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Why we need more nonconformity report (NCR)

Non-Conformance Reports (NCR) are a necessary function of a compliant quality system, and if properly used can be a great asset to any project or manufacturing process. NCR have a stigma as being a report to show how one person or group of people are not performing during a project or manufacturing process. Mostly NCR’s come for the process or procedures that are in place to verify that they are operating as indeed or they need to be revised to perform properly.

Example: A third-party inspector is assigned to witness a hydrostatic test and review of documentation of a pressure vessel at the manufacturer’s facility.

During the review of the approved drawings the inspector and documentation, the inspector notes that the test is pressure is 400psi for a length of 1 hour. The test is started after the JSA for the test, the pressure is increased step by step until 400psi is reached. Everything is running well until the 45-minute mark and the pressure drops unexpectedly.

The inspector checks vessel body and weld seam and turns out one of the nozzle to shell weld joint is leaking. He realizes water droplet is continuously forming and drops to the floor.
The test stops and supplier drains the water from the vessel. The hydrostatic test was failed for nozzle to shell joint defect and failure.

In the next step, the supplier provides the inspector with material test report and NDE test reports. He reviews the test reports with satisfactory result.

The inspector writes source inspection report and one NCR report. He writes his source inspection report and indicates how he checked material test report and NDE test reports and also mentions the result of the review.

Similarly, he explains about the hydrostatic testing report and how the vessel failed under hydrostatic testing pressure.

Also, he has to fill out a nonconformity report. A nonconformity report generally contains the following information:

  • Customer data such as name, location and contact person
  • Supplier data such as name, location and contact person
  • Order data such as purchase order No., date of NCR, Tag No., etc.
  • Details of nonconformance; here the inspector explains the detail of incident and how the vessel nozzle to shell joint failed under hydrostatic pressure
  • Proposed Corrective Action; this part generally is filled by the supplier and indicates how the supplier wants to fix the issue, and normally there are 3 fields for check mark ( accept as is, repair/rework, reject & replace) with one narrative box. The supplier picks one of above 3 mentioned options and explains how they are going to fix it.

In the end, there are some fields for customer approval and responsible people.

As mentioned in above, the NCR report is a supplementary report for source inspection report to explain what will be the correction action and how the customer will approve this correction action.

In the example given above the NCR is functioning as documentation for a rejectable weld, engineering recommendation, clients approval of those recommendation, and tracking of the repairs. A well documented NCR can give the quality team with much needed data for a root cause analysis. That analysis can lead to the actual issue of the NCR?

  • Did the weld receive proper pre-heat?
  • Did the welder use the proper rod?
  • Was the welder in an awkward position when welding?
  • Etc.…

After the NCR has been completed and the root cause has been determined, the team will be able to apply that knowledge to the vessel described to make sure this condition does not happen again. The non-conformance along with the root cause analysis all will be used for the continuing improvement of the fabrication process along with worker knowledge.

Without an NCR the processes and procedures being used will continued to be followed causing the same rejectable condition over and over again. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

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