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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.

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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Manufacturing Quality Control: The Difference Between Product and Process Audits

Jul 30, 2018  |  Paul Foster

Imagine you’re a supplier seeing a troubling spike in returns over a component with high failure rates. After a lengthy investigation and millions in warranty costs, you discover certain workstations haven’t been heating a product element to the right temperature.

Having already distributed tens of thousands of faulty components, you realize the problem is far from over, putting your most important contracts at risk.

How does this happen, even with a robust system of product audits? The simple fact is that product inspections don’t always catch process issues responsible for defects. And while quality checks in manufacturing tend to center on product audits, process audits are just as (or even more) important to quality. Let’s look at the difference between product and process audits, and how they work together in the big picture of quality.

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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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Creating a Gemba Walk Checklist

Oct 10, 2017  |  Eric Stoop

They say what gets measured gets managed, but what about the things you can’t measure—the ones you need to see with your own eyes to understand?

Like the workstation that could be set up for faster throughput. Or the critical calibration tool that happens to be chronically broken. Or the process that has too many steps, creating a bottleneck. In these and other situations, identifying the right solution often means going to see the source of problems firsthand.

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Layered Process Audit Systems: Making an Impact Leadership Will Notice

Aug 14, 2017  |  Nicolas Minbiole

Quality professionals are the unsung heroes of manufacturing. Your top goal is reducing defects and improving quality, and yet sometimes it feels like all you get is resistance.

Taking the time to do things right can impact production targets, often meaning that quality is only valuable to the point that it reduces defects to tolerable levels. In many cases, you’re also contending with inefficient systems focused more on reacting to problems than preventing them.

If you’re facing these roadblocks and wondering how you can make your mark, a layered process audit (LPA) program is a high-return initiative that can help you do it.

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User Summit Notes: Layered Process Audit Tips from Leading Companies

Aug 08, 2017  |  Shawn Faircloth

The 2017 Beacon User Summit convened auto and aerospace manufacturers looking to trade strategies on creating a culture of quality and using layered process audit (LPA) software.

One of the most interesting sessions was a customer panel discussion on how companies are leveraging LPAs to improve quality. To help you learn from their expertise, we’ve distilled the discussion into the top best practices for companies looking to implement LPAs.

(image by http://caeventphotos.com/)

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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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How to Use the 8D Method to Find the Root Cause of Nonconformances

Dec 09, 2015  |  Shawn Faircloth

The 8D method, also known as the 8 Disciplines, first appeared in Ford’s 1987 Team-Oriented Problem Solving manual. It’s a tool that’s stood the test of time, becoming the main problem-solving method used in the company, today called Global 8D. 

Even though the 8D approach has been around for more than thirty years, many companies still struggle with ineffective problem-solving and weak implementation of corrective action.

This overview looks at 8D best practices and pitfalls to avoid, helping manufacturers better understand how to use the method to address nonconformances and reduce risk.

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27 Key Manufacturing Quality Metrics Your Plant Needs to Implement Now

Oct 13, 2015  |  Ease Inc

You’ve heard it before: What gets measured gets done. Part of planning to reach an objective is measuring what must be improved in order to move forward—in a word, metrics. Metrics give companies a way to define success and a path toward achieving their goals.

Quality Standards

Plant managers and owners strive to ensure that their plants comply with quality standards. One of the best ways to achieve this is to use metrics.

Employing an array of key metrics can help assure that plant personnel identifies details that ultimately make up the objective and meet the standards quality owners and managers require. Having definite measurements, targets, and planned actions (the first three parts of the SMART mnemonic: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-Based) helps achieve the high standards managers and owners set while recognizing that goals that are too lofty often can lead to worker discouragement.

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