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Vol. 9
November Issue
Year 2008
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Nadcap Column


in Vol. 9 - November Issue - Year 2008
Achieving Effective Root Cause Corrective Action





What is Root Cause Corrective Action (RCCA) and why does it matter? From the Nadcap perspective, RCCA is a process for finding the causes of an event and facilitating effective corrective actions to prevent recurrence. It is important, because it is only through effective RCCA that problems are truly resolved. A recent poll on the PRI website showed that 91% of respondents believe that the RCCA process at their organization could be improved.

PRI, the organization that administers the Nadcap program, believes in the importance of RCCA so strongly, that it has joined with industry experts to create a professional development program focused on RCCA.

It uses the basic tenets of the Nadcap system, which requires five key areas to be answered when responding to NCR’s:

Immediate Action

This comprises a description of what was accomplished to stop the nonconforming action. It includes what was done to assess any damage, contain all effects, and if appropriate, whether any affected customers were notified. If no product was affected, explain how this assessment was reached. The requirement for immediate corrective action is to address the direct cause of the NCR only. 

Root Cause

Root Cause is essentially the last cause in any cause chain. To obtain the Root Cause data must be collected and cause chains developed. A true Root Cause will require a 5 Why analysis. For Nadcap NCR responses, only the Root Cause should be listed in this area, but supplemental information may be included to support the conclusion. 

Impact of all Identified Causes and the Root Cause:
Detail the impact of all the identified causes and the root cause. Was there product impact?  How did you determine that there was/was not product impact? Is it documented?

Action Taken to Prevent Recurrence

This cannot be determined until the direct, contributing, and root causes have been identified. Explain what has been implemented to correct the NCR from occurring in the long-term. It is important to spend time considering the effectiveness of the actions. Recurrence prevention is important in Nadcap because a repeat finding will prohibit supplier merit. Supplier merit is a system which allows audits to take place on an extended frequency and/or reduced scope basis, which promotes quality improvements and cost savings.

Objective Evidence

For Nadcap audits, objective evidence is required for all NCRs, and this is a good practice even if you are not involved in a Nadcap audit. For example, any procedural changes should be evidenced. If training has been conducted, verification of the event is appropriate.

Common Examples of Unacceptable Responses

• Operator Error identified as the Root Cause.

This is seldom an acceptable reply. If this is the conclusion, ask yourself; “If I replace this operator, could the next person make this mistake?”

• Lack of Objective evidence

Ensure that supporting documentation is attached for procedural changes, customer notification and acceptance, and training

• Restatement of the finding as the Root Cause.

Remember to use the 5 Why technique to ensure you are truly identifying the Root Cause and not just rewording the NCR. 

To learn more about Root Cause Corrective Action, you are invited to complete a free online web tutorial and register for an upcoming training session listed at www.eQuaLearn.com.