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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.

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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Stay Lean with Manufacturing Software Solutions

Jan 12, 2016  |  Ease Inc

In manufacturing, leaders innovate and grow while followers fall prey to inefficiency and waste. A recent report from the Aberdeen Group, Lean Manufacturing: Success Starts with Visibility and Alignment, describes how manufacturing leaders consistently benefit from having tools in place to track continuous improvement activities. In addition, 61% of these high performers provide management with a comprehensive, easy-to-understand view into operations. These results reinforce the truth that lean principles are only as good as the actionable data available, and it follows that organizational integration of manufacturing software solutions is key to process improvement.

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Process Audit: Driving the Change Towards a Quality Culture

Jan 05, 2016  |  Ease Inc

When implemented correctly, layered process audits (LPAs) go beyond satisfying customer requirements by transforming an organization’s culture into one that embraces continuous improvement. This powerful audit approach pays dividends by improving safety and quality, and delivers cost savings by greatly enhancing traditional assurance systems and making continuous improvement nearly routine.

The additional layers in LPAs ensure additional eyes are looking for issues, and the rotation of participants involved provides a powerful deterrent against those eyes “looking the other way” if even marginal concerns are identified. LPAs should include a wide spectrum of employees—from shop-floor operators to executives—conducting audits in order to verify that standardized procedures are followed consistently in the continuous pursuit of quality.

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Is Your Manufacturing Plant Driven by Cost or Profit?

Dec 29, 2015  |  Ease Inc

Historically, business executives have viewed manufacturing plants as cost centers because they are units that do not produce profit directly, but instead add to the operational costs of the organization. Increasingly, however, more business leaders are daring to challenge that paradigm by stating a case to recognize manufacturing units as profit centers. This, of course, has raised eyebrows.

The shift from the narrower perspective of the manufacturing plant as a cost center into a profit driver is supported in part by concepts from the balanced scorecard approach developed by Robert Kaplan and David Norton nearly 25 years ago. More than a measurement tool, the balanced scorecard is a management system. By bringing together measures that are focused on internal processes and external outcomes, the balanced scorecard promotes continuous improvement through strategic performance and results.

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