As your production floor busily produces more of your company’s product, you learn that an important customer has called about a defective piece of equipment they just bought from you.
How could this have happened? Your processes are monitored and standards are maintained every step of the way. The boss is upset and you need to solve this problem fast. Where to begin?
The first step is to contain the problem. Quickly hone in on where in your facility could have been involved in a noncompliant action. Stop production or quarantine any product that needs to be reviewed to assure quality.
Root Cause Investigation
Discover the root of the problem. What processes, areas, workers were involved in producing the faulty equipment?
Once you’ve discovered the nature of the nonconformance, you can correct the inventory awaiting delivery to customers. This ensures that you won’t repeat the call from your boss about a customer who is complaining about a defective product.
Different from the correction, corrective action is the action taken to eliminate the cause of nonconformities. In other words, it’s understanding what actions need to be taken to prevent the problem from happening again.
Preventive action differs from corrective action in that no event has yet occurred but the potential has been identified. Many quality management systems only require employees to identify preventive actions as part of a corrective action process designed for the handling of nonconformances. Instead you should be seeking ways to improve preventing issues from ever happening in the first place.
Role of Internal Audits
Auditing on a regular basis, especially with an outside firm, can save vast amounts of time and money in the long run. Third-party auditors can provide unbiased accounts of compliance, continual improvement, and risk monitoring. An auditor can prompt policy and procedure updates and recommend controls based on risk.
Need a Quality Audit?
Our team is an experienced group of auditors and consultants available to help your systems run smoothly. Feel free to reach out to start the conversation!