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Corrective Actions

Actions to resolve the issue


Action categories in TOOLBOX provide a guided workflow for resolving the issue. However, you may skip steps, add them out of order, and add more than one action per category.

The steps are:

  1. Described the problem
  2. Contained or temporarily fixed the problem
  3. Investigated the root cause
  4. Proposed a solution to prevent recurrence
  5. Implemented a solution
  6. Verified that the solution was effective
  7. Other

1. Described the problem

Provide details of what happened and why it is a concern.

Include any information about circumstances that may have led up to, or contributed to, the occurrence.

Record details about the actual impact of the problem (in terms of costs, function, time delays, customer satisfaction, safety, etc., as appropriate). Add any tracking information that links the issue to your other systems or records - e.g., job numbers, work order, purchase order, RMA#.

Where the problem has not yet occurred, or there was significant potential for more serious consequences, these risks should be described. The level of risk associated with the problem will affect the nature and priority of actions that are taken.

Upload any relevant files or images that help describe the problem. 

When you create a new Issue in TOOLBOX, the initial information you provide will become the first 'Describe' Action.

As more information comes to light, you can add more 'Describe' Actions to capture all the details about the Issue and its impact. Other team members can also add their observations by adding another 'Describe' Action.

2. Contained or temporarily fixed the problem

Containment actions are meant to prevent or minimise any further consequences.

These actions are just damage control, and include:

  • 'Put out the fire' - this initial step is simply to stop the problem from continuing.
  • Assess the damage - determine what and how much damage has been done and if anything can be "repaired / replaced / recovered".
  • Contain all effects - stop anything affected by the problem being released to the customer, prevent further processing (which will be wasted effort), and determine if anything has already escaped.
  • Notify the customer as appropriate - If defective product may have already been released, notify any impacted customers. You may also need to notify customers if there will be a delay to their expected delivery date.

Note that there have been no actions yet to correct the cause of the problem.

Multiple 'Contained' Actions may be added to an Issue in TOOLBOX to record everything that was done to contain the effects of the problem. 

Some issues may not require a 'Contained' action if there were no effects to contain, e.g. improvements.

3. Investigated the root cause

Investigate the reasons why the issue occurred. Collect and record relevant data, talk to stakeholders, and investigate all possible contributing causes. Record the information you find by adding an 'Investigate' Action to the Issue in TOOLBOX.

In this corrective action step, you need to distinguish between the observed symptoms of a problem and the fundamental (root) cause of the problem. 

There are many different techniques to assist in determining the root cause. One of the simplest is to ask a series of ‘why?’ questions (ref: 5 WHY technique) to dig deep into the situation until the fundamental reason for the problem is found.

There may be more than one significant contributing factor.

It is important that the investigation is not about finding someone to blame. Look instead at where the process failed, or could be improved.

The investigator will also evaluate if similar issues exist, or could occur. Record these details by adding an Action to the Issue.

4. Proposed a solution to prevent recurrence

Describe in detail one, or several, possible solutions that address the root cause(s) in order to prevent recurrence (or an initial occurrence) of the problem. It's important to record the different solutions that were considered. If the selected solution is not effective, you may need to come back and reconsider another options.

Different options will be evaluated on factors such as the severity of the issue, the likelihood of it occurring again, as well as the cost and effectiveness of the proposed solutions.

5. Implemented a solution

Once a solution has been selected and implemented, record in detail what was done. You can attached evidence of the solution as files or images uploaded to the 'Implemented' Action in TOOLBOX.

If it is decided that no actions will be taken to address the Issue, the reason(s) why must be recorded.

When an 'Implemented' Action is added to the Issue in TOOLBOX, the Issue status will change to 'pending' - waiting for final verification that the measures taken to address the problem have been effective.

6. Verified the solution was effective

After the implemented solution has been in place for an appropriate time and the problem has not recurred, record details of the objective evidence that prove the actions taken have addressed the problem.

If the implemented solution has NOT been effective, the issue should not be closed. Further actions must be taken to address the root cause of the issue. Add an appropriate Action to record what was done to 'implement' a different solution, 'propose' an alternative solution, or go back to 'investigate' further. 

When a 'Verify' Action is added to the Issue in TOOLBOX, the Issue status will be changed to 'closed'.

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