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Corrective Action vs. Preventive (Predictive) Action (CAPA) - A Definitive Discussion - Page 7

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  Post Number #49  
Old 19th March 1999, 12:59 PM
Kevin Mader's Avatar
Kevin Mader

Total Posts: 1,223
Questions on oily rags: how were they created? Were they caused by a leaking valve? Or were they created by normal clean up? In one case it is a symptom of a root cause, the other, not even a nonconformance in my opinion.

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  Post Number #50  
Old 19th March 1999, 02:06 PM
John LeBlanc

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Kevin, your last remarks about the oily rags is thought-provoking.
I wonder: If they were part of "a normal clean up", then shouldn't there be a procedure for discarding oily rags so that they do not become a fire hazard? And, if there is such a procedure, wouldn't that discard of the rags be preventive, that is, to prevent a possible fire from occuring?
  Post Number #51  
Old 19th March 1999, 05:44 PM
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Kevin Mader

Total Posts: 1,223

I don't know if it would be necessary to detail the Program to the Nth degree, i.e. making coffee, oily rag disposal, but that largely depends on the nature of the organization. I agree that by making it (oily rag disposal) part of your program you reasonably identify this as a preventive action. If after creating the program, a fire does result, then you would perform corrective actions to rectify the situation. It could then be argued that you did not do enough to prevent the occurrence, i.e. proper training though the program is still proactive (a point Marc made), the system was ineffective at least in this case.

Back to the group...

[This message has been edited by Kevin Mader (edited 03-19-99).]
  Post Number #52  
Old 19th March 1999, 10:48 PM
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Total Posts: 26,672

I used the word 'CAN' to denote that PREVENTIVE ACTION 'can' be used to address issues from a corrective action, however I'm trying to get across that at one time that was its provence but now it is not. Preventive Action is now expected all the time - NOT just for the tail end of a corrective action. When I 'went to school', preventive action was not an every day thing. Data acquisition was not like it is there days and such.

So - the tail end of a corrective action *shall* be preventive action, however preventive action is an every day thing, going on all the time in one way or another and not just in response to a corrective action. This is why I don't worry during an audit about preventive action. More important is root cause. If you 'cure' the root cause, that 'defect' or problem should not again occur. That said, Poke-Yoke or other 'preventative' measures will not be as important. I don't know - one might even consider finding Root Cause preventative.

This is why Bill Clinton asked the definition of the word 'IS'.

I still like this from above:
I understand the fundamental tool for corrective action is cause analysis. In order to remove causes it is necessary to change the process. The changes should prevent falures to happen again in the future. Corrective action is triggered by an event in the operation of a process, but it causes us to review process and product design.

In preventive action, we are dealing with things that didn't happen yet. The fundamental tools are PDPC (process decision program chart) and FMEA. Thus preventive action is triggered while the product and/or process are in their design phase.
[This message has been edited by Marc Smith (edited 03-19-99).]
  Post Number #53  
Old 22nd March 1999, 10:35 AM
John C

Total Posts: n/a
I donít think Iím getting my points across. Whether it is because Iím expressing them badly, I canít say, but Iím going to have one more attempt, this time by addressing my response directly to John LeBlancís query;

John LeBlanc,
Hi. Sorry for not answering you sooner. But we have been teasing it out and now I think I have the right answer;
Within the context of ISO 9001, Corrective and Preventive action are quite different. Obviously if you correct a cause of existing defects, then you prevent further defects. But, this is not ISO 9001ís definition of Preventive action. Why is there a special section? What is the essential difference?
Corrective action fixes causes of existing defects. It is an obvious need, supported by the need to remove obvious costs, customer dissatisfaction, scrap and waste, etc. It is causing pain and someone knows that Ďthe buck stops hereí.
Preventive action is the real quality activity. The one that really works. The one mentioned as the primary purpose of the Standard in section 1, Scope, and the one in our quality policy and probably on yours.
But Ďpreventiveí deals with things that might happen. There is no pain and no cost, yet we are going to take an engineer and put him/her onto searching for things that Ďmightí happen, while there are a thousand things already happening and crying out for resources. And, even if he/she finds some Ďpotentialí, the cost saving that justifies the investment can not be proven. You canít prove a negative.
So, although this ĎPreventive actioní is an obvious thing to do, it needs a special section of itís own because it an action on itís own, it is not easy to do and it is not easy to measure but it is very easy to overlook or to push to one side and neglect. No one would notice.
So thatís the difference. And thatís why you have to submit it to Management review. Note that Corr Action does not have this stated requirement! Because, if you donít have it, or donít report it, it wonít be reported anywhere, wonít get much of a hearing anyway, wonít be appreciated because it doesnít seem to change anything, yet it is the most important thing we can do.

Note that, before you insert the preventive and corrective actions, you have to decide where to put them in the process. Corrective is obvious since it comes after the process has run. Prevention is earlier, Iíd say. It starts before you do something, so as to avoid doing it wrong, but it continues as long as you continue doing that thing as long as you keep in mind the requirement of 4.14.1 to ensure the degree of what you do is appropriate. Donít keep investigating a process which is well established when you have others which are newer and less understood or where the potential for catastrophe is greater.

Before considering corr. or preventive action, examine the existing process to see that it is well designed, well implemented and effective. Then design in; corr. and preventive action from the point of view of the end purpose of the process.

Finally, go through each phrase of 4.14 and see that everything is covered. If something is not, then donít just patch it in, look to see why it is not. Maybe it is not appropriate or covered in some other way. Donít design processes for ISO 9000 or for your registrar.

rgds, John C

[This message has been edited by John C (edited 03-22-99).]
  Post Number #54  
Old 22nd March 1999, 03:14 PM
jerry slagter

Total Posts: n/a
  Post Number #55  
Old 12th September 1999, 02:32 AM
Andy Bassett

Total Posts: n/a
Hello Johan

The boys in this forum are getting better and better at explaining complex issues. I learnt the difference between PA and CA via this forum, the registrars that i worked with did not seem to be able to understand it themselves.

You are however left with the question 'what sort of activities can be classified as PA'. I think i would be right in saying that FMEA is a good example of PA. This is an excellent technique which all employees should be taught, even if they use it simply as a structured brainstorming.

In one particular company where i work they do something called a 'Preventive Action Overview' for each product. In this they define what 'general' steps are required to prevent defects. IE

Column 1 Supplier Selection - Are the suppliers certified? Do they have a history of good delivery? Do they need an Audit?
Column 2 Parts Criticallity - Do you need from the suppliers evidence of Inspection if the parts are cirtical?
Column 3 Supplier Contract - Is any special contract with the supplier needed to ensure that they follow certain manufacturing steps?
Column 4 Incoming Inspection - What incoming inspection is necessary inside the company.?
Column 5 What in process and final inspection is necessary?

The whole thing can normally be laid out on one A3 spread sheet, and really is a good quality overview, it encourages your manufacturing staff to think about the quality of the whole product, from beginning to the end, not just at the point they are concentrating on. Its pretty impressive to show to customers, it gives the impression that the whole process is under control.

I think it helps companies to be proactive to do it in this way, however i think it also pretty close to being a 'Quality Plan' but nobodies twigged yet.

Hope that helps

Andy B
  Post Number #56  
Old 24th February 2000, 09:49 AM
Marc's Avatar

Total Posts: 26,672

Also see: and

Also see:

Edited 10 November 2001

I can't re-lookup and change every old link to posts in the old forums. Most of them *should* still be there. If you want to find the post in the New forums, if the link to the thread in the old forums works (most of them should...), look at the thread (topic) title and what forum it is in. Then back here in the New forums - go to that forum and look for the thread topic title - OR - do a Search for the key words from Title (Note - you can search entire threads or just the 'subject' or 'title' - if you look in the Forums search page you'll see the options.

Call me lazy...

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