Category Archives: ISO14001

CAPA Management and how to structure this

Corrective and preventive actions (CAPA) have been subject to changes the last years due to some modifications to several standards. These recent changes made a lot of companies choose to get rid of the preventive actions. Regardless of the changes, the struggles of managing these tasks is still present. There are still multiple actions pending per employee, regardless of the wording.

Origin of the Task

The different tasks can originate from a number of different sources. Activities like a management walk, incident, customer complaint or an audit. These tasks are then stored in Excel documents or similar, which leads to long lists of actions with different due dates and statuses. Tracking the origin of the task is not only crucial for analyzing the data, but also to track the progress. One incident can hold multiple tasks, these origins show exactly which tasks need to be done to finish the incident report.

Manage the Sheet

The Excel doc that holds all the tasks (CAPA) quickly holds hundreds of records. To organize the data, multiple tabs get introduced and more columns are added to allow better shifting of data. The concept behind this Excel document is that every employee checks his/her tasks in the document and changes the data when something has been done. This sounds great in theory, but it is not so good in practice.

Some things that happen to the file are:
● Employees don’t close the file and therefore “keep it occupied”.
● People start to add a bunch of fields to keep in the data or don’t know where to store it.
● Employees cannot find the document.

The list is pretty long, which is why this method breaks pretty quickly when you some employees. In order to solve this, companies make the Quality Manager responsible for managing the list. This method is undoable and requires a lot of time and effort.

Automate CAPA

Picking a proper solution for managing the tasks will give instant structure. The employees will not be able to change the sheet whenever they see fit. Everyone will get notified when tasks are due and they can access it from anywhere in the world. The integration with other parts of the management system makes it very easy to track why a certain task was started. This makes task management on certain incidents fairly easy because it is simple to filter which tasks are pending on the incident.

Tasks management is a crucial part of the improvement plan. Make sure you structure this properly in order to keep track of the improvement plan in the best way possible.

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How To Identify Environmental Aspects

How to Identify Environmental Aspects

Creating an environmental overview is a key part of your environmental management system. Basically the environmental aspects are the activities of your organization that have an impact on the environment. In this post we will give a few tips on how to identify them. As a general practice it is good to involve multiple people from different departments to have as many points of view as possible.

The Organization

First look closely at the organization and what it does. Which processes are having an impact on the environment? For example your purchasing procedure might not have a direct effect on the environment but it can have an indirect effect as you can choose the suppliers. In line with activities of the company it is important to look closely at the scope of the certificate, and whether there are certain activities outside the scope of the certificate.

The Activities

The activities are basically everything the company does. Good practice is to start with the core processes of the company and go on from there. A good first step is to look at the operations part of the company, which is mostly where the majority of the impact on the environmental can be found. Just list every activity the company performs. However, it is also important to take the supporting part of the company into consideration such as heating the building and waste management.

It is important to take every activity into consideration that falls within the scope of the company.

The Aspects

The aspects are basically the type of impact the activity has on the environment. An activity can have multiple aspects like for example, cleaning has an aspect of wastewater but it also has an impact on water usage. Some examples of aspects might be:

  • CO2 emissions
  • Usage of water
  • Usage of electricity
  • Impact on wastewater
  • etc.

The Impact

When all activities and aspects are identified it is important to score the different activities. It is undoable to actively manage all environmental aspects so scoring them helps the company prioritize them. Some criteria that are used a lot to score the activities and aspect are things like:

  • Frequency of occurrence
  • Size of potential impact
  • Stakeholders that are impacted and their influence on the company

Pick the Right Battle

Now when all the activities and aspects are prioritized, they should then be managed by the company. It is fairly easy to focus on the top five that have the highest score on the impact score list. It is not necessary and simply unmanageable to mitigate all the aspects all at once. The company can assign five activities and start improving on them.

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