You have just undergone an audit and discovered a gap in your process. What’s the next step? The key to inspection readiness is having an effective CAPA system that not only correct the issues but also prevent them from happening again. Only by identifying the root cause of the problem will you be able to prevent it from happening again.
When it comes to diagnosing the source of an issue in a fast-paced industry, speed is important. As a result, many departments rely on the tried-and-tested procedures of Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and Corrective Action Planning (CAPA) to identify and prevent problems. Here’s a closer look at Root Cause Analysis.
What Is a Root Cause Analysis?
Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a technique for determining what, how, and why an event occurred so that preventative measures can be adopted. Data collection, root cause identification and execution are all part of it. To put it another way, RCA is a set of procedures that allows you to delve behind the surface of a problem to uncover causal pathways that lead to the problem’s underlying root causes.
What Are the Root Causes?
To comprehend fundamental causes, we must first comprehend what the issue is in the first place. A problem could be a divergence from customer specifications or another type of non – compliance at its most basic level. The root causes of these issues are the precise, root factors that can be properly identified, are within the company’s authority to address, and result in effective solutions to prevent relapses.
How Are RCA and CAPA Connected?
The CAPA as discussed before, is the action phrase, whereas if RCA is the subject. The root cause is what is causing the problem, and the CAPA is what will be done to fix it and keep it from occurring again.
The 5 Why’s in RCA
The 5 Whys is a simple yet powerful cause-and-effect method for determining the fundamental cause of a problem. You’ll begin by identifying the problem (RCA input), then query why each issue is happening until you find the root cause. Keep in mind that you don’t have to stop at five; in some circumstances, six or seven repeats may be necessary.
The Action Plan
The team must build suitable countermeasures or remedial activities after determining the root cause. The team should also devise a strategy for putting the solutions into effect. The counter-measures can be divided into two categories:
- Short-term Action Plan: Countermeasures that can be implemented quickly, usually in less than a week
- Long-term Action Plan: Long-term or lasting solutions are usually more difficult to implement and may necessitate additional resources. All “long-term” action plans should be completed in less than one month. If not, they should be sent to the Continuous Improvement (CI) team for review.
By discovering the underlying cause and taking action to prevent it from reoccurring, the establishment of a comprehensive, well-planned Root Cause Analysis (RCA) methodology can be extremely beneficial to a department in terms of inspection readiness. Many of the lessons learned during a successful RCA can be applied to similar designs or processes.
Need to strengthen the Root Cause Analysis of your CAPA System? Contact us! We’d love to hear from you to discuss strategies!
- Buchholz, V. (2019). What Went Wrong and How To Fix It.
- Quality-One. (2021). Root cause Analysis (RCA). Quality. Retrieved September 10, 2021, from https://quality-one.com/rca/.
- Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, July 13). Five whys. Wikipedia. Retrieved September 10, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_whys.