A Corrective Action Request (CAR) is sent to a supplier where an item, goods, service, or process is in nonconformity, and a remedy is required. The notification requests the supplier to explain the reason for and proposed solution for a nonconformity discovered. CARs are normally determined during quality assurance activities. Each organization will have its own specific CAR form, process, and procedures.
Definition: A Corrective Action Request (CAR) is a type of change request that documents a problem with a product or process and requests the root cause of a nonconformity be removed.
Purpose of a Corrective Action Request (CAR)
The purpose of a CAR is to request a fix of a nonconformity’s root cause to remedy and resolve an issue with a product or process.
Corrective Action Request (CAR) Levels
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. At 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.
Corrective Action Request (CAR) Level II or Higher
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 products already delivered to the customer
- Action taken to correct the weakness which allowed the deficient product to be presented to the government for acceptance
- Target date(s) for implementation of planned actions
Steps in Developing a Corrective Action Request (CAR)
There are seven steps associated with developing a CAR. These are:
- Step 1: Define the problem and detail the corrective actions that need to take place to solve the problem.
- Step 2: Conduct a Root Cause Analysis
- Step 3: Define the appropriate CAR level
- Step 4: Determine the appropriate time to issue CARs
- Step 5: Determine the cost, schedule, and performance impacts of the CAR
- Step 6: Conduct CAR status checks
- Step 7: Determine when the problem has been solved
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 corrective action system to track and record the status of the product’s ability to meet user requirements with feedback to the system developer. When contract non-compliance 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.