Corrective Action requires the complete understanding of the issue which has taken place and use the root cause analysis so as to reveal the primary cause for it, so as to rectify it in such a way that its occurrence would be rare.
On the other hand, Preventive Action requires carrying out trend analysis to find out the issues which may result in non-conformity and address them so as to avoid nonconformity.
Corrective Action and Preventive action are the basic quality management tools which embrace a number of steps taken to eliminate, correct or resolve the defect or undesirable situation. They concentrate on continuous improvement and forms an indispensable part of any business.
What is Nonconformance?
The term ‘nonconformance’ refers to the failure in complying the specified requirement or standards. It can be a customer complaint, failure of the quality management system or wrongly interpreting the written instructions for undertaking the work.
What is Root cause analysis?
A problem-solving method used to identify the main causes of faults or defects, which has to be performed systematically so as to be effective.
Content: Corrective Action Vs Preventive Action
|Basis for Comparison||Corrective Action||Preventive Action|
|Meaning||Corrective Action refers to the process of reacting to the problems/defects of the product, customer complaints or nonconformity and resolving them.||The term preventive action refers to the detection of potential issues/defects or nonconformance and removing them.|
|Undertaken when||Subsequent to the detection of the defect.||Prior to the detection of the defect.|
|Starts with||Identifying the primary cause of the issue.||Risk analysis and assessment.|
|Prevents||Reoccurrence of Defect||Occurrence of Defect|
Definition of Corrective Action
Corrective action is the one that handles nonconformity which has taken place. It takes into account the critical nonconformity which possesses a certain degree of risk that needs an action to avoid the repetition of the risk and which should be recorded.
It is based on the assumption that a nonconformance exists, which are reported through various sources – internal or external.
It addresses severe issues, recurring problems, safety concerns or situations in which the customers demand change in the form, function or fit. The action results in a number of benefits like fixing of the issue, increase in transparency level, setting a benchmark for future developments and events, modification in the quality management system.
Proper records for the action taken so as to ensure that the problem was recognized, rectified, and appropriate controls are installed, to ensure that it does not recur.
Definition of Preventive Action
Preventive action is the one that focuses on the possibility of the nonconformity to arise. In finer terms, it is an action taken to eliminate the likeliness of occurrence of a specific undesirable event in future.
In this, more emphasis is given to reinforce the process, to avoid the occurrence of nonconformity and documenting the same. It involves the prediction of the problem which might occur and prepare plans to overcome the issues.
It is based on the assumption that proper monitoring and control is implemented in the quality management system, to assure that the problems are anticipated, identified and removed before they arise,
It tends to locate the potential discrepancies in the product or services, prior to their occurrence in order to introduce various measures to prevent them.
The identification of potential discrepancies can be done through analysis of trends, internal audit, review of customer feedback, workers participation, etc. so as to improve the effectiveness in business operation and minimizing future problems.
Key Differences Between Corrective Action and Preventive Action
The difference between corrective and preventive action are discussed in the points below:
- Corrective Action can be understood as the action taken on the occurrence of an issue so as to stop it from recurrence. Conversely, when the actual issue has not yet arisen but there is a possibility that it might occur in future and the action is taken to stop such occurrence is called Preventive Action.
- Corrective Action is a reactive measure as it focuses on what has happened, whereas preventive action is a proactive measure as it lays emphasis on what might happen.
- The corrective action takes place when the defect is detected. In contrast, preventive action takes place before detecting the defect.
- Corrective Action starts with locating the root cause analysis, but in case of preventive action risk analysis and assessment acts as the starting point.
- Corrective action requires proper record keeping including documentation. As against only documentation is required in case of preventive action.
- Corrective action is taken to prevent actual nonconformity, so as to avoid its reoccurrence. On the contrary, preventive action is taken to address potential nonconformity to avoid its occurrence in the first place.
Process of Corrective Action
- Identify and document the main cause of the nonconformity.
- The whole system is scanned to make sure that no such nonconformity arises.
- Analyze the result of the nonconformity which could have had on a product or service, prior to the detection of the nonconformity.
- Taking appropriate action, as per the severity of the situation by requesting the return from the customer and notifying him about the defect, downgrading or scrapping the product.
- Setting up a complete follow-up to make sure the correction is effective, and the chances of reoccurrence of the defect are prevented.
Process of Preventive Action
- Taking proactive steps to avoid the occurrence of potential nonconformity by using information from multiple sources to detect, analyse and eliminate potential causes. The information can be collected from process operation, customer satisfaction, service reports, records, etc.
- Identify the steps required for preventing problems.
- Undertake preventive actions and ensure effectiveness
- Recording and reviewing the actions.
In a nutshell, both corrective action and preventive action are the aspects of the quality management system implemented in the organization. Corrective action is one that depends on a nonconformance event which has taken place in the past, whereas preventive action is all about restraining a nonconformance event to take place in future.
Preventive actions are less costly as compared to corrective actions, but it is also sometimes regarded as a waste of time and other resources if the anticipated event does not occur.