Origin of nonconformities

A nonconformity can be detected from various sources. For example, from an internal audit or an internal/external signal, from a complaint or from an audit by a certification body, such as Brand Compliance.

Types of nonconformities

Nonconformities are categorized into the following two degrees:

Major nonconformity

This is a failure to meet a requirement that affects the management system’s ability to achieve its intended results.
* For example, when no internal audits or a management review have been performed.

Minor nonconformity

This is a failure to meet a requirement that does not affect the management system’s ability to achieve the intended results.
* Consider, for example, the use of an incorrect version of a document.

Resolving nonconformities

It is important that a nonconformity within the management system is solved properly and adequately. Dealing with nonconformities can be done in different ways. It is important that the method matches the standard against which you want to be certified. There are a number of points for attention that must be followed in order to arrive at a thorough handling of the nonconformity.

We list the points of attention for you:

    • Determine cause and extent
      There are several methods to find out the cause of the abnormality. The most well-known methods that can be used are, for example, the Ishikawa-diagram or the 5 times why method.
    • Correction on the nonconformity
      If the extent of the nonconformity is known, a correction can be made. In fact, this restores everything that went wrong (in the past).
    • Take corrective actions
      To prevent recurrence, so-called ‘corrective actions’ must be taken to remove the identified cause.
    • Verification
      After the corrective actions have been taken, it must be checked whether the actions have worked. If the nonconformity no longer occurs under the same circumstances, the corrective actions taken have worked and the nonconformity can be closed. If the corrective actions have not worked sufficiently, you may not have identified the correct root cause.


In the closing meeting of the audit, any nonconformities that the Lead Auditor has found during the audit will be communicated to you. You will receive a nonconformity form that you must complete. This nonconformity form must be submitted to the Lead Auditor within a specified period, for both major and minor nonconformities.

Of course, you are allowed to handle the nonconformities faster than the agreed terms. For example, you would like to receive your certificate as soon as possible? Then you can speed up the process of solving the nonconformities and submit the forms earlier. Agree with your auditor about the options for assessing your forms.

Finalizing nonconformities

For a minor nonconformity, you should initially provide a plan of action. You must analyze the cause of deviations and describe which specific corrections and corrective measures you have applied or have planned to apply, in order to eliminate the deviations found within the specified period.

The auditor will review the corrections, identified causes and corrective actions you have submitted to determine whether they are acceptable. The effectiveness of corrections and corrective actions will be verified by the auditor at the latest during the next audit.

For a major nonconformity, you must complete all steps, including verification, before the auditor verifies the effectiveness of corrections and corrective actions. This process must be completed in full for a major nonconformity before certification can be proceeded with.