Learn about the meaning of corrective action, how to create a corrective action plan, and demonstrate a corrective action process that conforms with quality standards.
Published 31 Jul 2023
A corrective action plan is a documentation used in quality management that outlines a set of steps for addressing issues and gaps in business operations and processes that could negatively impact the business . It describes the approach for resolving an issue that interferes with reaching company goals. The corrective action plan should be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timebound) and includes timeframes, costs, and signatories.
A strong corrective action plan doesn’t depend on uncertain variables which could make the corrective action plan weak. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for Patient Safety’s root cause analysis, a weak corrective action plan depends on current workplace processes and employee training.
Examples of enforcing employee training and policies are:
Creating a corrective action plan can seem to be a daunting task at first, and the persons responsible could benefit from ideas about where to begin. Generally, there are 3 different ways you and your team can try to start developing a corrective action plan:
Another approach that can help you continue developing a corrective action plan is to go through corrective action identification activities. Training your teams to be able to correctly identify the need for a corrective action is a worthwhile endeavor that sets them up for success. Collaborate with your team in determining the root cause and the elements that need to be considered when developing the corrective action plan and implementing corrective action management, among other things.
Following the 4 Ws and 2Hs format can be helpful in crafting a more comprehensive corrective action plan. Consider asking these sample questions to facilitate a planning session with your team:
One of the quickest ways to help you get started with your corrective action plan is by using a template. A corrective action plan template is a useful tool that enables teams to easily document a course of action for a non-conformity. Take note that utilizing a template can jumpstart the creation of a corrective action plan, and it still needs to be finalized and reviewed.
While corrective actions come in many forms, they usually reflect in a Corrective and Preventive Action Report Form and a Corrective Action Request Form. Here are a couple of examples of the two most common types of corrective actions:
Corrective Action Examples: Corrective and Preventive Action Report, Corrective Action Request, and 8D Report
Here’s an example of corrective action (following the 4Ws and 2Hs).
7 seminars will be held for 30 minutes each to cover all shifts and personnel without adversely affecting staffing:
Here are a few other corrective action examples that specifically deals with workplace safety and business security:
Based on the given corrective action examples, here are some tips on how to create corrective action reports and the most basic information that should be captured by the reports:
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While both intend to address non-conformance, there are some differences between corrective and preventive action.
Corrective actions are implemented to identify, resolve, and prevent issues of quality non-conformity. In prior ISO 9001 standards, Corrective and Preventive Actions (also known as CAPA) were separate action plans that each had their own requirements. Summarized in a CAPA Report, they outline the plans on how to fix the existing problem immediately and how to prevent it in the future.
However, the latest ISO 9001 standards (ISO 9001:2015 Clause 10.2) eliminated the need for predefined procedures for preventive actions. Instead, it emphasized the importance of having a risk-based approach throughout the process, rather than “preventive actions” being done and documented separately.
In this simplified guide for quality managers, we present 5 steps on how to implement corrective actions that are compliant with ISO 9001:2015, with the help of a compliance software.
Not every issue warrants a corrective action. The purpose of issuing a corrective action plan is to identify and resolve problems that are systemic, something that endangers a company’s Quality Management System software.
Quality managers and their teams can choose an appropriate risk analysis technique to determine the severity of a non-conformity and decide if a corrective action is needed. The most frequently used approaches are FMEA and HAZOP. This is a good way to inculcate risk management right at the start of the process and help qualify the level of risk and impact an issue brings to the organization, product, and/or services.
Once a corrective action is deemed necessary, the quality team and process owners can collaborate and use an ISO 9001:2015 – compliant corrective action report template to document their plan’s progress.
Root-cause analysis (RCA) is a methodical approach in analyzing a problem and identifying the root causes to solve counterproductive issues or events. It is based on the belief that issues are best solved by eliminating the root cause/s, as opposed to merely addressing the apparent symptom. RCA is best used for issues that cannot be resolved quickly, are repetitive, and systemic.
ISO 9001:2015 highly recommends engaging cross-functional team members and leaders throughout the planning of corrective actions. Quality teams can encourage this by using a compliance software to facilitate collaboration, even when they’re in different locations.
The 5 Whys and/or 8 Disciplines of Problem-Solving (8D) approaches are good root-cause analysis techniques that can help them work together on crafting a good problem statement, identifying the root cause/s, and brainstorming on appropriate solutions to address non-conformance.
Identifying the root causes and their effect can help formulate the most appropriate corrective action/s. In a corrective action plan, there are two key actions: a “correction” recommendation to immediately eliminate a detected non-conformity and the corrective action itself.
Apart from the details about the non-conformity and the recommended corrective action, specific details should also be provided, such as implementation timeline, key people and signatories, and costs. Once finalized and reviewed, the digital corrective action plan can be shared to key people to standardize information.
Enhance leadership involvement and encourage them to communicate the change and the rationale behind it. Notify key people via the QMS software about their assigned tasks. Provide a communication channel where anyone can give regular feedback while the corrective action is being implemented. These all factor in and determine the success of a corrective action plan’s implementation.
IS0 9001:2015 requires organizations to review the effectiveness of corrective actions and update risk levels and possible opportunities. After the implementation, the process owners and quality team should wait a suitable amount of time and conduct follow-up reviews.
Additional fields in the digital corrective action plan are available so quality managers can input comments during the review. To document results, they can use QMS software features, such as attaching photos and notes, to provide clearer evidence on the effects of the implemented corrective action.
To implement corrective action plans that are compliant with ISO 9001:2015, quality managers can use a collaborative compliance software like SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) to manage their implementation — from root-cause analysis to review of effectiveness of corrective action plans.
Keeping track of corrective actions can be challenging and time-consuming, especially when paperwork can either easily get lost or hidden in filing cabinets. Try using the SafetyCulture corrective action software to help implement, document, and monitor risk-based corrective actions, on and off the field.
One look into SafetyCulture’s actions analytics, you can view to do, in progress, completed, and even can’t do actions efficiently. Date ranges are easily customizable, so you can look back and track your progress with ease. Corrective actions can also be viewed according to priority level and more. Strengthen your quality management system today—Book a demo or Sign-up for free!
The 3 elements of corrective action are as follows:
A corrective action should be issued when a problem or non-conformity has been identified and requires investigation and resolution. Some example situations when a corrective action is issued are:
The responsibility for implementing corrective actions will typically fall on the individuals or teams that are directly involved in the process or system where the problem was identified.
Yes, documenting corrective actions is crucial for ensuring traceability, accountability, and future reference. It plays a vital role in maintaining a comprehensive record of identified problems, the implemented solutions, and their respective outcomes.
A corrective action request form is used to formally notify a supplier about the nonconformity found in their products and ask for immediate rectifications to solve the issues.
Use this risk-based Corrective Action Form Template, also called ISO corrective action plan template, to document plans on how to eliminate non-conformities and its root cause/s.
This Corrective and Preventive Action (CAPA) report form is designed to help identify, address, and prevent the occurence of regulatory and organizational non-conformance. This can be used by compliance officers when formulating a corrective action to resolve the issue and discussing preventive actions to decrease the possibility of non-conformance recurrence.
Failure Modes and Effects Analysis is a step-by-step approach for identifying all possible failures in a design, a manufacturing or assembly process, or a product or service.
A HAZOP is a sequenced and methodical study of a process that seeks to identify problems that may represent risks to personnel or equipment.
Use this 5 whys template to resolve the root cause of a problem so that your business teams can avoid encountering them again.
This template is used to document a comprehensive root-cause analysis based on the 8 Disciplines of Problem-Solving, previously known as the Team-Oriented Problem-Solving.
Use and customize this template to check your organization's Quality Management System compliance to ISO 9001:2015 standards.
Jona Tarlengco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. She usually writes about safety and quality topics, contributing to the creation of well-researched articles. Her 5-year experience in one of the world’s leading business news organisations helps enrich the quality of the information in her work.
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