How To Use CAPA To Improve Quality

The Corrective Action and Preventive Action process is one of the best ways to determine and rectify the root causes of systemic issues. 

When implemented regularly and meticulously, the process will see companies achieve long-term growth in their quality management capabilities.

Here, we will briefly outline a step-by-step process for implementing CAPA to improve product quality:

1. Draw up a CAPA Request


Carefully outline the reasons for the implementation of the Corrective Action and Preventive Action process, and how the nonconformity came to your attention. 

To determine if CAPA is warranted, send the request form through to a relevant reviewer. You would send it to your company’s equivalent of a Management Review Board or Quality Review Board. They will either accept or reject it.


2. Finalise CAPA Sources and Create a Cross-Functional Team


Carefully document all relevant products, processes, and quality tests. You need to show that you intend to carefully investigate all steps in the production process.

Identify the resources and the team you will need in order to perform the Corrective and Preventive Actions. Those involved will need expertise in the products and processes under investigation.


3. Investigate and Determine the Root Cause


The investigation needs to consider every procedural step in detail to determine the root cause of the nonconformity. Carefully investigate and record the involvement of each product, process, and person to determine what, when, how, and why the issue arose.


4. Create and Implement an Action Plan


The next step is to identify how you can eliminate the root cause. The action plan must list the steps you intend to take and important deadlines for an efficient resolution. Then, you need to put it into action and resolve the issue using corrective and preventive actions.


5. Record Effectiveness


You want to ensure sure that your actions are effective. Carefully record the efficacy of any alterations made to prevent further nonconformities. 

Recording how effective the actions and the handling of the issues were also helps you understand how much time each action takes, and what the close-out rate on issues are. 


Optimising CAPAs To Improve Quality


In the long run, implementing CAPAs helps to improve quality. By identifying the root causes of problems, you can resolve them and make lasting quality improvements. This will help to avoid recurring nonconformities.

Here are some ways to improve your CAPAs to ensure that they contribute to improving quality over time:


Be Proactive


Correcting nonconformity issues as they arise is time-consuming. It’s better to find out what causes these nonconformities in the first place and fix the problem. This will permanently improve production and save time. You won’t need to fix as many individual nonconformities as they pop up.


Mitigate human error


Your work staff may understand what a good quality product looks like but perhaps they don’t know how to escalate a nonconformity issue.

Ensuring that you have a clear, logical reporting structure in place is essential. This way, your employees can easily report product nonconformities and the appropriate corrective and preventive actions can be taken.


Evaluate your process


It’s important to measure your CAPA results over time. This way, you can see how your preventive and corrective actions improve quality. By evaluating your CAPA process over time, you can also identify weak points that you can improve.


Final Thoughts


CAPA is an effective tool for correcting nonconformities and improving product management. Be sure to carefully plan and record every step of the way in order to see long-term quality improvement.

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Kaarle Parikka

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