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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.

5 Lessons from Our 2018 Champions for Quality Winners

Feb 05, 2019  |  Eric Stoop

One of the highlights from last year’s Beacon User Summit was our first annual Champions for Quality Awards. Before jumping into what we learned from our champions, we’d like to introduce the 2018 award winners:

Catalyst Award: Tom Sholty, Girtz Industries

Sholty is a quality manager who led Girtz’s ISO 9001:2015 certification, also helping lead the company to the Quality Magazine 2018 Quality Leadership 100. His efforts helped reduce Girtz’s warranty rate to 0.26% of sales dollars and nonconformance rate to 0.89% of sales dollars, both record lows for the company.

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Revisiting Deming's 14 Points for Industry 4.0

Jan 08, 2019  |  Eric Stoop

In 1982, W. Edward Deming’s Out of the Crisis outlined 14 points companies could learn from his success helping drive the industrial boom of post-WWII Japan.

The idea that quality pays was revolutionary at the time. Today, another revolution is taking place. Industry 4.0 represents a tectonic shift in manufacturing technology focused on automation, data exchange and interconnected cyber-physical systems.

But these massive changes don’t make Deming’s points any less relevant today. In fact, Industry 4.0 reinforces many of Deming’s 14 points—and can help the next generation of quality leaders relate to these foundational concepts.

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Comparing the Costs of Manual vs. Automated Layered Process Audits

Dec 04, 2018  |  Eric Stoop

PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that by 2020, Industry 4.0 digital transformation initiatives will deliver nearly 4% in annual cost reductions for both the aerospace and automotive industries.

One area manufacturers are automating is internal audits, including the layered process audits (LPAs) required by several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). These daily checks of high-risk processes are a best practice for reducing defects, but they’re also time-consuming when tracking a large volume of audits manually.

Given the understandable scrutiny on costs, the question for auto and aerospace manufacturers becomes whether paper-based or spreadsheet-based LPAs actually cost less than automation. Here we discuss various costs to consider, including administration, implementation and quality costs—as well as hidden costs that should figure into your decision.

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3 Proven Strategies for Turning Around a Struggling Plant

Nov 20, 2018  |  Eric Stoop

Experts say that the cost of quality totals roughly 10% in the average organization, with some companies facing quality costs of up to 40%.

If your plant is on the middle to upper end of these estimates, it’s likely company leadership considers your plant in need of immediate intervention.

But what quality management solutions do you have if you’re trying to turn around a struggling plant, especially if problems are complex and habits deeply ingrained? If you’re not sure where to start, you might consider whether one of these three proven strategies could help you achieve the substantial change you need.

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How to Kick Off LPA Implementation with a Kaizen Event

Oct 02, 2018  |  Eric Stoop

The frequently referenced Learning Pyramid says an average student retains 75% of information learned through practice, compared to just 5% of what they hear in a lecture. While experts may dispute the relevance of these figures when applied to modern society, all of us can agree that we learn and retain more by doing versus being told in a classroom.

Depending on the maturity of your organization, launching or expanding a layered process audit (LPA) program can be complex and difficult to sustain.  Which is why using a whiteboard in a meeting room may not be the best choice to kick things off. 

An effective LPA program provides daily verification of high-risk processes, connecting leaders with front-line operators to develop a culture of coaching, feedback and continuous improvement. Rather than scheduling a presentation, a Kaizen event can be far more effective to get things off to a strong start, especially for plants just starting out.  

In this post, you’ll learn about Kaizen events and how they can help you get started on your LPA journey.

 

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14 Metrics Every Quality Exec Should Monitor & How to Calculate Them

Aug 27, 2018  |  Eric Stoop

As the saying goes, what gets measured gets managed. Though sometimes it’s hard to know which metrics are the most important when focused on in quality.

This post gives a high-level overview of 14 metrics every quality executive should consider monitoring, depending on your specific goals and improvement needs.

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Celebrating the Life of Quality Visionary Sergio Marchionne

Aug 01, 2018  |  Eric Stoop

On Wednesday, July 25th, Sergio Marchionne, longtime CEO of Fiat Chrysler, died due to complications after a recent shoulder surgery. We at Ease express our deepest condolences to Marchionne’s family and friends during this time.

Marchionne was a visionary, always working diligently to make positive and profitable changes to FCA and to the automotive industry as a whole.

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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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Mapping Layered Process Audits to Lean Manufacturing Principles

Mar 19, 2018  |  Eric Stoop

Roughly 7 in 10 manufacturers have implemented Lean manufacturing principles in their organizations, with 5S, Six Sigma and Kaizen representing the most popular strategies today.

One tool that supports these specific approaches and Lean manufacturing principles more generally is a layered process audit (LPA) program. LPAs draw auditors from all management layers and departments to verify mission-critical processes on a daily basis.

Let’s examine how LPAs align with Lean manufacturing principles, providing a structured approach to unlock the biggest benefits of this popular quality methodology.

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