Renaming CARs so that they do not seem negative



Good Afternoon All,

A little history we call CARs and PARs, CPARs. When we started our journey in ISO about ten years ago, CPARs were seen as a very negative thing. This mentality still exists within our organization. it has been very difficult to have facilities/departments issue CPARs against themselves. Recently it has been suggested to rename them. I am weary of this because most will see through this. We have tried to educate them on the purpose of CPARs and how they are used to improve our processes.

Question: Do you have any suggestion for other names for CARs and PARs that may not be seen as a negative but a positive?

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Re: Renaming CARs

[sarcasm]Unicorns and Rainbows, perhaps?[/sarcasm]

Seriously, though, I think you have the right mentality. Re-educating your coworkers to the positive benefits of these processes will be much more effective in the long run than just a name change.


Re: Renaming CARs

I would use "Improvement Opportunities" for your CARs. At my company we use "Action Request" as our CAPA system reports. It has helped in getting more activity with more "buy in" within the different departments.

Just a couple of ideas you might use.
We have been calling them Improvement Actions for as long as I can remember. As others have said this deludes nobody, but it does have one benefit: When I am auditing I can say that I am looking for good practices rather than faults (which as it happens is absolutely true). :cool:

An interesting question and one I'm dealing with in my latest book on internal audits. It is correct, IMHO, to need to rename "Corrective Action Requests" to something more appropriate. The term comes from an external auditor's perspective and isn't always appropriate. I'd prefer they were called something like "Risk/Impact Report" or similar.

I'm not sure why a Preventive Action Request is a problem, except that preventive actions are part of a planning process, and not a "one time" request where a form needs completing - another corruption of the process! For example, performing an FMEA should be part of a process, not because someone filled out a PAR to suggest it is done!

Jim Wynne

Staff member
The love of euphemisms is a hallmark of incompetent management. The belief that the essence of a thing will change when you change what it's called is almost always misguided. My guess is that the problem isn't what you call the CA process; it's that the process itself has a stigma that results from people being treating in a negative way when things go wrong.

Changing the name of something is fine if the reason for the name change is addressed, but otherwise it will most likely be futile.
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Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
I agree with Jim as I so often do, but let's consider what this means outside the sphere of internal operations.

Over the past 15 months I've had several clients who grappled with the difference between corrective action and preventive action. I found they had been doing many preventive actions but not giving themselves credit for them - their QMS/EMS/OHSAS did not recognize the good things (projects to save electricity, 5S to boost efficiency, facilities improvements to reduce emissions or leaks, etc.). Part of the reason why is how they defined the difference between corrective and preventive in their procedures, which are required for both subjects.

In both cases the group involved sets about changing something that does not perform as desired. The difference comes in how the thing to be changed is identified. Internal audits? External audits? Core team or management review of performance data? Management-by-walking-around?

I don't know how the OP's organization handles preventive actions now, but I suspect not everyone uniformly understands preventive vs corrective. A set of criteria should be defined and promulgated. I suggest that if no regulations have been broken or breached, no injuries sustained, no bad product reached customer, no internal audit or 3rd party audit or customer audit found the thing, it could be called a preventive action.
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