There has been confusion among many people about the terms ‘correction’ and ‘corrective action’ as both terms relate to an action that is taken on a nonconforming product.
‘Correction’ is an action to eliminate the detected nonconformity. There may not be any necessity to do root cause analysis. Just eliminate the detected nonconformity, so that product conforms to requirements. Take an example – it is observed that the length of the rods manufactured is 3.001 meter, while the customer desired rods of length 3.000 meter. A further process of cutting the extra made length of rods will make the rods conforming to the requirements. This can be stated as ‘correction.’ As per Clause 8.3 (control of nonconforming product) of ISO 9001:2008 QMS Standard, the organization may deal with the nonconforming product by taking action to eliminate detected nonconformity.
‘Corrective action’ is an action that is taken to eliminate the cause of detected nonconformity or other undesirable situation. Accordingly, it is an action that is taken to prevent the existing problem from recurring. It requires root cause analysis of the problem. You should ask the question in the instant case – why rods are manufactured 3.001 meter instead of 3.000 meter? When you inquire why, you get an answer. You come to know that the manufacturing process is using a equipment/scale that is not measuring correct length. The equipment/scale requires calibration and verification. This action of calibration and verification when taken can be said to be an action to prevent the existing problem to happen again. This can be stated as ‘corrective action.’ Corrective action is a requirement of ISO 9001:2008 QMS Standard (Clause 8.5.2).
With best wishes,
Keshav Ram Singhal
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