How to use CAPA to drive Continuous Improvement?

Corrective and Preventive Action (CAPA) is a framework which helps organisations to evaluate and improve the quality of their processes. Corrective action (CA) is about identifying the root causes of an issue and fixing them. Preventative Action (PA) considers previous issues and aims to find solutions that prevent those issues from repeating themselves.

Although CAPA is widely recognised, it shouldn't be something to utilise only after an audit or non-conformance report, but as an integral part of management systems. Thus, here are 4 ways to use CAPA as a tool for continuous improvement.

1. Understand the root cause

When an irregularity or failure occurs, businesses can often make the error of dealing with the issue at hand instead of identifying the root cause of that issue. The problem with this is that the issue is often the consequence of a bigger systemic failure.

Treating the symptoms, rather than the cause of the irregularity itself, means that future issues are not avoided. Thus, the impact of the actions taken are short-lived.

CAPA promotes the identification of root causes, which is better for risk management. By doing this, the actions taken by the organisation have long-term benefits as they can prevent irregularities from recurring. Thus, they can improve their processes in the long run.


2. Create a risk-management culture

Through this cause-improvement-focused approach, your organisation can promote a culture that prioritises growth and development. 

By getting everyone involved with CAPA, you can create a culture that views the resolution of mistakes and failures, lessons learned, and risk management as valuable parts of the workplace. Ultimately, this leads to more efficient and smarter responses to issues.

Practical guide for setting up an incident reporting process

3. Drive employee productivity and quality

CAPA not only impacts how management deals with problems. It also affects the behaviour and response of employees. Through the promotion and institutionalisation of corrective action and root cause analysis, employees can better identify flaws in both their own work and on wider processes.

This way, employees contribute to the continuous improvement, and thus, to better process quality.


4. Improve processes with Lean Six Sigma (LSS)

Lean Six Sigma (LSS) is a combined approach for improving organisational performance. Implementing CAPA strategies along with LSS leads to better, faster and more efficient organisational processes.

As such, integrating LSS principles with your CAPA processes can produce even better results.


Final Thoughts

CAPA has numerous benefits for businesses. They include better productivity, efficiency and a higher quality output. Utilising an accessible quality management platform is a vital part of any CAPA implementation. Why? Because your employees and stakeholders need a place to document and share their issues, root causes, actions and lessons learned.

With an efficient system in place, you can get the best out of CAPA and ensure your company eliminates as many root causes as possible, for a consistent flow of continuous improvement.


Are you looking for a tool to enable, record and monitor CAPA or other quality processes in your organisation? Falcony | Audit ticks all the boxes for quality reporting, analytics and follow-up actions. Is easy to customise, enables real dialogue and is a lot more. 

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We are building the world's first operational involvement platform. Our mission is to make the process of finding, sharing, fixing and learning from issues and observations as easy as thinking about them and as rewarding as being remembered for them.‍

By doing this, we are making work more meaningful for all parties involved.

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