For companies seeking to ramp up their quality efforts, CAPA software has become a very important tool. Short for corrective and preventive actions, this tool enables a reactive as well as proactive approach to dealing with non-conformances. Corrective Action focuses on how non-compliance issues are identified, corrected and mitigated. It could be considered the ‘heart’ of any compliance system, thanks to its effectiveness and ability to handle often tricky situations simply, properly and appropriately.
A number of improvements can result from Corrective Actions, especially as far as identifying both employee training gaps and process non-compliances are concerned. Preventive Action meanwhile focuses on avoiding such issues in the first place.
This can also be extremely effective in the case of preparation, training, improvements in procedures and thinking ahead to spot potential problems before they turn into actual problems. Today, we will be looking at how CAPA software particularly applies to Corrective Action, and what companies should be looking for when selecting a CAPA tool.
What to Look for When Considering CAPA Software
Some of the things that you want in your Corrective Action software system include the following:
1. The option to conduct initial investigations and immediate corrections.
Before anything else happens, investigations need to be done to determine whether a Corrective Action is required in the first place. Not every bad thing that happens will require this action, and creating one for every single issue can lead to bottlenecks and wasted time. This action should be reserved for situations in which further action is required. In other words, serious issues will result in the need for serious measures. Instead of putting through a CAPA request for every issue, focus on resolving smaller, less serious issues immediately. Corrective measures should be done to correct issues that affect the company negatively. As such, many smaller ‘non-events’ can be handled promptly and simply when possible. A proper investigation is the best way to determine what measures are required, helping to identify the problem, determine how serious it is and decide whether further action is required.
2. The option to filter by priority and/or risk.
By the same logic, these actions should be able to be filtered according to the urgency or risk of the non-conformance. Time may seem like the most important way to organise CAPA requests, but urgency is far more important. For example, if a situation arises that puts the company at risk in some way, that situation is more pressing than a scheduled, less serious action – even if the latter is due in a day. Having a tool that allows risk or priority to be used as a filter will help provide a simpler way to determine the actions that are most serious, which in turn ensures that critical issues are always addressed quickly.
3. Traceability and reporting.
Reporting functionality is extremely useful to help report and track current and previous actions, determine trends, identify repeat offences, measure improvement and get a clear overview of results. A good system will offer reporting abilities that allow deeper insight into CAPA processes. As such, this should be a feature that you do not want to skip when choosing a system that is stand-alone or one that integrates into your quality management system. With the amount of data that passes through the Corrective Action system, you will want a clear method of filtering, aggregating and reviewing reports from all actions that have been requested and performed over various time frames. Analysis will therefore become far easier to achieve, thereby giving you the full benefit of the system. Investing in a comprehensive CAPA software system gives you a powerful tool that works side by side with your other quality strategies – especially when your system has the above features in place.