CAPA is the most common corrective action tool.
It focuses on using corrective actions and preventative actions to mitigate non-conformances.
The corrective element of this means stopping the non-compliance, whatever this may be. For example, if one of the machines sets on fire at work, the corrective action would be to put the fire out.
Once the corrective action has been carried out, the preventative action can take place.
This will first require figuring out what caused the fire. Say, the fire started from the machine being left on at the end of someone’s shift. Preventative actions could be to put signs around the workspace, reminding employees to shut off equipment when leaving. Or even installing something that will automatically shut off all machines at a certain time or after a period of not being used.
It is important to remember the distinction between corrective and preventative. The correction must come first as this is likely going to be an immediate action to take place, before trying to stop the same thing happening again.
Once a preventative action has been put in place, this will make it a lot easier for compliance and auditing purposes. The organisation can now show that they are introducing measures to stop any fires happening in the future. This will make an auditors life much easier, and therefore make your organisation run more effectively.
CAPA can only be implemented when the actual root-cause of the problem is discovered. If this is not found, it will be virtually impossible to put appropriate preventive action in place.
Therefore, if you don’t know the root cause to the non-conformity, you will likely have to use another tool to establish this first.