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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.

Risk Management for Automotive Suppliers: 4 Critical Places to Focus

Apr 09, 2019  |  Paul Foster

When you look at standards like IATF 16949 or ISO 9001, the requirements boil down to two essential elements: improving customer satisfaction and reducing risk.

They go hand in hand, because effective risk management means safer products and happier customers—and fewer problems for their suppliers.

To help automotive suppliers proactively avoid quality and safety issues, we’re looking at 4 important places to focus for improving risk management and reducing costs.

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7 Signs Your LPA Program is Struggling

Jan 22, 2019  |  Richard Ruiz

If your organization conducts layered process audits (LPAs), which of these statements accurately describes your results?

A. We’ve significantly reduced defects and complaints, using these high-frequency process audits to improve standardization.

B. We’ve been doing LPAs for awhile, but we’re not seeing much change in quality.

Those of you that answered B may question if LPAs are just a pointless customer requirement, or whether there are deeper problems within your approach. Here we examine 7 signs of a struggling LPA program, with tips and strategies for improving your results.

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How to Talk to Your Quality Director About LPA Software

Nov 06, 2018  |  Joe Bollard

Layered process audits (LPAs) are mandatory for automotive suppliers and growing in popularity in the aerospace industry due to its effectiveness in improving quality at the process level. However, you may find that an effective LPA program isn’t easy to manage when done manually through spreadsheets, resulting in administrative burden.

Maybe you’re doing ok scheduling these high-frequency audits, but people are just checking the box during the process checks (if they complete them at all). Or maybe you’re bogged down in reporting, and it’s taking too long to find and fix problems.

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Mobile Audits & Corrective Actions: Are Devices Safe on the Plant Floor?

Oct 09, 2018  |  Scot Larsen

Mobile device usage in the workplace is skyrocketing, with research from Digital Strategy Consulting showing that 6 in 10 employees use apps for work activities. Of those using department-specific apps, more than half report increased productivity as a result.

Even manufacturing is seeing the effect, as mobile audit and corrective action apps become increasingly popular for helping quality management teams find and fix problems faster. But is it really safe to introduce mobile devices on the plant floor, given questions around data security and intellectual property?

Today we compare the risks and rewards of mobile audit and corrective action apps for manufacturers, and how you can protect your sensitive data.

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How Mobile Audit Tools Accelerate AIAG's Quality Road Map

Aug 13, 2018  |  Paul Foster

The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) has many resources for companies focused on continuous improvement, represented as a set of key checkpoints on its Road Map to Quality Success.

While it looks like a simple set of steps, the path isn’t necessarily straightforward. Each step is a process in and of itself, but there is one common tool that will help you get from point A to point B: audits.

Today we're looking at how audits, and specifically mobile audit tools, can help accelerate your progress towards quality goals.

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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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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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5 Reasons Why Corrective Actions Miss the Mark

Mar 26, 2018  |  Shawn Faircloth

The cost of ineffective corrective action can be astronomical when you consider the monetary and reputational impact of delayed problem-solving. On a small scale, repeat problems—even minor errors—send a message to customers that you just don’t care to get it right.

And when poor problem-solving leads to more significant quality escapes? You could be looking at $10,000 per minute from the customer in line stoppage charges, or even a $10 million dollar recall.

To ensure corrective actions reduce risk, automotive and aerospace suppliers need to avoid key mistakes around measuring effectiveness, root cause analysis and tracking closure.

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5 Benefits of Layered Process Audits for Aerospace Suppliers

Jan 02, 2018  |  Eric Stoop

With only a handful of aerospace original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as potential customers, aerospace suppliers have to hustle to make sure they’re selected. Stand out for the right reasons, and you could solidify 20 years worth of business. Make the wrong impression, and you could miss out on tens of millions (or more) in sales.

Taking a page from auto manufacturers, aerospace suppliers are increasingly adopting layered process audits (LPAs) as a way to build a competitive edge. LPAs help achieve many quality goals beyond cost and defect reduction, including one that can be hard to pin down: creating a culture of quality.

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