A Corrective Action Request (CAR) is sent to a supplier where an item or process is in nonconformity and a remedy is required. CAR’s are normally determined during quality assurance activities. Each organization will have its own specific CAR form, process and procedures.
The DoD has four (4) levels of CARs. The level depends on the severity of the nonconformity and the level of supplier management visibility required to adequately address corrective actions. The levels are:
- Level I: Issued for nonconformity that can be corrected on the spot and where no further corrective action response is necessary. Level I CARs shall be documented and issued to the supplier management level responsible for taking corrective actions.
- Level II: Issued when contractual nonconformity cannot be corrected on the spot. As a minimum, nonconformity associated with Critical Safety Item (CSI) critical characteristics and Safety of Flight (SOF) characteristics shall be issued at this level. Level II CARs should be directed to the supplier management level responsible for initiating corrective actions
- Level III: Issued to the supplier’s top management to call attention to serious contractual nonconformity. Repeat nonconformities found within one year for the same single point failure SOF characteristics shall be issued as a Level III CAR. A Level III CAR may be coupled with contractual remedies such as reductions of progress payments, cost disallowances, or business management systems disapprovals, etc. A Level I or II CAR need not be issued before a Level III CAR is generated. All Level III CARs shall be coordinated with the Contracting Officer.
- Level IV: Issued to the supplier’s top management when a Level III has been ineffective or the contractual nonconformity is of such a serious nature to warrant contractual remedies such as suspension of progress payments or product acceptance activities, in accordance with applicable Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)/Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement (DFARS) policies and procedures. Level IV CARs should be addressed to the supplier’s top-level management.
For Level II or higher corrective action requests, the CAR should clearly state that the request should be treated by the supplier as a customer complaint. This will ensure that information is reviewed by the supplier as part of the corrective action system. They shall cite the following minimum requirements for a Supplier’s response:
- Cause(s) of the nonconformity
- Actions taken or planned to eliminate the cause(s) and prevent recurrence of the nonconformity
- Actions taken to correct the specific nonconformity
- Whether other products are affected, including product already delivered to the customer
- Action taken to correct the weakness which allowed deficient product to be presented to the government for acceptance
- Target date(s) for implementation of planned actions
Deficiency reporting is one quality system activity to address nonconformance identified during quality assurance and surveillance. The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) field activity establishes a product deficiency reporting and correction action system to track and record the status of the products’ ability to meet user requirements with feedback to the system developer. When contract noncompliance is identified, the DCMA field activity requests a CAR, evaluates, and verifies the contractor’s corrective actions.
This government deficiency reporting system should be supported by appropriate contractor defect identification and corrective action systems that:
- Identify the root cause(s) of manufacturing, material, and design problems found in the plant and field and
- Promote design/process changes necessary to prevent their recurrence.