Corrective Action vs Preventive Action: A Comparison Guide

This article will talk about Corrective Action vs. Preventive Action for your business. Read here to learn more!

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 a system to 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 critical 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?

Let’s start by breaking down each concept and understanding what distinguishes them:

Corrective Action

Corrective Action is all about 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.

Preventive Action

Preventive action is solving problems before they even occur. That means it’s 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 are essential 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. Both processes can continually improve your products or services and keep your customers happy.


Corrective Action Processes

The corrective action process is as follows:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. Monitor Corrective Actions: Finally, you need to monitor the corrective actions to ensure they’re effective. This can be done through audits, management reviews, or customer feedback.


Preventive Action Processes

The preventive action process is as follows:

Map Out Potential Nonconformities

The first step is to identify potential problems in your process or product. This can be done through various methods, such as brainstorming or FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis).

Create an Action Plan

Take proactive steps in creating an action plan for the possible nonconformities.

  • Documented management procedures
  • Clearer working instructions
  • Process Audits
  • Constant communication between involved teams/departments.
  • Additional training.
  • Management review


Why Corrective and Preventive Action Are Important for QMS

While completely different, corrective and preventive actions are essential for quality management systems. Here are some of the notable benefits that each concept brings to the table:

Benefits of Corrective Action

Corrective action directly addresses defects or problems to ensure they do not recur, affirming the organization’s commitment to quality and excellence. Here are some of its notable benefits:

Ensures High-Quality Products/Services

The primary benefit of corrective action is its ability to maintain the high quality of your products or services. Eliminating issues at their root cause ensures that defects do not recur, leading to more reliable and consistent quality output.

Enhances Customer Satisfaction

Corrective action also improves customer satisfaction. When faults are corrected promptly and effectively, customers gain confidence in the organization’s ability to consistently deliver high-quality products or services, increasing their satisfaction and loyalty.

Benefits of Preventive Action

Preventive action is just as important as corrective action. Its proactive approach enables organizations to anticipate problems and take necessary steps to avoid them, improving overall process efficiency. Here are some of its benefits:

Avoids Potential Errors

Preventive action helps avoid potential errors before they occur. This proactive approach minimizes unnecessary costs and resource consumption associated with fixing defects, improving overall process efficiency and profitability.

Enhances Preventive Culture

Preventive action fosters a culture of prevention within the organization. This shift in mindset, from reactive to proactive, encourages continuous improvement and innovation, further strengthening the quality management system and enhancing the organization’s competitiveness.


Solution for Corrective Action Vs. Preventive Actions: The PDCA Cycle

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.

What is the PDCA cycle, and how does it help with corrective and preventive action? The PDCA cycle is a four-step process that enables you to 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 solutions, and choosing the best 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 many other quality management methods exist, the PDCA cycle is 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 is fun, and they 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.
  • Establishing a root cause analysis process.
  • Conducting customer surveys to identify potential nonconformities.
  • Creating an incident response plan for handling potential problems quickly and efficiently.
  • Investing in research and development to build new products or processes that reduce the risk of nonconformities.


By taking preventive action, you can avoid costly defects and nonconformities. Taking preventive action is a proactive step that can help keep your products/services consistently high-quality and satisfy your customers.


Conduct Corrective and Prevention Actions Using a Low-code Platform

A low-code platform can be incredibly helpful if you’re looking for an easier way to conduct corrective and preventive actions. Low-code platforms are designed to make creating and managing digital quality management systems easy.

By leveraging a low-code platform like Process Bliss, you can:

  • Automate manual processes associated with corrective and preventive actions.
  • Monitor employee performance in real time to identify and address any issues quickly.
  • Streamline the implementation of corrective and preventive actions with templates, reminders, reviews, etc.
  • Create custom workflows that ensure all tasks are done in accordance with best practices.
  • Leverage built-in analytics tools to track progress and measure success.


Using a low-code platform to manage corrective and preventive actions can help make the process more efficient, accurate, and reliable. It also gives you the power to monitor your progress in real time so that you can adjust course if needed. With a low-code platform, it’s easier than ever before to ensure that your corrective and preventive action strategies are successful.



The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is a reliable low-code 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 now!



Though different in approach, corrective and preventive action plans are essential for any company using a Quality Management System. Incorporating both into your quality QMS will help ensure long-term success and customer satisfaction. With DATAMYTE, implementing corrective and preventive actions has never been easier. Get started today!



Related Articles: