Understanding the Roles in Quality Management Systems
Corrective actions are generated to correct a discrepancy that has already occurred, and by anyone who identifies a potential problem that arises. Preventive action requests are issued to prevent a problem that could occur in the future. As part of a quality management system, one of the first steps in correctly issuing and dealing with corrective actions is to determine who is responsible for this procedure. Depending on the size of the organisation and the hierarchy, this role could fall on senior management, department heads, general managers or even a specific manager such as a Human Resources Manager. Each industry works according to a different type of organisational hierarchy too – in production plants, the role of corrective and preventative actions could be assigned to a foreman for instance. Another thing to consider is who should receive the corrective action. In some cases, the non-conformance may not be the fault of the employee who has committed the mistake. A junior floor supervisor for example may have been given a task without the required briefing or training by a more senior operations manager. In this example, it is the person who was responsible for the lack of clear information who would be the recipient of the corrective action. The primary goal of quality management within the workplace is to strive for continuous improvement. As such, both corrective and preventive actions play an important role in providing employees, management and even stakeholders with improved systems. Through correcting non-compliances, employees are able to improve any potential skills shortages or motivational issues that may have been in place, thereby preventing further issues down the road. Take the time to delegate the responsibility of corrective actions accordingly, and ensure that they are also issued to the correct person, for the correct reason. An effective quality management system benefits by having the right procedures assigned correctly to the right people who have been in turn thoroughly trained to do their job and to perform any specific tasks.