Deutsch: Nichtkonformität / Español: No conformidad / Português: Não conformidade / Français: Non-conformité / Italiano: Non conformità

Nonconformity in the context of quality management refers to a deviation from specified requirements, standards, or expectations. It indicates a failure to meet one or more predefined criteria, which can relate to products, processes, or the quality management system itself. Identifying and addressing nonconformities is essential for maintaining high-quality standards, achieving customer satisfaction, and ensuring continuous improvement.


Nonconformity is a key concept in quality management that underscores the importance of adherence to established standards and procedures. It is identified through audits, inspections, testing, or customer feedback. Once a nonconformity is detected, it is crucial to analyze its cause, implement corrective actions to resolve the immediate issue, and take preventive measures to avoid recurrence.


Managing nonconformities involves several steps, including their identification, documentation, evaluation, and the determination of necessary corrective and preventive actions. This process ensures that nonconformities are systematically addressed, thereby preventing their impact on the organization's operations and its products or services. Effective management of nonconformities is a hallmark of a mature quality management system, reflecting an organization's commitment to quality, compliance, and continuous improvement.

Application Areas

  1. Product quality and safety
  2. Service delivery and customer satisfaction
  3. Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements
  4. Internal processes and efficiency
  5. Environmental management


  • A product failing to meet safety standards during quality control testing.
  • A service not delivered within the promised timeframe.
  • A discrepancy found during an internal audit against ISO 9001 standards.


  • Unaddressed nonconformities can lead to customer dissatisfaction, loss of business, and damage to reputation.
  • They may result in legal or regulatory penalties if they involve non-compliance with mandatory standards.
  • Repeated nonconformities indicate systemic issues within the quality management system.


Organizations should:

  • Foster a culture that encourages the reporting and constructive handling of nonconformities.
  • Use nonconformities as opportunities for learning and improvement.
  • Implement a robust quality management system that includes clear procedures for managing nonconformities.


Effective resolution of nonconformities involves:

  • Immediate containment actions to prevent further impact.
  • Root cause analysis to identify underlying issues.
  • Implementation of corrective actions to address the specific nonconformity.
  • Preventive actions to mitigate the risk of similar nonconformities in the future.

History and Legal Basics

The concept of nonconformity has been central to quality management theories and practices, evolving with the development of standards such as ISO 9001. These standards provide a framework for identifying, analyzing, and addressing nonconformities, emphasizing the importance of continuous improvement in quality management systems.

Examples of Sentences

  • "Upon detecting a nonconformity, the team initiated a corrective action plan to rectify the issue."
  • "The recent audit revealed several nonconformities that need to be addressed to maintain our ISO 9001 certification."
  • "Analyzing patterns of nonconformity helps us improve our processes and prevent future issues."
  • "Effective management of nonconformities is crucial for sustaining high-quality output and customer trust."

Similar Terms or Synonyms

  • Deviation
  • Defect
  • Discrepancy
  • Non-compliance



Nonconformity in quality management signifies any deviation from established standards or expectations, encompassing product defects, process inefficiencies, or system failures. Identifying, documenting, and rectifying nonconformities are critical for ensuring product quality, customer satisfaction, and the overall effectiveness of the quality management system. Through a systematic approach to managing nonconformities, organizations can drive continuous improvement and maintain their commitment to quality standards.


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