Why Corrective Action Plan Needed For Efficient Workflow Management System?

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By: Sagar Sharma

Why Corrective Action Plan Needed For Efficient Workflow Management System?

Different processes and operations are taken up in many enterprises and it is essential to manage their functioning efficiently. The organization uses a workflow management system that monitors the performance of the different processes. This system helps in defining the different sequence of tasks essential in the smooth ongoing of the operations or processes in a systematic manner.

Implementation of this workflow management system makes the different tasks easier and faster. The workflow management system automates the majority of the tasks involved in different processes or operations. In case of errors or issues during these steps need to be resolved using the corrective action plan.

What is a Corrective Action Plan? Why is it so Important?

Different processes or operations take place in parallel in the enterprise and there are chances that some of the tasks or actions interfere with each other and can affect the business operations.

The organization needs to understand these interfering actions and modify their workflow for streamlining their process while correcting the errors. It is essential to understand the different components that are involved in making up the corrective plan and that will help streamline the different processes involved in the workflow.

The corrective action plan (CAP) involves the document that includes the targeted outcomes that should be accomplished for resolving the undesirable actions. This corrective plan is required when any unidentified problem poses a negative potential to affect the quality management system. Implementing the corrective plan can help resolve these issues and improve the operations.

The corrective action plan initiates with the research on the problem or errors reported in the process and ends with the review for the issue.

This planning helps the companies in developing a system that can help in having a system to reflect on for managing and developing the solutions for the issues. The different benefits gained by implementing the corrective action plans include:

  • Improves the work processes, operations, and methods
  • Helps in streamlining the workflow
  • Increases the efficiency and the effectiveness
  • Determines the cost-effective methods for correcting the errors

When Does an Organization Need A Corrective Plan?

The corrective action plan is required for finding and correcting the problems that are related to the systematic nature. These problems or issues are not resolved on their own and need to be looked on personally.

The corrective plan is needed when the problem raised poses a real threat to the quality management system of the organization or the health and safety of the organization.

The corrective action plan is useful in many instances like in the case of audit or customer compliance, the quality of the product plays a very important role. If there are any issues or problems that are responsible for the poor quality or non-conformity, the corrective action plan can be useful in solving this issue.

The adverse conditions can lead to implementing the corrective plan but it is important to understand if the problem is caused by one-off aberration or it is a problem caused by system failure.

While implementing the corrective action plan, availability of the insufficient data related to the problems or the details of the failure for checking the effectiveness of the suggested corrective actions can weaken the usefulness of these plans.

There is a likelihood of the results being related to the system-wide improvements. The organization needs to confirm that the problems are systematic and stop these issues immediately from accelerating.

It is essential to define and understand the exact root cause that is creating this problem as this will help in implementing accurate and effective correction action. Once the corrective action plan is defined, it is essential to verify the effectiveness of the defined correction action.

How to Create a Corrective Action Plan?

Creating a corrective action plan is not as difficult as it seems initially but depends on how the problem is defined and the concerned person understands where to begin to solve the problem. Different ways help develop the corrective action plan and these include:

Using a digital template

Using the template is one of the easiest and the quickest ways to start with the corrective action plan. This corrective action plan template is a tool that is useful in enabling the teams for documenting the course of action for non-conformity.

Using the template-based corrective action plan provides a jumpstart for creating the action plan but needs reviewing before its finalization.

Practice how to identify

The next approach for developing the corrective action plan is by going through the different identification activities for the corrective actions. The teams need the training to correctly identify the problem and the need for corrective action.

The teams need to identify the root cause and the different elements that play a crucial role while defining the corrective action plans.

Discuss the guide question

There is a questionnaire that helps the teams in defining and creating the comprehensive corrective action plan. The organization can ask these questions for facilitating a corrective action. These questions include:

  • What to do to correct the issue?
  • Who is responsible for implementing the corrective actions?
  • When and how often are these corrective actions need to be carried out?
  • Where should these corrective actions be documented?
  • How to make sure that these corrective actions will prevent the recurrence?

How Does a Corrective Action Plan Differ from Preventive Action Plan?

As the name suggests the corrective action plans are implemented once the problem or the issue is raised in the workflow management system or for fixing the consequences of the problem. The preventive action plan is implemented in the system when we need to prevent the potential problem from arising again and affecting the processes.

The corrective and preventive actions (CAPA) combine the different processes and procedures that include both the corrective actions as well as the preventive actions. The added benefit of using the CAPA is that it will enable the organization to address all the types of problems in every operation.

If for instance there is any problem in the assembly line for one product, the same will be repeated while using the same assembly line for any other product.

The corrective actions are categorized into two under this corrective action procedures and processes. These include:

Developmental action

The primary goal of these developmental actions includes the product or the process improvement. These actions can also be considered preventive. The main goal of efforts undertaken under this action should be defined clearly in the terms of corrective activities.

There should be proper documentation of the progress, monitoring, and observed results. The proper documentation will help in the initiation of the new projects. They also help in proper goal communication to the team and also capture the lessons learned from the past for future attempts.

Recommended and required actions

The recommended actions need to be examined and adopted, postponed, or refused. This requires the regulation, policy, or internal guidelines as the source for the required action. It is important to perform the specified steps or provide the written justification in case not undertaken.

There is a very narrow difference between corrective actions and preventive actions. It can be considered as a mixed part. The corrective action is taken when the problem arises while the same can be implemented for the preventive care to not repeat the problem.

How to Plan and Implement a Corrective Action System To Your Organization?

For any organization, it is important to initially identify the problems arising in their workflow management system. The next important task is to carefully focus on ensuring damage control. There are different steps involved that an organization should take for implementing the corrective action plan that includes:

1. Identification of the non-conformities

The deviation or the divergence from the required or the actual results, standards, procedure, requirements, etc. can be termed as the non-conformities. The managers should establish the activities or processes for identifying the no-conformities in the defined workflow management system.

The severity of the deviation or diversion will help the organization in defining the different steps taken to solve or correct the issues. Based on the issues or problems, the corrective actions can be easily defined.

A major non-conformity can cause a potential issue with the system and can severely affect the management system. The less severe issue will not have any major impact and can be solved easily.

The common reasons for the non-conformities in the organization include:

  • Improper documentation
  • Failure in communicating the procedures or changes effectively
  • Insufficient training materials can lead to operational issues
  • Obsolete processes and action plans
  • Missing information and data

It is important to understand that every problem will have a solution and the goal of this creative action plan is to identify the problem and rectify the systemic problem to maintain the quality management system.

2. Define the scope of the work

The important step in a corrective action plan is to define the scope of the problem and identify the level of severity. It is important to understand the existing process and operations to identify the deviation obtained that is causing the problem.

Defining the scope is very important as creating the corrective plan for the problem is time-consuming and its implementation also takes time.

Defining the scope helps in prioritizing the problems. The minor problems that are not affecting the quality of the management system can be dealt with later as compared to the ones that are severe and are greatly affecting the management quality. These types of problems should be addressed first.

3. Evaluation of problem

Once the scope of the problem is defined, the next step includes looking at the problem with details and then responding by building the corrective action plan with a proper explanation.

It is important to note down the full description of the problem situation to get a clear idea based on the information and data obtained. It is also important to understand how this problem will be affecting the organization.

4. Understanding the root cause

Once there is a clarification of identifying the problem, then the next step includes identifying the root cause of the problem. It is important to find the reason why the process is going wrong to get the deviation from the normal.

The specificity of the issue is very important and necessary to find the underlying cause that is creating the deviation in the process.

The identification of the root cause of the problem starts with checking the problem statements and describing the issue clearly. The teams need to understand the problem statement and then perform the root cause analysis. Different strategies used for problem-solving include the Fish-bone method or the five-whys.

5. Identification of the escape point

This is an additional step and not necessary that every organization to incorporate this step while designing and implementing the corrective action plan. The point that is closest to the root cause and where the problem is noticed defines the escape point. It is important to understand the control system and the control point.

The control system is the set of procedures used for monitoring the process or product that confirms that quality is required. The control point is the point where the product or the process is examined within the control system for its quality standard compliance.

6. Team building

On root cause analysis, the team understands the cause for the deviation obtained. The next step includes working on the solution and rectifying the issues and controlling the damage. This includes the two important steps.

First is the correction for eradication of the identified non-conformity and second is the corrective action that will help in improving the entire process by not repeating the non-conformity. The team can make use of the digital corrective action plan and standardize based on their requirements.

7. Follow-up for the implementation plan

It is important for the monitoring and following up for the implementation plan for checking the quality of the corrective action process. The ISO 9001:2015 standards define that every corrective plan must be monitored and evaluated constantly.

Bottom Line

While implementing the workflow management system in the organization for making the operations faster and easier, there are chances that some problems may arise while working. It is important to address these problems timely as it may affect the operations and in turn the business.

The best way to solve these issues is to implement corrective action plans. This implementation can be costly but it also helps in reducing the unforeseen outcomes that can affect the quality of lead to non-conformity.

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