Corrective and Preventive Action (CAPA)

Corrective and preventive action (CAPA is used across various industries to improve product quality and optimize the production process. In the United States, certain sectors such as pharmaceuticals and food processing are required by law to have CAPA plans in place. Other industries, including the apparel industry, have opted to adopt the framework to root our potential quality-related issues to save brands time and money in the long run.


CAPA can be broken down into two different segments. The first segment, corrective action, focuses on correcting quality issues by finding the cause or causes so that the same type of issue does not occur again. The second, preventive action, focuses on identifying and eliminating causes of potential quality problems before they can cause quality defects. Corrective action is reactive, the brand must step in when the problem has already surfaced, but preventive action hopes to find and resolve quality issues before they even begin. Corrective and preventive action can be used together to dwindle down the percentage of quality defects in a production run.


Steps in a Corrective Action Plan


Identify and Document the Problem: Once an issue with quality comes to the attention of the brand, more research is needed to determine the extent of the issue. Quality managers must look into whether it is an isolated incident or something that could continue to cause problems in the future. Upper management must also be informed of the quality issue in order to take next steps. 


Implement a Correction: Once the quality issue has been documented, a correction is needed. This could be a permanent fix such (i.e. repairing a machine that has malfunctioned) or a temporary fix to a more complex problem. 


Find the Cause of the Issue and Determine the Solution: The brand needs to find the root cause of the quality problem to make sure it does not happen again. Once the cause has been found, the brand can work towards finding a solution. 


Implement the Corrective Action: If the brand is confident that their solution will stop the quality issue from occurring again, they can put their plan into action. It is also important to document the procedure for future reference. 


Preventive Action Plan

Unlike corrective action, which has defined steps that can be followed, preventive action has more of a holistic approach. There are certain activities that the brand can perform to make sure quality-related problems do not arise. Some examples include: 

  • Creating disaster recovery plans for potential hazards or unexpected situations
  • Updating safety and security policies
  • Putting lean practices into effective to reduce waste that can contribute to nonconformities in production
  • Establish maintenance plans for manufacturing equipment to ensure effectiveness 


There are also certain tools that the brand can use to determine risk in their manufacturing process or how likely it is for there to be a breakdown in quality: 


  • Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP): The purpose of this study is to identify potential problems that could harm personnel or equipment during the production process. 
  • Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA): FMEA is designed to identify all the possible failures in a manufacturing process, product, or service. 
  • Fault Tree Analysis (FTA): This approach to quality management breaks a system down into smaller subsystems to determine where the problem might occur, and how it can affect other parts of the manufacturing process. 
Corrective and Preventive Action (CAPA)
Triple Tree Solutions
Published 30 January 2023

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