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22 August 2017
Quality Management

How to Use an Action Request Form in Quality Management

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An action request form in quality management is used to originate a corrective action. Its purpose is to investigate a problem that has already happened for root cause analysis and resolution to prevent recurrence.

Most companies use this form for their entire corrective action life cycle. This form is used to address non-compliances in a service, product, process or system. Non-compliances occur when something doesn't meet specifications or requirements of a standard. Non-compliance can be identified through normal testing and inspection services, internal and external audits as well as customer complaints.

Action Request Forms are particularly useful for multi-location businesses, as the form can be sent to a systems manager who will input details into a company-wide action register.

 

How Do You Derive a Corrective Action?

  • Consulting with staff
  • Conducting site inspections
  • Testing, inspecting, and monitoring plant and equipment
  • Hazard reporting
  • Customer feedback
  • Audits
  • System failures
  • Regulatory requirements
  • Investigating complaints
  • Non-conforming products

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What is the Process for Making Corrective Action?

 

1. Define the problem

You have to ensure you have a real problem at hand and not a perceived one before making correcting action. The most practical method of doing this is to spell out the problem for comparison purposes. Formulate an "Is" and "Should Be" statement. If you cannot determine the outcome, then you may not have identified a problem.

 

2. Define the Scope

Make sure you understand the magnitude of the problem. Is it just today's supplies or did yesterday's supplies have a problem too? Have a clear understanding of the magnitude of the problem you are dealing with before proceeding with any correction.

 

3. Containment Action

Enact a measure to stop the problem as you investigate its ultimate cause. Implement checks and measures to ensure that you catch the problem if it recurs while you look for a long-term solution.

 

4. Investigate the Root Cause

How do you ensure that you find the underlying issue? There are many different ways of doing this. You can prod into the "Why" until you find the ultimate cause. Others would prefer to use the Ishikawa or Fishbone diagram. Whatever method you undertake, make sure you are investigating the underlying problem and not just what you can see from the surface.

 

5. Plan a Corrective Action

Establish the steps you need to undertake to eliminate the cause of the problem. Depending on the magnitude of the problem you need to determine the cost and return on investment. How it will be funded and who will approve the expense?

 

6. Implement the Corrective Action

This is as easy as establishing your plan. It can be as simple as implementing a preventive maintenance program as prescribed, or buying and installing new equipment because the old one can longer serve its purpose.

 

7. Follow Up

You should follow up after some stipulated duration to ensure that the problem doesn't recur. If it recurs, you need to determine if you addressed the root cause.

 

Corrective actions should include long term actions for effectiveness. ISO 9001 requires that you document the procedure for corrective action, which is the basis of the action request form template.

  

Action Request Form Template

An action request template should adhere to the corrective action request process. It is easy to use and ensures consistency and uniformity across the organisation. The form is filled by the reporter of the non-compliance and the person auditing the request. The person reporting the non-compliance fills out the non-compliance section, which includes;

 

  • Who were the parties involved?
  • What was the impact?
  • Where did it occur?
  • When did it occur?

 

Remedial and Cause Analysis Section

  • Manager determines the necessary steps to eliminate the possibility of the non-compliance happening again
  • Manager traces the incident to source audit
  • Auditor confirms that the non-compliance has been resolved
  • Occasional follow-up audits to ensure the non-compliance doesn't occur again

 

A quality management system aims at improving business processes with a key focus on continual improvement. To ensure that this is achieved, it is important that problems are fixed as they arise and an action request form template simplifies and standardises this process. The proper use of corrective actions will help you save money through continuous improvement as governed by ISO 9001.

 

Download your free Action Request Form Template below.

 

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