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Are Your Employees Filing Nonconformances Properly?

01 Aug 2023

Nonconformances are generally the evidence of something that went wrong. It could reflect through poor-quality products, mismanaged processes, and missed timelines. Having a standardized nonconformance management system can help make informed decisions and resolve the nonconformances effectively.

Some Common Reasons Behind Nonconformance Occurrences

Some of the most common reasons include:

  1. Miscommunication within and outside the organization (possibly among employees or with suppliers).
  2. Improper documentation of the records and relevant evidence.
  3. Lack of training resources and systems to maintain employee competency for the roles and responsibilities assigned.
  4. Lesser emphasis on employee engagement.
  5. Lack of inspection management system that could prevent the use of poor-quality materials, components, and parts.
  6. Uncalibrated tools and equipment in the production.
  7. Not having control of maintenance schedules for critical assets (not only impacts the product’s quality but also lead to production downtime)
  8. Lack of effective CAPA system to identify and resolve the quality problems from the roots.
  9. Not having a streamlined audit management system to focus on inconsistencies in the system.
  10. Not taking customer complaints into account when it comes to quality improvements.

On top of all, the disconnected quality systems are the reason for the non-conformances and their re-occurrences. It implies a robust quality management system that can connect all the quality system in a single system, creating a closed-loop system to drive continuous improvements. 

Well, that was all about the systems. Let’s look at the people side of it. This question is for every organization that’s thriving for quality – “Are your employees filing the non-conformance reports properly?”.

Many of you will nod into a yes. 

Suppose they are filing nonconformances correctly, then why you are facing similar problems repeatedly. You may cite the identifying the actual root cause as a reason. But you cannot identify the root cause unless you have complete details regarding the quality problems or, say, non-conformances.

With traditional non-conformance filing and reporting systems, it could be tough to track the inconsistencies in the reporting structures and forms every employee uses. The new-age businesses require a next-generation nonconformance management system that could meet their quality management needs smartly, efficiently, and accurately while enabling them to comply with the applicable regulatory standards. 

Because when not filed and appropriately managed, non-conformances may often lead to non-compliance, lawsuits, and heavy penalties from the regulatory authority.

Consequences of Not Filing Nonconformances Properly

You may face several problems if you or your employees are not filing nonconformances properly. It could seriously impact:

  1. Safety and productivity of your workforce
  2. Safety of your customers
  3. Overall compliance of the organization
  4. Process quality
  5. Product’s quality, safety, and reliability.

If you don’t want to face these consequences, you must investigate the root cause, i.e., your employees’ key reasons are not adequately filling non-conformances. Some of the common reasons include:

1. They consider it as a reflection of their performance.

One of the key reasons employees feels afraid of filing a nonconformance lies in the organization’s culture. They may fear the “blame-game culture” where the reported mistakes will be counted as their inability to perform. Organizations need to realize blaming them and counting non-conformances into performance failures will only result in a disengaged workforce. 

You must encourage them to report mistakes so everyone can learn from them and not repeat them in the future. It is rightly quoted, “When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it: admit it, learn from it, and don’t repeat it.”

It is where organizations need to act responsibly. Only then your employees will start taking responsibility for the mistakes that happened, work on them, and improve. And this will also strengthen your employee’ relationship with the organization, making them more accountable than ever.

2. They can’t categorize the nonconformances rightly.

Another important reason that employees don’t file the non-conformance is that they don’t realize if the problem they encountered is a non-conformance. Technically, if a product or process doesn’t meet the specifications or requirements, it’s a non-conformance. The quality problem can be big or small, but the lessons learned could drive more significant benefits and value to the organization. 

You must provide training to your employees on categorizing and filing nonconformances properly. It is the most basic kind of awareness that organizations need to bring among their employees to act on and resolve the quality problems effectively and efficiently.

For example – a product not packaged correctly may not lead to any harmful consequences. Still, it doesn’t meet the packaging specifications, and it should be filed as non-conformance (as a minor non-conformance.) Whether it’s a major, minor, or severe non-conformance, it needs to be reported and filed with all the concerning details for future reference and evidence-based decision making. 

3. They don’t realize the importance of filing every non-conformance.

As we already discussed above, filing even the minor non-conformances can drive more significant benefits to the organization. It becomes even more critical to make your employees realize the importance of filing the non-conformances formally. It will significantly improve the overall decision-making ability of the organization when they have appropriately collected data. It also encourages organizations to take a proactive approach to deal with the quality problems rather than reacting to them when the damage is already done. 

It would be best to educate them about the significance of filing non-conformances and the consequences that organizations may face for not filing nonconformances. You can integrate a non-conformance reporting and filing system with a training management system to keep your existing and new employees trained.

Once your employees realize the importance of filing nonconformances properly, they will report non-conformances in a detailed manner. Also, you will not face any compliance issues due to improper documentation. 

What Do You Need to Do?

Don’t let these reasons hold your business back from gaining compliance, quality, and operational excellence. You should rather:

  • Examine the blaming culture within the organization and act accordingly.
  • Educate your employees with the simplest means of categorizing non-conformances 
  • Create awareness among your staff about the importance of filing and reporting the non-conformances formally.
  • Implement a powerful, cloud-based nonconformance management software like Qualityze to record and file non-conformances without missing a single detail formally.

Why a Cloud-Based Nonconformance Management Software?

Choosing a cloud-based, intuitive nonconformance management software like Qualityze can help streamline and standardize the non-conformance workflow so you can identify, document, evaluate, contain, dispose of, and investigate the non-conformances in a compliant and timely manner before it becomes a compliance issue.

Qualityze Nonconformance Management helps manage all types of products and process non-conformances efficiently while maintaining a balance between customer demands and compliance requirements. The streamlined quality process minimizes the defects and deviations. It also helps reduce process cycle times, foster continuous improvements, and reduce operational costs by reducing product rework and recalls.

Want to experience the intuitive interface and unique functionalities of Qualityze Nonconformance Management in real-time? Request a free demo right now. You can also get in touch with our customer success team for your queries on 1-877-207-8616 or email us at info@qualityze.com, and we will be right there for you.

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