Customer Complaints - Potential cause of nonconformity - ISO 9001:1994 4.14.3 a)

A

AJPaton

#1
I know, you're sorry I'm bringing this up again, but...

ISO 9001:1994 4.14.3 a) ..."customer complaints"..."to detect, analyze, and eliminate POTENTIAL causes of nonconformities"

Question(I have checked other forum threads, this hasn't come up): If customer complaints, or any other source, cannot give enough information to track down the exact cause of the existing nonconformity, are your attempts to cover all POSSIBLE causes "preventive" or "corrective" actions?

For instance, if you believe a product is defective because the customer mis-handled it, would it be CA or PA if you beef up your packaging and delivery system? How would you justify calling it a PA without proof that it isn't a CA?

Lots of question marks, hopefully there are some answers out there.

Thanks,

AJP
 
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J

Jim Biz

#2
Aj - We take a fairly simple approach to this one.

It's corrective if it's already happened - no matter where the information comes from.

It's preventative if we plan for act - do anything that will keep a probable situation from hapening the first time.

Regards
Jim
 
A

AJPaton

#3
Jim, I know that simplifies things, but is it what ISO says?

The clause read "eliminate potential causes of nonconformities," not eliminate causes of potential nonconformities.

In my example, there's an existing nonconformity, but it was not caused by the "potential cause" that is addressed. This does seem to widen the scope of Corrective Action into Preventive Action.

Thanks,

AJP
 
D

Don Watt

#4
I might be looking at this in too simple a view, but I would define Preventive Action as adressing a "Potential" non-conformity or cause; Corrective Action would adress something that has actually happened.

If you believe that a customer has mis-handled a product but have no definite proof, and decide to improve packaging etc. to remove the possibility, I would call it Preventive Action.

I'd be interested to know what others think on this thread.
 
A

AJPaton

#6
I've been re-re-re-visting the forums dealing with corrective and/or preventive actions, and I still have the same question.

First case: you have a nonconformity, in identifying the causes(s) for that NC you find weaknesses in your system. Being a diligent individual, you correct those weaknesses as well as the identified cause(s).

IMHO you've done corrective AND preventive action.

Second case: you have a nonconformity, due to lack of information, repeatability, etc. you can't track down the unique cause(s) for this NC. However, you find several possible causes and correct them diligently.

Have you done 1)Corrective Action Only, 2)Corrective and Preventive Action, or 3)Preventive Action only?

Thanks,

AJP
 
J

John C

#7
I’m glad you brought up the subject again because, as you will see if you are following the discussion in ISO 900x;1994, correction and preventive action, it has led me to better understanding of the problems people have with 4.14.3;

At best, the clause is misleading; 4.14 as a whole, does seem to recognise corrective action as a response and preventive action as being self initiated, although the wording of 4.14.3 a) hardly supports that. The intention of 4.14.3 a) is certainly; to detect causes which are only potential or believed to be potential, rather than causes of actual n/cs. To my mind, it fails to recognise the reason for doing this, which is; the need for proactive and creative analysis related to end purpose, unconstrained by specific issues. As a result, the wording of the clause directs us back into reaction rather than proaction. Within these rather confusing terms, I would like to have a shot at answering your questions;

Question 1; If customer complaints, or any other source, cannot give enough information
to track down the exact cause of the existing nonconformity, are your attempts to cover all POSSIBLE causes "preventive" or "corrective" actions?

Ans 1; In terms of ISO 9001 tracking down the ‘exact’ cause is Corrective. The cause, whichever it is, is actual, the response is reactive. Fixing all POSSIBLE causes doesn’t change anything - you are still reacting to a cause which is not potential but actual. However, if you found the actual cause, and went on to find other potential causes, you would have a better case, but a weak one; You are still being reactive.

Question 2; If you believe a product is defective because the customer mis-handled it, would it be CA or PA if you beef up your packaging and delivery system? How would you justify calling it a PA without proof that it isn't a CA?

Ans 2; It is Corrective Action. The n/c happened and you are responding. The primary cause may well be the customer’s mishandling. You are accepting that you can’t fix that, so you are again reacting by fixing a possible secondary cause which is; the packaging is not able to stand up to the level of handling it is expected to receive. Maybe you might go so far as to say it may have been dropped in your process so you’ll change to rubber floors. But it is still reactive and the cause, whichever it was, is not potential, but actual.
rgds, John C
 
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