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What is Corrective Action Vs. Preventive Action?

What is Corrective Action Vs. Preventive Action

Quality management is essential for any business that wants to keep its customers happy and maintain a good reputation. To ensure the quality of your products or services, you need to have a system in place that can identify and correct any problems. This is where corrective action vs preventive action comes into play. 

But what is the difference between these two processes? And why are they both important for your quality management system (QMS)? This article aims to answer all of these questions to highlight the significance of these quality management subsystems.


Corrective Action Vs Preventive Action: What’s the Difference?

Corrective Action: Solving problems when they happen. It is taken after a problem has already occurred. It’s a process of identifying the root cause of an issue and then implementing measures to prevent it from happening again in the future. 

Preventing Action: Solving problems before they even occur. On the other hand, preventive action is taken before a problem occurs. It’s all about identifying potential issues and taking steps to prevent them from happening in the first place. 

Both corrective and preventive action is important for quality management systems. Corrective action deals with problems that have already occurred, while preventive action helps you avoid these problems in the first place. Using both of these processes can continually improve your products or services and keep your customers happy.

Corrective Action Processes

The corrective action process is as follows:

  • Identify the Root Cause of the Nonconformity: The first step is to identify the root cause of the problem. This can be done through various methods, such as cause and effect diagrams, fishbone diagrams, or five whys analysis.
  • Determine the Magnitude of That Nonconformity: Assess how big of a problem the nonconformity is. Doing so will help you prioritize corrective actions and determine the resources needed to fix the issue.
  • Develop Corrective Actions: Once you’ve identified the root cause of the problem, you can develop corrective actions to prevent it from happening again. These corrective actions should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  • Implement Corrective Actions: Implementing the corrective actions include putting procedures in place to ensure that the corrective actions are carried out properly and making any necessary changes to your quality management system.
  • Monitor Corrective Actions: finally, you need to monitor the corrective actions to make sure that they’re effective. This can be done through audits, management reviews, or customer feedback.


Preventive Action Processes

The preventive action process is as follows:

  1. Map Out Potential Nonconformities: The first step is to identify potential problems that could occur in your process or product. This can be done through various methods, such as brainstorming or FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis).
  2. Create an Action Plan: Take proactive steps in creating an action plan for the possible nonconformities.
    1. Documented management procedures
    2. Clearer working instructions
    3. Process Audits
    4. Constant communication between involved teams/departments.
    5. Additional training.
    6. Management review


Why Corrective and Preventive Action Are Important for QMS

Corrective and preventive action are important for quality management systems because they help you identify and correct problems. So by using these processes, you can continually improve the quality of your products or services. 

Corrective action is important because it helps you identify the root cause of an issue and then implement measures to prevent it from happening again in the future. Preventive action is important because it helps you avoid potential issues before they occur. By using both corrective and preventive action, you can improve your quality management system and keep your customers satisfied.

Corrective Action vs Preventive Action for Constant Growth

Both corrective and preventive actions are meant to stick and work hand-in-hand. They are quality management solutions that should be carried out long-term. But how are you going to execute it? One way of ensuring continual improvement through corrective and preventive action is to focus on the check step of the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle.

The PDCA Cycle

What exactly is the PDCA cycle, and how does it help with corrective and preventive action? The PDCA cycle is a four-step process that helps you identify and correct problems. So it’s often used in quality management systems. 

The four steps of the PDCA cycle are: 

  1. Plan: You need to develop a plan of action. This includes identifying the problem, brainstorming potential solutions, and choosing the best course of action. 
  2. Do: You need to implement the plan of action. This includes carrying out the chosen solution and monitoring its effectiveness. 
  3. Check: You need to check the results of the implementation. This includes assessing whether the chosen solution is effective. 
  4. Act: You need to take action based on the check results. This includes making changes to the plan of action if necessary. 


While there are many other quality management methods out there, the PDCA cycle is by far the most effective at implementing corrective and preventive actions. By following the PDCA cycle, you can ensure that corrective and preventive actions are systematic and effective.

What Preventive Action Should You Take?

Preventive actions are very similar to preventive healthcare procedures. Both cost money, neither are fun, and they both provide long-term value if you pay the short-term cost of long-term stability. With that said, here are some examples of preventive actions that can potentially help prevent nonconformity issues:

  • Auditing suppliers and the goods/materials they provide.
  • Routine inspection and maintenance of equipment to ensure proper calibration.
  • Incorporating alarms into processes in the form of monitoring statistics or control charts.
  • Comprehensive training programs with employee feedback.
  • Collecting process reviews from line workers.


How DataMyte Digital Clipboard Can Help You Implement Corrective and Preventive Actions

The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is a reliable workflow automation software that can help streamline any potential workflow process you want to implement in your business. Corrective and preventive actions are no exception. 

With the DataMyte Digital Clipboard, you can: 

  • Automate corrective and preventive actions with ease.
  • Create comprehensive workflows centered around corrective and preventive action plans.
  • Create checklists that help ensure all tasks are complete.
  • Collect data electronically for easy analysis. 
  • Improve communication between departments.
  • Reduce paper waste and save time and money.
  • And much more!


So If you’re looking for a way to improve your quality management system, the DataMyte Digital Clipboard is the perfect solution. Try it today! 



Though different in approach, both corrective and preventive action plans are important for any company using a Quality Management System. Incorporating both into your quality QMS will help ensure long-term success and customer satisfaction. So, with the DataMyte Digital Clipboard, implementing corrective and preventive actions has never been easier.



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