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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.

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 Layered Process Audits Foster Quality Management Maturity (chart included)

Jul 02, 2018  |  Richard Ruiz

Management expert Philip Crosby famously asserted that quality is free, declaring that managing defects always costs more than doing things right the first time.

It’s even the title of his 1979 book Quality Is Free, which provides Crosby’s detailed quality maturity grid for helping organizations evaluate their performance.

Quality management maturity should obviously be every auto and aerospace manufacturer’s goal, but it can be hard to get from point A to point B. High-frequency audit strategies, specifically layered process audits (LPAs), provide a defined path for getting there.

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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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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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Using the 80/20 Rule to Improve Quality in Auto and Aerospace Manufacturing

Mar 12, 2018  |  Scot Larsen

Pareto’s Law, also known as the 80/20 rule, tells us that 20% of inputs are responsible for 80% of results. Even when it’s not an even 80/20 split, the idea that a few factors drive a large proportion of outcomes applies to many business processes and everyday situations.

Like how a majority of complaints often result from a few key defects. Or how 20% of our time accounts for 80% of our productivity, with the remaining 80% spent on meaningless tasks.

In the automotive and aerospace industries, organizations can use a range of tools to leverage the 80/20 rule for bigger, faster quality improvements. Pareto management is the most obvious of these, but manufacturers should also apply the rule to performance metrics, risk management and audits.

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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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Layered Process Audit FAQs for Aerospace: Who, What, When, How and Why

Dec 26, 2017  |  Eric Stoop

Leading automotive companies require suppliers to conduct layered process audits (LPAs), a requirement experts say may soon come to aerospace companies via the AS9100 standard.

LPAs provide daily checks of high-risk processes, verifying operator adherence to standard processes to minimize variation and defects. Aerospace companies that implement LPAs have cut defects by 53% in six months, offering convincing evidence that these frequent audits are worth the investment in time and resources.

 

For those considering implementing LPAs or information on best practices, following is an overview of LPA basics, addressing questions like who should participate, what LPAs cover, how to implement them and why they’re critical to quality.

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7 Habits of a Mature Quality Culture

Nov 06, 2017  |  Eric Stoop

According to Harvard Business Review, less than half of employees say their organization exhibits a culture of quality. And while the benefits of quality culture are huge—think hundreds of millions in savings—getting there doesn’t happen overnight.

Instead, it requires sustainable habits that provide a foundation for long-term change. Below, we look at 7 of the most important habits of a mature quality culture.

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Top Problems Preventing Aerospace Suppliers from Creating a Culture of Quality

Sep 13, 2017  |  Eric Stoop

In December of 1998, NASA launched the Mars Climate Orbiter, a robotic space probe intended as the communications relay for the Mars Polar Lander. By September of 1999, the spacecraft had disintegrated after coming too close to Mars and passing into its upper atmosphere.

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