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5 Corrective Action Processes That Work

Rachel Beavins Tracy
by Rachel Beavins Tracy on Wed, Apr 22, 2015

5 Corrective Action Processes That WorkRefinery explosions. E. coli outbreaks. Medical device recalls. Certainly, there are many contributing factors to these incidents, but a lot of them aren’t just random accidents. Many are, in fact, traced back to systemic issues, highlighting the need for more effective Corrective Action processes.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at 5 qualities of Corrective Actions that work, helping companies correct issues at their source before they become major national headlines.

1. Corrective Actions Aren’t in a Separate System

A lot of the issues faced with Corrective Actions is using a separate software tool, or using a manual system. Whether you’re still relying on manual processes or jumping back and forth between different software applications, this disconnect creates opportunity for problems to get lost in the shuffle.

You want to be able to launch Corrective Actions directly from any number of applications, including:

  • Audits and Surveys
  • Incidents and safety reporting
  • Customer Complaints
  • Job safety analysis
  • Calibration and maintenance
  • Nonconformances

Just as important, you should also be able to trigger other processes and workflows from within the CAPA system. For example, when you’re conducting a root cause analysis, you should be able to access Employee Training records. The CAPA system should also allow you to initiate change requests, allowing you to directly apply findings toward a resolution.

2. Corrective Actions Have Multiple Workflows

The individuals responsible for handling Customer Complaints probably aren’t the same as those who investigate Safety Incidents, and issues around supplier quality call for a different process than equipment maintenance issues.

With so many types of events prompting Corrective Action, it’s clear you can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. At the same time, handling each Corrective Action on an ad-hoc basis is time-consuming and leaves room for error.

To keep things running smoothly, you need standardized workflows for different Corrective Action types. Automated quality and compliance management solutions can streamline the process, ensuring each Corrective Action goes to the right group of people for proper handling.

3. You can Automatically Route Corrective Actions

Similar to the point above, to keep things moving it’s important you have a way to automatically route Corrective Actions from one stage to the next, from review to root cause analysis, corrective action taken and verification.

Your Corrective Action Softwareshould allow you to:

  • Assign CAPAs to individual people, groups or role
  • Send out automated notifications to assigned parties
  • Automatically delegate action items and review steps when key personnel are out of the office

Basically, you need a way to know that things are moving along, not just stalling out because an email got buried in someone’s inbox.

4. You Can Filter Corrective Actions By Risk

Sometimes the sheer number of CAPAs in a system are overwhelming. Where do most people start? Naturally, with those that have the closest due date.

The thought process is understandable, but this strategy can cause trouble if you don’t have visibility into the risk associated with each item. Rather than rely on (sometimes arbitrary) due dates, you should instead be able to prioritize CAPAs according to risk.

That’s why it’s so important to find a system that lets you both quantify the risk associated with each item, and apply risk-based filtering to open Corrective Actions.

5. Corrective Actions Link With Your Reporting System

A ton of data goes into and comes out of Corrective Actions. In order to make sense of it, you need a way to report on it.

Reporting functions essential to any Corrective Action system include:

  • Automatic lookup and display of related CAPAs
  • The ability to display risk mitigation history to gauge CAPA effectiveness
  • One-click PDF reports showing the entire history of a Corrective Action, providing a digital paper trail of the process from start to finish

Not only do these reporting capabilities make the Corrective Action process more effective, they’re also useful for internal and external audits, providing a level of traceability that shows a company is doing its due diligence.

Handling Corrective Actions quickly and effectively is the hallmark of companies who place high priority on quality and safety. Getting it right can be a complex process, one made easier if you have the right systems in place.

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