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ISO 9001 : Nonconformity And Corrective Action

Sounds like a lot of work, but is necessary ...


In this series of helpful blog posts, commonly called a 101, I will be taking a look at the main sections of ISO 9001, what they are, why they are important to your business and a few tips on how to implement the standard ...

With ISO 9001, the smaller you are the easier it is to manage your nonconformities!

With ISO 9001, the smaller you are the easier it is to manage your nonconformities!

copyright: konstantynov / 123rf

This 101 is looking into Section 10.2 nonconformity and corrective action. Why is this important to my business? Well, the first question to ask is, "What is a nonconformity?" It is exactly what is says. It is something that does not conform.

"Conform to what though?"

That depends. Your customer could have ordered a red toaster and you sent them a blue toaster. You did not conform to your customers' requirement. ISO 9001 has a clause about having a quality policy. If you do not have one, the auditor would raise a nonconformance as you are not conforming to the requirements of ISO 9001.

Nonconformities happen all the time in all businesses. Identifying them, recording them, figuring out why they occurred, correcting them and then seeing if you can prevent them from happening again is what having a nonconformance process is all about.

Why bother? This sounds like a lot of work you could do without, surely? However, the cost of repeating the same issues over and over again, not only drives customers away, it drives you and your team mad too. As Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result!" So, let us not go down that route!

How do I do this? You need to find ways to do the following:

  1. Identifying nonconformities

  2. Recording the nonconformities

  3. Figuring out why the nonconformity occurred

  4. Correcting it if you can

  5. Prevent it from happening again or alternatively accepting the risk it will

  6. Review the effectiveness of any actions you put in place

The usual way of managing the nonconformance process is by storing all the information in a series of excel spreadsheets and word documents. This is great for a smaller company with relatively few nonconformances.

When you get bigger, or if you have a lot of nonconformances, this gets a bit of beast to manage. There is plenty of software specifically designed for managing nonconformances depending on your industry and needs. Personally, as a small business with hardly any nonconformances, I integrate managing them into my Teamwork Project Management software using a mix of files and tasks.

Until next time ...

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Would you like to know more?

If you'd like to find out more about ISO 9001 then do give me a call on 01858 414226, leave a comment below or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help you.

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About Ellen Willoughby ...


I'm Ellen, Director of All About Quality and All About Productivity. I have over 20 years experience as professional in the quality world and 17 years as a practising Buddhist. As a result of this, I have a passion for improvement. in both business and personal life.


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