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Beacon Quality Blog

A blog on plant floor quality: IATF 16949:2016, ISO 9001:2015, layered process audits, 5S, health and safety, gemba & more. Our software, Beacon Quality, simplifies these processes with our mobile auditing solution.

Familiarity Isn't Enough: How to Understand and Fix Manufacturing Processes

Jul 16, 2018  |  Richard Ruiz

Anyone who’s hired a quality management consultant knows that familiarity with processes isn’t necessarily the same as understanding them. The consultant’s outside perspective is often their greatest value, allowing them to ask questions that challenge the status quo.

And yet, many automotive and aerospace manufacturers still tend to mistake process familiarity for true understanding, an error that breeds complacency, variance and defects.

A layered process audit (LPA) program is a high-frequency auditing strategy that can bring these variances to the surface. However, LPAs only work when they drive a deeper understanding of your processes via the right questions, frequency and cross-functional participation.

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How Layered Process Audits Foster Quality Management Maturity (chart included)

Jul 02, 2018  |  Richard Ruiz

Management expert Philip Crosby famously asserted that quality is free, declaring that managing defects always costs more than doing things right the first time.

It’s even the title of his 1979 book Quality Is Free, which provides Crosby’s detailed quality maturity grid for helping organizations evaluate their performance.

Quality management maturity should obviously be every auto and aerospace manufacturer’s goal, but it can be hard to get from point A to point B. High-frequency audit strategies, specifically layered process audits (LPAs), provide a defined path for getting there.

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Gemba Walk Checklist Template

Jun 25, 2018  |  Shawn Faircloth

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Corrective Action vs. Preventive Action: Knowing When to Use Them

Jun 18, 2018  |  Eric Stoop

What’s the difference between corrective and preventive action? It’s a frequent debate in quality circles, often prompted by confusion over what to expect in an ISO certification audit.

More than just a compliance issue, however, understanding the difference can help manufacturers incorporate risk-based thinking into their processes, opening up new avenues for reducing defects and costs.

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Layered Process Audit Checklist Template: 10 Questions to Get Started

Jun 15, 2018  |  Richard Ruiz

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Improving Your FMEA Process

Jun 11, 2018  |  Scot Larsen

Failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) is a core tool for reducing automotive and aerospace manufacturing risks. And yet, companies routinely waste 80% of the potential value of the FMEA process.

Particularly for manufacturers on the lower end of the maturity spectrum, FMEAs are simply a theoretical exercise for maintaining a certification or meeting customer requirements. These manufacturers may fill out an FMEA and even add a few countermeasures, but ultimately it’s just another form to file away and forget about.

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3 Quality Tools to Quickly Reduce Defects and Costs

May 21, 2018  |  Stephen Salata

It’s an open secret that many automotive and aerospace manufacturers have unacceptably high defects and costs. And where defects are on the rise, quality costs aren’t far behind.

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What Auto Suppliers Need to Know About New GM BIQS

May 15, 2018  |  Shawn Faircloth

In 2016, General Motors (GM) instituted a new supplier quality program called Built in Quality Supply (BIQS), representing a major departure from its previous Quality Systems Basics (QSB) program.

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Corrective Action: How to Sustain the Gain

Apr 30, 2018  |  Paul Foster

Equipment downtime gets expensive fast in automotive and aerospace manufacturing, a risk many companies try to mitigate by storing spare parts onsite. A machine breaks down, haul out the parts and hopefully you’re back in business with minimal disruption.

The problem is, manufacturers get so wrapped up in hitting production targets that they don’t stop to ask why the machine went down in the first place.

The result? The equipment goes down again, whether two days, two weeks or two months later, causing additional downtime because the “corrective” action was never designed to last.

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With Margins Shrinking, Is It Time for Aerospace to Act on Quality?

Apr 23, 2018  |  Grant Nadell

Boeing is demanding its suppliers to reduce their prices by 10% according to a February article published in Bloomberg Business Week. It’s a hard pill for many to swallow given that that these cuts are on top of the roughly 15% cuts demanded in 2012 when the company launched its Partnering for Success program.

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