root cause to be the mall parking lot was full of nails.  Our analysis led us to contact mall management to ensure that the root cause was cleaned up.  Our corrective action was closed when the defect was fixed.  However, we aren’t going to log it as verified until we have confirmed that the root cause has been eliminated, i.e. there are no nails in the lot.  We can inspect the lot, we can hire a third party to inspect and report, or we can contact management to see if they have removed the nails.  Any of these are OK, but in this instance inspection is probably the best verification.

Why do all this? We don’t want to get back in the car and have a flat tire again if we can avoid it.  Again, one of the key elements of an effective corrective action system is not just correcting things after they happen, but preventing them from happening again when we already know about them!  This quality management topic was presented by Bob Clancy, SVP of BIZPHYX.   For further information, please contact him directly: bclancy@bizphyx.com