Corrective vs Preventive Action
Quality control professionals in various organizations are many a times confused by the wording of two clauses used in ISO 9001 standard that talk about corrective and preventive action. The clause 8.5.2 on corrective actions says that the organization shall take action to eliminate the causes of non conformities in order to prevent recurrences. Another clause, which is 8.5.3, says that the organization shall determine action to eliminate the causes of potential conformities in order to prevent their occurrence. In this article we shall clarify the differences between corrective and preventive action to remove this confusion once and for all.
ISO 9001 is one of the three sets of standards (ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004) that make up ISO 9000 series and are referred to as quality management system standards when combined together. Coming back to the topic of discussion, corrective action is a set of activities that are to be taken to remove the causes of existing non conformities or problems. On the other hand, preventive action alludes to the set of activities that are undertaken to remove the causes of potential problems or non conformities. It is easy to see that clause 8.5.2 is talking about actions that are taken when a problem has occurred while clause 8.5.3 talks about actions to be taken to prevent problems.
One cannot take preventive actions after a problem has surfaced or raised its head and the only option is to take corrective actions in such circumstances. Even the application of corrective actions depends upon identification of root problem of non conformity and taking immediate corrective actions accordingly to prevent recurrence of such problems in future.
Preventive actions are based upon risk analysis in any project. Internal audits of organizations often point out such preventive actions that need to be taken in time to prevent any future non conformity. In many organizations, customer feedback is taken as a source of preventive actions to be implemented in operational cycle to prevent any issues from being raised in future.
Corrective Action vs Preventive Action
• Corrective and preventive actions are often puzzling for quality control professionals in any organization
• Corrective actions are sets of activities that are undertaken to address a problem after it has been detected while preventive actions refer to set of activities undertaken to prevent problems occurring in future.