All quality engineers and compliance managers face the need to correct some part of their process or quality management system from time to time.
Given that many businesses regardless of their industry, face increased regulatory pressures, internal quality initiatives that require companies to take a more proactive and automated approach to their corrective and preventive action processes.
This might come about because of an unforeseen fault that has developed in a product or component that, consequently, requires a form of remedial action to put right.
As well as taking corrective measures, possibly as a result of a product recall. It is imperative that corrective action is taken with regard to currently manufactured products.
This is where an effective corrective action plan can be so effective in managing ongoing quality assurance. What is it and how do you go about implementing one?
What is an action plan for corrective procedures?
Corrective action examples include things like applying modifications to existing work processes, perhaps strengthening a weakened component on the production line.
Other corrective action examples include better in-house testing before products are shipped to their customers or a list of remedial actions for whatever has gone wrong during construction project.
When quality processes have been found to be not up to scratch in the past – usually because of an upturn in warranty returns, product failures or non-conformance – a corrective action report will be put together by members of the quality control team.
This is to ensure that future failings are minimised or, ideally, gone away completely.
What should be included when thinking about corrective action planning?
Any plan to correct a quality issue should not be rolled out without a thorough understanding of the root causes of the failures in question.
Without collecting data on non-conformance reporting and generating a non-conformance log, it is impossible to know whether the corrective action procedure scope you come up with will adequately address all of the quality issues.
In the absence of the correct sort of non-conformance reporting, you may fix one problem but not address another one, thereby putting your quality processes out of kilter.
Indeed, your QHSE workflows may end up being interrupted, slowing the entire process down unless the root cause of corrective action has really be bottomed out.
How Corrective Action and Preventive Action (CAPA) can help
When it comes to corrective and preventive action, a CAPA system can be indispensable.
Only by a systematic approach that investigates faults properly across the entire scope of your design, manufacturing processes or on-site operations you will be able to come up with a corrective action plan that truly works.
You can think of a CAPA system as one that diagnoses faults as well as delivering a corrective action procedure for each of them it finds.
Of course, it is possible to go about this work in a number of ways.
Many quality control professionals will be aware that CAPA usually requires expertise drawn from a wide range of individuals working within an organisation to come up with corrective and preventive action that really works.
Some rely on spreadsheets to collate the relevant inputs from various departments, some focusing on QHSE workflows, others on incident reporting guidelines and other still on corrective action procedures for different situations.
A workflow software can simplify the entire approach to CAPA quality, can reduce the administrative burden by transforming the processes into digital forms and workflows.
The truth of the matter is, that such approaches to CAPA can become overly complex and may be susceptible to quality issues in their own right.
To put it simply, such an approach can be needlessly hard to manage. However, a digital business workflow software can simplify the entire approach to CAPA quality, can reduce the administrative burden by transforming the processes into digital workflows.
What does it do and what advantages will such workflow software offer your quality assurance teams?
Continuous Improvement in CAPA Quality
In order to come up with a corrective action process for each of your production failures or non-conformities on site, you need to collate large amounts of data.
Commonly, the larger an organisation is and the more product lines it has, the more onerous such a task becomes.
Without great accuracy in your quality process management, action plans may even make your quality issues worse, not better.
That is why investing in a workflow software system that is dedicated to assisting in process management is so useful.
Make the improvements last
By integrating your incident reporting workflows into a software platform that also helps you to engineer a suitable corrective action process, you start to tie up all of the contributing factors.
Reduce risks and admin tasks
Of course, using a paperless incident reporting workflow system helps everybody involved to share their knowledge in the most up-to-date manner.
Defects and faults can be tracked with the help of software which not only highlights particular areas of processes, but could also help to audit why and when such faults occur.
For example, studying the visualisations available in such a digital platform may mean that you alter your incident reporting guidelines so that you can more quickly establish which suppliers’ components have been used in a product that has failed, potentially allowing you to identify the root cause of the problem.
Collaborate effectively with all your office and on-site teams
By investing in such a software platform, your entire organisation – not just your quality control department – can place itself on a footing for continuous improvement. Assign tasks and controls and track them using an easy workflow.
For example, it would allow technical sales representatives in the field, not just quality engineers at your head office, to input into the incident reporting workflow with your customer’s views also being taken into consideration, something that a conventional CAPA system simply cannot cope with.
This means that the corrective action procedure scope would be necessarily widened to take more fully into consideration how and when fixes might be conducted, whether in the field or back at your production facility.
Reliable reporting and tracking
In addition, digital business process automation software that offers quality management also allows you to inspect quality performance analytics.
You can use this to monitor in a fully audited way under what production conditions your system failings occur, for example, which production operatives tend to see the most returns.
Indeed, any quality management software worthy of the name should also be able to integrate fully with your back-end systems to help maintain and improve quality.
As such, establishing the root cause of corrective action is only one part of what digital quality management software offers.
It can lead to greater efficiencies not just with your in-house quality processes but drive-up customer satisfaction and provide improved efficiency in production processes as you learn more and more about your potential issues.
In other words, by automating your core business processes and by updating your document management activities, you can promote collaborative working processes among teams and improve management decision-making.
Further Reasons to Invest In Quality Workflow Software
Given that all manufacturers regardless of their industry – and many businesses that provide services to their customers, too – face increased regulatory pressures, internal quality initiatives are only more pressing, it requires companies to take a more proactive and automated approach to their corrective and preventive action processes.
If you are not investing in software that enables this to function accurately and in a timely manner, then you are in danger of losing out to competitors.
Today’s technology tools are intuitive and can work seamlessly with your existing processes without demanding big investments.
Furthermore, quality software of this type can be integrated seamlessly with all of the other apps and software systems you are currently using.
Automating CAPA quality means being able to produce data for national, regional and global regulatory inspectors as well as those all-important ISO auditors.
Not only will deploying one reduce audit times and time spent on gathering your findings but it will decrease business risks by helping you to identify the right preventive action to take every time.
Kianda is a workflow automation platform that allows companies like yours to automate and streamline quality management processes via easily built online forms and workflows.
To discover how Kianda can help you start your free trial today!
Osvaldo Sousa – Digital process automation expert with almost two decades of experience in information technologies. He is the CEO/Co-founder of Kianda Technologies.