Seeking 'True' Preventive Action Examples



Preventive Action Examples

I am trying to educate our management on the meaning of "true" preventive action. I've been searching for some examples to help show them the way. Does anyone have any examples of "real" preventive action that they can share with me?


You are driving home and run out of gas, stranded, walk to gas station, buy gas can and gas. Corrective Action.

You are driving home and notice that gas gage is between E and 1/4. You stop to get gas before you run out. Preventive Action. (you reacted to a trend of the gage moving from Full to Empty)

Alf Gulford

Or how about a case where a three-hole molded part is cracking because one feature of the mold is too sharp? For corrective action you create a larger radius on that feature.

However, a very similar four-hole molded part hasn't shown any cracking yet, so you radius the equivalent feature on that as preventive action.


Jim Triller

Some examples of preventive action: training, planning, FMEAs, knowing system and product capabilities and not promising more than either are capable of delivering, maintenance, monitoring processes for indications of failure, poka yoke, & 5s. Anything done to avoid or mitigate a potential problem.


I beg to disagree, but what you have with the mold is a corrective action, because it (process) has already happened with another job or part. True it is probably more in the area of corrective action impact, but corrective action none the less. I see how you got there though, we used to think that way too, but with our last audit our eyes were opened and we were forced to look very seriously at our preventive action program.
Thanks for your input

Alf Gulford

Thanks for the posting, but now you've got me wondering, especially since you infer that a registrar wouldn't consider my example preventive action.

Your point about applying it to processes makes sense, but I'm not convinced that applying PA to individual parts is inappropriate. Are you saying that, for example, establishing a guideline to ensure that future molds have proper radii (affecting the process of design) would qualify as PA, where simply fixing something that already exists, even though you're preventing the potential problem from showing up, would not? I can kind of see that. In fact, as I write this, I'm agreeing with your original statements more.

One other comment, with all the debate over CA vs PA, the registrars I've dealt with seem to be happy as long as you're doing something/anything.


Marilyn M

Corrective Action = Reactive
Preventive Action = Proactive
This helps me to understand the difference.

Al Dyer

I have part numbers 1,2,and 3 that each have a four cavity die to punch out tree sizes of rubber gaskets.

All dies were put into production on the same day.

On the third day of production we notice that die number 1 is starting to produce oversized gaskets but dies 2&3 are running within expected limits.

Die #1: We do corrective action and find that the punches we used need to be made of harder steel. We run the new "harder" punches and everything is dandy.

We look at each other and say, we don't want this to happen with dies 2&3 even they are running fine. Let's use the new punches that we got for die #1 in the other dies. Preventive Action.

It doesn't matter what the driver is, if it has not already happened it is a preventive action.

What hepls me is this:

Corrective action: Already happened.
Preventive action: Hasn't happened but leans toward product.
Continuous improvement: System/process related.

I think the finest line to walk is that between preventive action and continuous improvement, but that has been covered many times in this forum.


Neelanshu Varma

I differ on the "car/gas" example given earlier. Filling gas in a car that has run out of gas would be "correction". Monitoring the gas level through the level gauge in the car to ensure that one doesn't run out of gas again would be "corrective action" (prevent recurrence of the same non-comformity". Installing and monitoring other "meters" to brake-oil, battery, tyre pressure etc to prevent potential problem of "outage" of the corresponding service would be "preventive action"

E Wall

Just Me!
Trusted Information Resource
I think you are splitting hairs semantically on the car/gas example.

Some of what we use for Preventive action includes:
Process Improvement Teams - The product is not out of spec, but reveiws are performed to see how we can improve the process or product.
Analysis of Data - This is also 'preventive action'. The study of data in itself as well as review of the trends to make any changes BEFORE there is a problem.
Management Reviews - Also a 'preventive action tool' This is one of the best forums to communicate potential Management Systems changes (usually discussion here lead to start of an Improvement Team).

The list can go on and on. Semanitcally speaking you're splitting hairs ad nausium whenever this topic is discussed. There has been an evolution in what preventive means. With the same registrar, we've had several auditors and some do chew over the fine points while others lump them together.

Basically - If no 'problem' or 'deficiency' exists but changes are made (remember that even a review of the data is preventive) is it a preventive action. If you 'Correct' a problem on one part, and review other parts before their is a problem any steps you take for these parts is 'preventive'.

Hope this helps, not confuses more :rolleyes:
Best Regards, Eileen
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