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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.

Q&A: Casper Zublin Talks Industry 4.0 and Creating a Culture of Quality

Jan 28, 2020  |  Ease Inc

In our new Q&A column, we’re interviewing top manufacturing experts about industry trends and solutions to common quality challenges.

We recently talked with Casper Zublin, president of International Rubber Products (IRP), about rising quality expectations, Industry 4.0 and how to build a culture of quality. IRP’s three divisions manufacture liquid silicone rubber for medical device components (IRP Medical), precision rubber rollers (ABBA Roller) and elastomer components for aerospace and defense (MikronPMP Aerospace).

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AIAG 2019 Quality Summit Highlights

Nov 15, 2019  |  Ease Inc

On October 2-3, 2019, the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) hosted its annual Quality Summit, an event that draws hundreds of industry leaders every year. As in previous years, the event took place at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan, a familiar venue for those who have attended in the past.

We talked with Murray Sittsamer, president of The Luminous Group, and John Rose, quality systems manager for Jacobs Vehicle Systems, about the event. Some of the highlights from this year’s summit include key updates from industry groups about new quality initiatives, informational sessions and even a celebrity appearance.

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How to Hire a Great Quality Engineer

Nov 06, 2019  |  Ease Inc

According to a Deloitte study on the manufacturing skills gap, the U.S. will need to fill 4.6 million manufacturing jobs over the next decade, but over half of those are likely to sit vacant.

It’s a grim prospect for the manufacturing industry, where the average time to fill a position rose from 94 to 118 days from 2015 to 2018. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data show that as of September 2019, a full 500,000 manufacturing jobs remain open, a problem that affects nearly every company in the industry.

Quality departments are already feeling the pain, with a quick search of Indeed showing thousands of open positions for quality engineers nationwide.

What can companies do to adapt to the skills gap? And how can they ensure they’re bringing on the right hires?

To answer these questions and learn how to hire a great quality engineer, we talked to Craig Nowotny, general manager of Arthur Wright & Associates. The staffing firm focuses exclusively on filling positions in manufacturing, engineering and operations, an area where Nowotny has nearly 30 years of experience.

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The Future of Layered Process Audits

Jul 23, 2019  |  Ease Inc

With growth of digitalization in manufacturing, what does the future hold for Layered Process Audits (LPA)?  LPAs today generally verify human conformance to key processes with and outside set of eyes. But with automation, what will humans be doing?... and eyeballs won’t be as accurate as sensors.

Based on a presentation given by Murray Sittsamer and Richard Nave of The Luminous Group at our 2019 Beacon User Summit, this post will discuss the what layered process audit programs might look like in the future with advancement in technology. 

Industry 4.0 will be a $155 billion market by 2024, part of a rapid growth in technologies like machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) revolutionizing the manufacturing industry. 

As Industry 4.0 picks up steam in automotive and aerospace manufacturing, we are witnessing an evolution towards more sensors, more data communication and more analytics. And while layered process audits (LPAs) could drive even more powerful quality insights and actions, companies also need to be aware of—and hopefully avoid—the potential downsides. 

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Announcing Beacon 1.13: New Languages, Improved Reports and Mobile Support

Aug 16, 2016  |  Ease Inc

We are excited to announce the latest Beacon update, which adds features designed to help teams improve global quality control. The 1.13 release includes new languages, improved reports, and enhanced mobile support.  Continue reading to learn more about the specific feature enhancements.

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From Automotive to Aerospace: Key Cross-Industry Learnings on Quality Management

Jul 14, 2016  |  Ease Inc

What is quality management? 

Quality management ensures that products or services are consistent and conform to approved standards across key areas including planning, control, assurance and improvement. Quality management not only monitors product and service quality, but also assesses and examines the associated processes.  It's a big deal in every every industry - from automotive to aerospace.


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Slideshare: Auditing the Process - Prevent Costly Process Failures

May 05, 2016  |  Ease Inc

Automotive and aerospace manufacturers continue to suffer from customer complaints, warranty claims and product recalls which result in high financial costs and damaged brand value.

Process related failures represent the largest component of the cost of quality. This presentation discusses the process errors involved and the difference between a standard audit, layered audit and using a layered audit platform to streamline deployment throughout the enterprise.

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Mobile Devices in Manufacturing Environments

Feb 25, 2016  |  Ease Inc

Whether it’s due to the Internet of Things (IoT) or simply the remarkable decline in cost, companies are rushing to equip their employees with smart mobile devices or allowing them to bring their own device to access work systems. Manufacturing has tended to lag in this area, but as devices have become cheaper and more rugged, this area has seen an influx of smart devices as well, and they are playing a crucial role in plant operations. In fact, a recent joint study by LNS Research and MESA International showed that 54 percent of plant supervisors and 53 percent of plant managers could expect to use mobile devices to supply all of the needed information to fulfill their job responsibilities.

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How to Use PFMEA to Jump-Start the Layered Process Audit Process

Jan 26, 2016  |  Ease Inc

In a manufacturing environment, it’s common for teams to run into Murphy’s Law - the notion that “anything that can go wrong, will.” A simple day that starts with an employee calling in sick, can escalate through other events such as a workstation running out of parts, a machine shutting down for unknown reasons, or similar issues which result in missing production targets for the week.

In order to minimize risks, plants should use a Layered Process Audit (LPA) program to ensure that the most important controls to prevent defects and waste are in place.  But with so many things that can go wrong, where do you start?  

One great tool to consider is Process-FMEA (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis). Teams that are looking to start a Layered Process Audit (LPA) program often have a long standing practice of doing PFMEA to determine their areas of high risk and frequent failures. Teams can use the Risk Priority Number (RPN) calculated from PFMEA as the basis for focus areas to prioritize when developing LPA questions.

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