Some Corrective Action Thoughts


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From: ISO Standards Discussion
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2000 14:32:58 -0500
Subject: Re: Name For CAR-Nonconform. Reports /../Summerfield/Hartman/Summerfield

From: George Summerfield


We have corrective action all right; it's just that our QA section is staffed with personnel who have completed several years of supervising the production work. They are given formal training in the quality system, and then they assume their duties in the quality section. They still have their years of experience from production, so when something is wrong they invariably know where to look for the root causes; and then recommend a fix. A less experienced manager in production (however) may have an idea of how to fix the problem in a different manner. It may be the wrong fix or take a little longer, but why not let them try it? Sometimes you have to allow errors to occur for the learning process to occur.

This is what I had in mind when I said that the QA section cannot order change; but rather suggest change. I was probably a little vague in that area. Change will occur, and the non-conformance will be addressed; it just may not be the "initial" change or recommendation that was suggested by the QA section. Regardless, we get more by using honey rather than using vinegar.

When we first started implementation, we had a difficult time over-coming the label of "those <snip> ISO guys". There is no way that quality could be associated with office people who are taking time away from production to have the "working" people write documented procedures. As most of you have done, we fought the up-hill battle and won. We now sit and discuss the possible root causes after an audit, and come to a mutual agreement for a plan of action to fix the non-conformance. However, if the production manager/supervisor is adamant about how s/he wishes to go about the corrective action, and we know that it won't work in the long run; then we relent and say "okay, give it a shot". Of course, this is only for the lower category non-conformances. We can take a hard stance, too. We just like to reserve that for those non-conformances that could prove hazardous or really costly.

Anyway, we are conformant to the regulatory standards, and the quality standards. We just happen to also have a good working relationship with the production people because we have to. I am not saying that others don't have a good working relationship with production staff; but with us we never know when (or if) we might transfer back from the QA section to production. Interesting; don't you think? So, regardless of whether the form is called a CAR or "sugar-coated" and called a Continuous Improvement Report; what really matters is how it is received by the subject of the audit, and how well you remain in good standing with them. However simplistic in concept, it could be the crux of whether your quality section remains effective; or becomes ineffective due to friction with production.

Have a quality day...



From: ISO Standards Discussion
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2000 14:36:10 -0500
Subject: Re: Name For CAR-Nonconform. Reports /../Summerfield/Hartman/Humphries

From: Edwin Humphries

G'day all,

I recall in the early 80s, we had hopes that senior management could be persuaded to adopt QA because it made sound business sense. In the late 80s, many countries (including Australia) were drafting Quality Management Standards, and it was fondly hoped these would be voluntarily adopted because they set a baseline of good business practice.

In the early 90s, we thought that with the adoption of an International Standard, companies would have no option but to adopt QA, because the customer would insist on it.

Now its the new millennium, and we're going to force senior management to become involved with QA, because ISO says it? Give me a break guys: ISO says nothing now that it didn't always say; apathetic managers will still be able to find ways around any serious commitment to quality - if they want.

But not only that: we're going to thrust changes down the throat of department managers, whether they want it or not - and we're going to use words in ISO to justify it.

I can't think of a better way to get senior managers to be less interested in QA, than to challenge their authority to run operations in their own departments.

This style of QA is what's given the profession a bad name. Quality should be about common sense, consensus and identifying improved business process, not about finding fault and insisting on one's own view of how the fault should be fixed.

Best Regards
Edwin Humphries


Fully vaccinated are you?
One more:

From: ISO Standards Discussion
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2000 14:55:12 -0500
Subject: Re: Name For CAR-Nonconform. Reports /../Richardson/Humphries/Kozenko

> When we expanded the system to cover system and process changes,
> the paradigm from the ECRs also expanded, and now Change Notices
> are raised as a consequence of internal nonconformances, audit
> findings, or other incidents, and are regarded as a nuisance only because
> they take time to deal with, not because they are a reflection of
> incompetence or anything similar.

Edwin and List Members:

I've spent a great deal of my career chasing paper around large engineering
and design firms, and anyone familiar with that process knows what the
following stages of design documents are:

Award (Conformed)
Change Orders

Do you get the idea from the above list that there's some kind of "improvement" going on with the design/construction documents as something gets built?

So, Edwin, your post (naming NCRs for external action-oriented cites, and "Change Requests" for internally generated procedure and process revisions) was/is a veritable "bulls-eye" in terms of how to humanize the evolution of a quality system.

Had I seen this light several years ago, it would have saved a great many
ultra-large egos from some terrible bruisings <g> including my own...

David M. Kozenko
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