Curative, preventive or corrective action

You will determine and document actions to continuously improve your quality management system. The action plans you raise can have diverse origins and shall adapt to the event they tackle. The improvement actions can be related to an opportunity, or treat a problem or a non-conformity. We then speak about curative, corrective and preventive actions. Those action plans provide a short-term or long-term solution to a dysfunction that happend or could happen.


Curative action : Action to eliminate a non-conformity. It is purely treating a non conform output identified. It can be a repairing,a sorting  or a scraping action.

Corrective action : Action to eliminate the cause of a nonconformity and to prevent recurrence. It requires to find a root cause, using for example the “5 Whys” method.

Preventive action : Action to eliminate the cause of a potential nonconformity or other potential undesirable situation. It requires to identify a dyfunction risk, by analyzing or capitalizing on the experience of events that already happend.


My knee hurts when I run.

  • Curative action : Meet a doctor, take medications and rest for few days.
  • Corrective action : Change the 10 years old running shoes.
  • Preventive action : Change the running shoes every 3000 kms and warm up properly to prevent a problem from happening.

Long-term objective

When the quality management system starts to be more mature, the number of curative and corrective actions should go down while the number of preventive actions grow up.

A good quality management system’s maturity indicator is then to monitor the number of preventive actions/[number of corective + curative actions].

Understand more about quality

You can find all the quality definitions from the ISO 9001 in this article.

We describe the ISO 9001 certification steps in this article.