Problem Solving Technique: Step 7- Documentation, Lesson Learned and Promotion (Corrective Action)

“ Incorrect documentation is often worse than no documentation” — Bertrand Meyer


We all try to work each day from the premise that we are doing our best. However, sometimes, for reasons out of our control, we don’t get the best result. Like we forget to inspect our vehicle for the pollution check or fail to pay the premium for the life insurance. Although we did face similar problems in the previous years too due to an inadequate reminder system, we falter repeatedly.


The purpose of a quality management system is to help businesses improve their abilities to consistently meet customer or regulatory requirements. A major component of a successful system is a corrective action program that adequately addresses nonconformances. Quality pioneer W. Edwards Deming introduced the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle as a planning, implementation, and continuous improvement tool.

In the problem-solving technique (like the 8D Model), whatever actions that we have taken will not suffice and sustain unless the organization has a strong and effective system of documentation, lessons learned and promotion of awareness.

In this article, we learn how documentation can help the organization to have more transparency, solid & lasting corrective actions, empowers the team, can capture the experiences & changes for future events and developments.

Definitions (ISO 9000: 2015):

Complaint (clause 3.9.3): Expression of dissatisfaction made to an organization related to its product or service or the complaints handling process itself where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected.

 Corrective Action (Cl 3.12.2): Action to eliminate the cause of nonconformity and to prevent reoccurrence.

Correction (Cl 3.12.3): Action to eliminate a detected nonconformity

Complainant (clause 3.1; ISO 10001: 2018): Person, organization or their representative making a complaint.

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Detailed Information:

The following are the 7 key steps for problem-solving.

  1. Define the Problem
  2. Correction, Containment, Interim Action
  3. Root Cause Analysis: 3 Layered 5 Why Analysis (3L5Y), Ishikawa Diagram
  4. Implementation of Corrective Action
  5. Effectiveness Evaluation
  6. Horizontal Deployment (Yokoten: Japanese)
  7. Documentation, Lesson Learned and Promotion of Awareness

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As per the PDCA cycle, once the organization implements the Correction and Corrective Actions (Do), verified their effectiveness (Check) and horizontally deployed, the last logical step is to ensure that all the relevant documents are reviewed, updated and communicated to all the stakeholders.



Problem: 100 assemblies (moulded components) rejected at the customer end (OEM) due to fitment issue

Correction and Corrective Action:

  1. 100% segregation done at the organization, supplier and customer end
  2. Further despatch to the customer stopped
  3. Moulding fixture modified and moulding process parameter reviewed and updated. A new moulding fixture will be made to control the specifications.
  4. Alternate moulding machine (800T) to be qualified for further production
  5. Communication to supplier, incoming/in-process/final inspection
  6. Incoming, in-process and final inspection check-sheet reviewed and updated
  7. All the documents reviewed and updated

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  1. Define the Problem:
  • CFT formation
  • Pictures
  • Customer inspection report
  • Report of the failed sample
  • Test data from the customer
  • Invoice details like date, lot number

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  1. Correction, Containment, Interim Action
  • Communication with the client
  • Details of the quantity under question
  • Records of the rework, repair, segregation, scrap, deviation
  • Result of the correction, containment, interim action

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  1. Root Cause Analysis: 3 Layered 5 Why Analysis (3L5Y), Ishikawa Diagram
  • 5 Why analysis sheet for the Occurrence, Detection, Systemic failure
  • CFT who conducted the analysis
  • Identification of the final root cause for each Layer
  1. Implementation of Corrective Action
  • Review of the internal and external context, related risk analysis
  • Proposed corrective action, responsible person, poka-yoke implementation, calibration plan
  • Details of the training, Skill Matrix
  • MSA Study and Process capability planning for the special characteristics
  • Documents reviewed and updated like Drawing, Process Flow Chart, FMEA, Control Plan, SOP, OPL-One Point Lesson, Skill Matrix, Machine History card, Supplier PPAP, procedures etc.
  • Shelf-Life monitoring plan
  • Laboratory testing plan
  • Contingency planning
  • 4M Changes (Man, Machine, Material, Method)
  • Process revalidation
  • Reviewing and redefining performance indicators like OEE, Customer complaints, Rejections, Warranty, COPQ, Inventory Turns, Customer satisfaction results (Quality, Delivery)

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  1. Effectiveness Evaluation
  • Updation of the internal and external context, related risk analysis
  • Lesson Learned
  • The effective date of actual implementation
  • Calibration records, Poka Yoke Monitoring records
  • Updated FMEA & its rating, tool history card, Machine history card, preventive action check sheet
  • Tool Duplication plan
  • Effectiveness of 4M Changes (Man, Machine, Material, Method)
  • Updated skill matrix, Competency mapping
  • Shelf-life monitoring results
  • Laboratory test results
  • Contingency planning trial reports
  • MSA Study results and Process Capability results
  • Status of performance indicators like OEE, Customer complaints, Rejections, Warranty, COPQ, Inventory Turns, Customer satisfaction results (Quality, Delivery)
  • Updation of the distribution list
  • Communication to the concerned personnel and relevant interested parties
  • Make sure that personnel are aware of the amended requirements and have understood
  • Internal audit results (System, Process, Product, Layered)
  • Management review output
  1. Horizontal Deployment (Yokoten: Japanese)
  • Updation of all documents which can be impacted in future

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Lesson Learned:

Most managers understand the importance of lessons learned on current and future projects/customer issues. Capturing and regularly updating the lessons learned can keep the project/organization on track. In the long run, it can also help continually improve how organizations execute projects/manage customer problems. They are experiences distilled from past activities that should be actively taken into account in future actions and behaviour. The experience may be positive, as in a successful new development or negative, as in a mishap or vehicle recall.

Lessons Learned Steps

  • What information should be shared with other plants, departments, products, processes, suppliers?
  • Consider similar/same products, processes, and equipment
  • State lessons learned in a manner that would make sense to someone not familiar with the specific cause or issue
  • Should be specific and avoid being too general
  • Lesson learned can be documented centrally and can be accessed easily by interested parties

Lessons Learned examples:

  • Component mixing (Different Hardness) in heat treatment and similar can happen in the incoming inspection (steel bar of different grade but same diameter)
  • Production planning: Product A followed by product B (similar geometry) and both can be mixed in the assembly line
  • Welding operations – boundary samples of what is acceptable and what is not are needed
  • Operation of critical machine controls (i.e. diverters) must be verified at an appropriate frequency
  • Operator work instructions must include steps to be taken after machine breakdown

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Industry Challenges:

  1. How often all the relevant documents are reviewed and updated?
  2. How often concerned machine operators and supervisors are communicated and clear about the implemented action plan?
  3. How often does the organization record and review the lesson learned from the complaints and rejection analysis?


IATF 16949: 2016

ISO 9001: 2015

ISO 9000: 2015

OEM Supplier Manual

CQI 20: Aug 2018, 2nd Edition (Effective Problem-Solving Guide)

Industry Experts

This is the 148th article of this Quality Management series. Every weekend, you will find useful information that will make your Management System journey Productive. Please share it with your colleagues too.

In the words of Albert Einstein, “The important thing is never to stop questioning.” I invite you to ask anything about the above subject. Questions and answers are the lifeblood of learning, and we are all learning. I will answer all questions to the best of my ability and promise to keep personal information confidential.

Your genuine feedback and response are extremely valuable. Please suggest topics for the coming weeks.

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