Corrective and Preventative Action (CAPA) is an effective improvement technique that helps organizations investigate the root causes of any known problems or potential risks. The corrective action addresses something problematic that has happened, while the preventative action aims to avoid potential future problems.
Corrective actions happen in response to things like product defects, identified waste, or customer complaints. Preventative actions may be applied to potential safety risks, competitive threats, or falling performance indicators.
CAPA software has been developed to help organizations support this management technique. Here are the key advantages it offers.
#1 – It creates a repository for CAPA activities
Managing CAPA related projects in email and spreadsheets creates barriers to effective communication and quick action. It's tough to ensure that the right people have access to the right information when everything is buried in spreadsheets - and it's impossible to track communication in email.
CAPA software, on the other hand, gives businesses one central place to collect and manage all related work. Everyone knows where to go to get the latest information and it can be accessed from anywhere. You can see an activity log for each project, people can leave comments, ask questions, and give updates right on the work, and all metrics related to the work are stored right on the project itself. You can assign tasks in the system, making it easy to see who is responsible for what - and where bottlenecks are occurring.
#2 – It makes it easy for employees to report issues and opportunities
The idea behind CAPA software is that everyone can contribute to resolving existing issues and preventing future ones. CAPA software, especially if it is cloud-based, makes it simple for anyone who notices a problem to report it at any time, from wherever they happen to be. Employees can use their phones or tablets to snap a picture of a problem and submit the improvement right away, in addition to logging more extensive details from a computer.
The no-hassle, no-excuses approach increases engagement and makes it more likely that opportunities for improvement will be recognized and resolved.
#3 – It reinforces improvement culture
When everyone in the organization is using the same tools to correct and prevent problems, a harmonious culture can emerge. When teams use the same language and the same approach to tackle problems big and small, response times are accelerated and results are improved. CAPA software gets your entire organization pulling in the same direction as they work to identify and eliminate the potential causes of risk.
#4 – Everyone knows leaders are invested
If CAPA is a new approach to your organization, it is especially important that employees believe that management is invested in the approach. Too many improvement techniques are introduced but never supported, so employees may be skeptical that this one will stick. Rolling out a platform for bringing structure to the technique is a powerful signal that this approach is here to stay.
CAPA software also makes it easy for leaders to stay connected with staff. They get notified whenever an improvement is submitted so that they can assign someone to work on it immediately, thus showing everyone that the work is a priority. Leaders get insight into who their strongest players are so they can better focus their coaching, allowing them to spend more time in hands-on engagement with staff and less time in their offices crunching numbers.
#5 – CAPA issues stay at the top of people's minds
Without a software solution in place, people have to remember to check a spreadsheet or send an email to make sure that work on CAPA issues gets done. Unfortunately, people have a lot of things on their plate and improvement work can be forgotten. CAPA software resolves this by providing active alerts and notifications when new issues are identified or tasks are due. Teams stay engaged and informed, creating a faster path to success.
#6 – Lessons learned are captured
Most problems that need to be resolved or prevented are related to or similar to issues that have been addressed in the past. CAPA software creates a repository of every issue ever resolved. This allows people to learn from what has worked well and what didn’t achieve the desired results. With CAPA software, your team doesn’t need to recreate the wheel every time an issue is identified.
#7 – Leaders gain command and control
It is essential that leaders have insight into how improvements are being applied throughout the organization. They need to know which people, teams, managers and departments are engaged in CAPA work. They should have a good understanding of how many corrective and preventive actions are being taken and how the organization is progressing toward resolution. The best CAPA software enables visual management which reveals the state of improvement within the organization at-a-glance.
#8 – Goals can cascade from the top down
Most organizations do not have the resources to address every possible corrective and preventive action. Therefore, priorities must be set and employees must understand how to decide which are the most important actions to take. CAPA software helps align each individual and team goal to the key strategic objectives of the organization as a whole. This makes it easy to decide which improvement tasks are most important.
#9 – The impact of CAPA can be assessed
CAPA sounds good on its face. Who wouldn’t want to take corrective and preventive actions? But in order to justify the necessary investments in these improvements, it is essential to calculate the impact. How were customer satisfaction scores improved? Did the changes lead to more revenue, less waste, or faster cycle times? Calculating and reporting on the results of CAPA results in a better understanding of why it is important to the organization. It also makes it possible to recognize and reward the people who are making the biggest difference.
Not all CAPA software systems are alike, so it is important to find one that has the key features for your business. If you do, you’ll enjoy more employee engagement, quicker and more impactful results, and the data to quantify all of your team’s outstanding work.