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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 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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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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3 Signs Your Company Is Ready for a Layered Process Audit Program

Aug 07, 2017  |  Eric Stoop

Layered process audits (LPAs) are a powerful strategy for helping auto and aerospace suppliers achieve their quality goals. At the same time, LPAs are also one of the most involved types of audits.

In an LPA program, different layers of the organization participate in daily checks of processes known to impact product quality. These checks catch process errors upstream, reducing variation to minimize scrap, rework and customer returns.

Because of the high frequency of audits, companies often find it difficult to leverage the full potential of LPA programs. How do you know if you’re ready for LPAs? It all depends on your motivation, leadership engagement and a willingness to automate your processes. Let’s look at these elements more in depth.

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The ROI of Layered Process Audit Systems

Aug 01, 2017  |  Rachel Beavins Tracy

While it’s often thought to be much lower, multiple sources have measured quality-related costs at 10 to 20% or more of an organization’s annual revenue. Put simply, that means a company with $1 billion in annual revenue loses $100 million or more from its bottom line as a price for quality.

It’s a huge number, a fact recognized by companies heavily invested in Lean, Six Sigma and other operational excellence initiatives. And while results of these programs are often reported as savings over several years, layered process audit (LPA) programs are simple and effective enough to drive big results in a matter of months.

LPAs require checking high-risk processes as often as every shift, drawing auditors from every layer of the organization. Automation is key to achieving this frequency with minimal overhead, reducing quality costs, improving visibility and developing a culture of quality.

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