Questions about Corrective - Preventive Action System(s)



I have some questions about corrective and preventive actions.

1) Is there any reasonable reason to treat them separately ?
2) Doing this, improves our system performance ?
3) What about if I considere an action taken as preventive and my registrar "thinks" it is corrective ?

Please answer, we are in the middle of a swamp with 4.14.


Ram narayan


You should not treat Corrective and Preventive actions seperately. Let me explain you with a live example from one of the companies I am consulting with.

The problem was that the Ball bearing application failed because of non application of the grease on the bearing. This was a customer compliant. 4.14 should be implemented in the following steps:

1. Immediate corrective action should be taken so that the customer will not get any bearing without grease. Eg: 100% inspection for grease application at the end of the line before packing. This is Corrective action. This alone will not solve the problem. This is like taking a headache tablet immediately when you get an headache.

2. You have to go into your Process FMEA and find out where the problem lies in your company because of which the grease has not been applied. For eg: The PFMEA tells that one of the potential causes of the problem is that there was an air block in the grease dispenser. Now the action you take like automatically stopping the line when the air block occurs in the grease dispenser is a Preventive action. This action will prevent further problems from occuring.This is like going to a doctor, finding the causes of headache and permenantly solving the problem without any recurrence.

3. You have to extend this preventive actions as a system. Eg: you have to install this system in all Grease dispensing machines, even though the problem has occurred in only one grease dispensing machines.

Scott Knutson

If I may, while I agree that you should not seperate the two, I think that preventive actions goes beyond performing a corrective action and then assuring that it is prevented from happening again. A company need to actively look for problems based on data trends. The standard refers to quality records, service reports, audit results, etc. as data to be analyzed to "eliminate potential causes of nonconformances." Preventive actions are a proactive approach to assuring conformance. Corrective actions are a reactive approach to assuring conformance. I hope this helps.


Fully vaccinated are you?
First of all, look at Scott's answer. You are looking at two different things - Corrective vs Preventive. If your registrar says something is corrective and you think it is preventive you should have good reasoning why - for which you need to well understand the differences between the two.

There are aosl some great threads on the 'old' forum you might want to read. There's lots of info there!

<a href=""> Preventive Action</a>

<a href="". Need for Corrective Action</a>

<a href=""> Confirming Corrective Action Effectiveness</a>

<a href=""> 8-D Analysis</a>

<a href=""> Effectiveness of Corrective-Preventative Actions</a>

<a href=""> Preventive Action vs Registrar's Definition </a>

And there are probably others if you do a search or scroll through the list.


Fully vaccinated are you?
Corrective Actions are things done to fix a problem. "I replaced the worn fixture." Or "I replaced the paint spray nozzle."

Preventive Actions are generally an inspection or test - which includes PokeYoke, mistake-proofing.

A Preventive Action is one which virtually eliminates the possibility of the mistake happening again *or* virtually guarantees the mistake will be caught (such as an inline automatic 100% 'inspection' specific for the problem/mistake).

Preventive Actions are a part of Continuous Improvement as well, by the way.


Thanks to all of yow, but may problem is not with the definitio nor with the approach. It is with management. We were requested by our registrar to have preventive actions ( as the norm says ) and we had them, but there were not classified into preventive or corrective actions. We've decided to modify our CAR forms and named it Corrective-Preventive Action Request and we added extra room for defining explicitly preventive actions. I still thinking that classifying actions into preventive or corrective is useless. I think clause 4.14 should be re-worded requesting a formal system for continuos quality product and services improvement.

Thanks for your opinions.
Ovidio Molina

Scott Knutson

Ovidio -
It almost sounds like your registrar is looking for evidence that you do in fact partake in preventive actions. If your registrar thinks an action is corrective, then you must be able to persuade them that it is not, based on the objective evidence that you have. Can you give me a more specific example of the situation. Maybe I can offer some better assistance.

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
Wearing my consultants hat:

I am from the school that there are 3 not 2 parts of the system. Short term CA (immediate fix) Long term CA (eliminate the root cause)and PA (improvements and modifications to eliminate potential issues that have not blossomed into a mess yet.) To keep everyone on the same page, the form for PA is different, and meant to be user friendly at all levels of the most PA comes from the task level up, unless someone is assigned to the fix. Gets more use that way.....for what ever reason.

OK now for the Auditors hat:

Just prove to me that there is a system to get things fixed to the root cause level, that eliminates potential to screw up gets reported (kicked up)properly to Mgmt review and is working/effective. Records are kept as you define.....follow up and close.


Fully vaccinated are you?
I know barb has seen the thread she started in another forum on this. In fact, this thread was started in this forum before I set up a separate forum for these issues. For those of you who adventurous, check out

With this, I'm going to close this thread so we can continue with these issues in the proper forum.

Thanks to everyone for your most valuable input!

[This message has been edited by Marc Smith (edited 20 August 1999).]
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