Improvement is achieved in three ways:
Corrective action is re-active i.e. dealing with the problem AFTER the event.
Preventive action is a pro-active procedure i.e. dealing with the problem BEFORE it happens.
Each improvement will require the commitment of resources, which should be prioritized by top management, especially if investment is required.
One of the driving goals of ISO 9001:2008 is the principle of continual improvement. You must be able to demonstrate continual improvement. This is done by establishing quality objectives (or goals) that are just slightly above where you are at now.
A year from now, after a year’s worth of measurements, you should have evidence of improvement. If you don’t, you’re doing something wrong. Having your quality measurements (records) compared against where you were, and where you want to be, is a really good place to start figuring out how to improve your system.
This is documented and explained in our Quality Manual Template and guidance document.