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Re-Training as a Corrective Action

Ever had to repeat a corrective action, or rework a part more than once? One of our memorable experiences in auditing was seeing a sheet-metal part bent backwards, given first-piece approval, then parts manufactured backwards, for the third time! When an issue is that complex, how can we be sure of a solution? Many corrective actions are written as “re-train the employee” which may be better than termination but may not create a permanent cure. 

If the employee is competent for the task, is ‘re-training’ the answer?  Did a diligent cause analysis show the employee didn’t understand the procedure, or understood but fail to follow it that time? Or was the cause lack of clear information in the procedure, or some other cause? How about considering some of these contributing factors, which PQA has seen in various places: 

  • Employee fatigue due to lack of sleep from COVID home-sheltering of children, a health crisis, etc.

  • Unclear specifications, ISO drawings on prints, or low resolution on copies

  • Employee needing new reading glasses (yep, we’ve seen that!)

  • Rushed production schedules due to overdue orders, or poor scheduling

  • A company culture of hurrying

  • Telling others about employee’s mistakes

  • Staff not willing to ask what may be seen as “dumb” questions

  • A company culture of assigning blame instead of seeking continual improvementIf these or other causes may have contributed, what corrective actions may be indicated besides re-training?

If these or other causes may have contributed, what corrective actions may be indicated besides re-training? 

  • Clarify documentation with more detail or less, to increase focus

  • Different formatting for documentation, using flow charts or photos, may be helpful for employees who don’t read text well.

  • Consider company culture: not just the quality policy on the wall, but how people perceive the company’s views on quality, production, scheduling, employee needs, etc. 

  • Use of work cells, to allow low-stress peer review and support

Final thought:   A positive work environment addresses psycho-social stressors by encouraging staff to raise concerns/suggestions, laugh, and learn together.  


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