Corrective Action

Corrective Action Workflows and Tracking

ISO management system standards require corrective action to address nonconformances discovered from audits or in other ways Including:
  • Safety Incidents
  • Customer Complaints
  • Interested Party Concerns
  • Unplanned Releases (Chemical Spills or other emergencies)
  • Product Defects
  • Supplier Quality Issues
  • Employee Concerns
Corrective actions processes need two fundamental components.  These are:
  • A systematic workflow process for performing CA that clearly describe who does what, when.
  • A way to keep track of progress as the CA moves from discovery through closure.

Corrective Action Workflows

Corrective action workflows us approval-gates and a team approach to accomplish the improvement. Each team member plays a role in the corrective action workflow:
  • Internal Auditors
  • Team Leaders
  • Assignee
Roles in the corrective action process are illustrated in the following play-script

Corrective Action Process Plays Script

Team Member - Who Does What
Auditor Makes a finding during an audit and reports it
Team Leader Creates and assigns a CA task
Assignee Identifies a quick fix (correction) to if appropriate
Assignee Investigates the root cause of the problem
Assignee Identifies a potential corrective action that will prevent recurrence of the nonconformity
Team Leader Reviews and if appropriate approves the correction, cause analysis and the corrective action.
Assignee Performs the proposed corrective action and reports to the task initiator when complete
Team Leader Assigns to an auditor  for verification
Auditor Verifies the correction and the corrective action have been implemented and are effective
Team Leader Reviews the verification evidence and close the corrective action as appropriate

Tracking Corrective Action

Its easy to lose track of corrective actions without an organized system to determine the status of completion. The completion statues for corrective actions are as follows:
  • Stage 1 – New
  • Stage 2 – Investigate
  • Stage 3 – Perform
  • Stage 4 – Verify
  • Stage 5 - Close
NA effective corrective action tracking process uses an approval-gate approach . This process requires that some form of peer review occur before a CA can be moved from one stage to the next. CA process that do not have this approval process built in will experience problems such as:
  • Not investigating the problem cause
  • Identifying inappropriate corrective actions that do not solve the problem
  • Losing track of the CA (fall between the chairs)
  • Increasing risk by not addressing known problems in a timely fashion
The CA tracking system should also have the following features to optimize the organizations ability to monitor CA progress:
  • Ability to control who approves a CA to move to the next stage of completion. These can also be thought of a permissions granted to types of uses of the CA tracking system
  • A way to notify team members (email or other) when something changes with the CA stage status.
  • A way to search, sort and filter the CAs to quickly check for one or a group of CAs
  • A dashboard and report feature to help summarize CA performance and report to leadership.
An effective CA process including CA tracking is a powerful tool and essential to any effective management system. Without it, an organization is unlikely to realize a return on their management system investment.

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