8.5.3 Preventive and Corrective Action in Service Industries


Neelanshu Varma

"Preventive Actions" in "manufacturing industry" are easily undestood and can be defined on the basis of mean failure rates etc.

ISO 9001 is applicable to service industry. Can someone suggest gudelines fro developing preventive action for service industry such as "training", "project development and consulting", "software development" etc.

Neelanshu Varma


Fully vaccinated are you?
-> "Preventive Actions" in "manufacturing industry" are
-> easily undestood and can be defined on the basis of mean
-> failure rates etc.

This is not particularly true. Preventive actions must address more than just manufacturing systems. Mean failure rates are only one measure of many.

Let me think. I did a service industry a few months ago. They included an employee award for 'best idea of the year' and some stuff like that. Mainly, however, they used management review and departmental meetings to track quality (and other) related data. From the data they 'predicted' possible trouble areas. The procedure is in my Implementation Guide package in the Flow_Charts.ppt file. It's the last slide - slide 44 (thought I am making some changes so the slide number may change).

-> "training", "project development and consulting

These are also preventive.

[This message has been edited by Marc Smith (edited 26 June 2001).]

Neelanshu Varma


Lets take customised software development. Here for each client, software is delivered based on agreed requirements and then implementation and maintenance is (may be) carried out based on agreed contractual requirement.

In this case normally we study the defects in the post delivery scenario and then refine our processes to reduce the occurrence of defects. My assumption was that this would be treated as preventive action but I was given to understand that this is corrective action and not preventive action. Hence I am now a bit confused as to what would form a preventive action.

Also, I am having problems in defining preventive & corrective action procedures (as mandated by ISO9001:2000). Once there is clarity on the definition of preventive action as opposed to corrective action, it would be possible to define preventive actions in different areas of operations but having a single preventive (corrective) action procedure to cover all areas of operation seems to be inappropriate.



E Wall

Just Me!
Trusted Information Resource
Initiating control tests prior to shipment of product - PA

Anything happening after product is in customer hands is CA (unless you use this information on another product prior to it's going to a customer - then for that 2nd product it would be PA but the action for the 1st product is still CA).

EDIT - ADDED INFO from DNV Certification Interpretation of ISO 9001:2000:
Corrective Action (CA) - Action taken to eliminate the cause of an EXISTING nonconformance, defect, or other undesireable situation in order to prevent recurrence.
Corrective action should cover the following areas within an organization's quality mgmt system:
> Corrective action to deal with detected nonconformities relating to products, processes, and QMS.
> Customer complaints
> Supplier corrective actions
> Product and/or service complaints
> Process control deviations
> Actions related to internal audits

Preventive Action (PA) - Action taken to eliminate the causes of POTENTIAL nonconformance, defects, or other undesirable situations in oder to prevent occurrence.
It is critiacal that the organization truly understand and embrace the philosophies of PA and not take CA issues and try to call them PA measures.
Specify the appropriate sources of information that would be analyzed in order to detect and eliminate potential causes of nonconformities. These sources of information could include, but are not limited to, the following:
> Nonconformity records
> Inspection and test records
> Process monitoring results
> Audit observations
> Results of customer satisfaction surveys
> Field, service, or customer complaints
> Regulartory authority or customer observations
> Observations and reports by personnel
> Sub-contractor problems

Once the sources of info have be identified,ensure that they are reviewed and analyzed to ID trends that may be adverse to quality. Based on this analysis, identify improvement opporunities and set aobut hte process of implementing PA measures. The measures should be reviewed and analyzed following their implementation so as to verify the effectivenss of the actions taken.

Sorry to be so long-winded, but couldn't find the best way to shorten without losing important detail. Hope this is meaningful to you. - Eileen

E Wall

Just Me!
Trusted Information Resource
CA & PA defining is done by YOU. Use the quality definitions and set up your own program and stick with it. You should be able to run a brief description by your registrar (either technical review or possibly your auditor if you have a good relationship), they will tell you for sure how it will be interpreted by them.

Good Luck :)

PS: This topic was covered in detail under another section, and I think someone else mentioned software development but won't swear by it. If you cannot find it by searching, maybe Marc can direct you to it?

[This message has been edited by E Wall (edited 26 June 2001).]


Fully vaccinated are you?
Just a quick comment. There is a thread here in the Cove Forums on Preventive vs Corrective Action. The thread was Corrective vs. Preventive Action and it's a doozy.

I bring this up to ensure that, as several folks have commented in this thread, the difference between preventive and corrective actions is often not just blurred but an opinion.

I tell clients to base their preventive action system on data analysis and to use the corrective action system to follow through on them.

Example: A call center. One measureable is all calls answered within 40 seconds. Report is given weekly (all calls are tracked for several features including time to answer). Normally call time to answer was under 40 seconds - usually 15 to 30. It was shown slipping to 35 and 40. A 'corrective action' was started as preventative (reaction to data trend). A nonconformance (>40sec) had not been reached, but potential existed. Root cause, by the way, was increased client load without increased staff. New staff was hired, trained and put 'online'. Time-to-answer returned to <30sec.

Neelanshu Varma


Thanks for the detailed explanation. It was very helpful.

Top Bottom