Developing Closed-Loop CAPA Processes

Learn how to automate your CAPA management for closed-loop quality.

Corrective and preventative actions (CAPA) automation is one of the most widely deployed features of enterprise quality management software (EQMS). Read on to learn how you can enable closed-loop quality processes by automating CAPA management.

Integrating quality processes with business processes

Your experience as a front-line quality professional is indispensable when it comes to integrating quality processes with business processes. You’ve likely the encountered the all too common frustration of spending a lot of time completing CAPA that have to be repeated due to incomplete recordkeeping or poor communication.

In all likelihood, you’ve probably encountered several situations where the old adage “the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing” rings very true. Closed-loop quality merges quality processes with business processes to bolster quality management throughout the value chain, from engineering to distribution and beyond. Each facet of the value chain has a stake in quality, but in previous eras, disconnect remained and “gaps” in quality systems led to serious oversights and defective products reaching the open market, where quality issues are devastatingly costly to address.

The Takata airbag recall is a prime example of how a relatively simple quality oversight can cascade out of control into a major global recall. When you close the loop on CAPA management, you feed back data to enable cross-functional collaboration by merging business systems with quality management systems.

For example, a sound EQMS would allow you to create a central hub of quality data that integrates with your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and your product life cycle management (PLM) solutions in concert. Furthermore, in a large global enterprise it’s not uncommon to find more than one ERP instance, which only introduces more complexity. Quality management software manages this complexity in a single solution to close the loop on CAPA management.

Which closed-loop quality processes yield the most benefits?

We know that CAPA automation is one of the most widely deployed functions of quality management software. However, you can enable synergies in other processes as well, not just CAPA. You should understand that merging quality with each step in the value chain is the essence of closed-loop quality management. Aside from CAPA, you can leverage quality management to integrate the following:

  • Supplier management
  • Risk management
  • Complaints
  • Compliance
  • Audits
  • Product part approval processes
  • Statistical process control
  • Advanced product quality planning

In short, you can tie each facet of quality management to one another in a single solution that integrates seamlessly with your current application portfolio.  

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CAPA are traditionally stand-alone processes managed in point solutions. As such, silos of valuable information may remain dormant within your company. Truly, you may not even know the value of your data when it comes to CAPA management until you begin to close the loop on quality. Depending on your particular manufacturing segment, automating CAPA with quality management software can enable synergies across the enterprise by providing visibility into supplier management issues, for instance.

If you work in automotive manufacturing or aerospace, you already know how critical it is to pinpoint supplier defects as early as possible when you have multiple tiers of suppliers to manage. Closing the loop on quality is most effective when you include CAPA data earlier in the value chain.