Learn QHSE / Quality Management / Non-Conformances

What are non-conformances?  

A non-conformance is when something (a product, service, process or system) fails to conform to your agreed standard.  You typically document it a non-conformance report (NCR). 


Non-Conformance Reports (NCR's) 

The types of non-conformance reports (NCRs) are varied – they can be anything from rework to complaints; from failures to recalls.  

They can also be identified by a number of different groups – external customers, auditors, testers or staff in other departments. 

These reports will set out the relevant corrective actions that need to take place in order to address the non-conformance.


Major and Minor non-conformances

In some cases you may want to categorise non-conformances.

A typical one you should consider is; major non-conformances, or minor non-conformances.

A non-conformance will be considered major when a requirement is fully not met due to a system breakdown or maybe you have missed an aspect of your management system. This may result in a serious consequence.

A minor non-conformance occurs when the standard is still not met, but the consequences are low.


Why are non-conformances important? 

It is important that non-conformances are documented.  This makes it easier for your management can take any necessary corrective action .  An NCR should give a clear and concise overview of the problem or the area that is not conforming.

By reporting these non-conformances, it shows that some aspect of your organisation's operating procedures are being overlooked. Then actions can be taken that will help prevent that in the future.

NCR’s are like organisational gold.

They are feedback, a cause for pause, a chance to look at not just the detail of what you do, but also the big picture. But deal with NCRs sloppily and they have the power to put departments at loggerheads, get customers bad-mouthing you and reduce your profits.


List of non-conformances

  • Labelling an item with a false claim
  • Failure to take preventive or corrective action
  • Employees not following the correct procedure
  • Not implementing aspects of  a standard
  • Defects in products that get sold to end consumers


Related Articles