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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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7 Types of Questions to Include in Process Audit Checklists

Jul 23, 2018  |  Paul Foster

Companies that implement a layered process audit (LPA) system must account for a wide variety of questions. Which process areas will you audit?  How often will you audit them? What will the process audits cover? How will you take action when you find non-conformances?

At the heart of these high-frequency checks, however, are the questions you include in your actual audit checklists to verify processes are being done right. We’ve discussed strategies for writing LPA questions, such as providing context on why and how to check individual items. Today, we’re examining 7 types of questions to consider for your process audit checklists, including:

    • Safety
    • Materials
    • Motions
    • Workstation design
    • Process for reporting issues
    • Documentation
    • Follow-up

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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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New IATF 16949 requirements: Your FAQs Answered

Feb 26, 2018  |  Eric Stoop

By all accounts, the transition from ISO/TS 16949 to IATF 16949 has been a bumpy road so far. The standard encompasses a range of new requirements, including major changes to parent standard ISO 9001. Added to that, General Motors (GM) recently issued new customer-specific requirements that have significant implications for internal audits.

Many suppliers still have questions about what the new requirements are, what they should be doing to prepare and what auditors are looking to see. Time is running out, so it’s critical that organizations take action now to avoid any unnecessary delays or business interruptions due to certification issues.

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Using Layered Process Audits to Support AS9100 Compliance

Oct 16, 2017  |  Eric Stoop

The transition to AS9100:2016 for Aerospace Management Systems is officially underway. Audits can no longer be conducted to the earlier version of the standard, and old certificates will expire on September 15, 2018.

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Top 5 IATF 16949 Challenges (and How to Solve Them)

Aug 21, 2017  |  Joe Bollard

As of September 14, 2018, ISO/TS 16949 certificates will no longer be valid, requiring automotive suppliers to certify to the new version, IATF 16949. Transition audits are underway and will continue into next year, but many companies still have a long way to go to prepare. 

Let’s look at some of the biggest challenges companies are facing, including new requirements that could trip you up and how to efficiently document compliance.

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Using PFMEA to Recognize Opportunities for Layered Process Audits

Nov 12, 2015  |  Ease Inc

Does your organization use process failure modes and effects analysis (PFMEA) on a routine basis to identify potential failures in product design, manufacturing or assembly processes? If so, this practice could do double duty by also serving as an effective technique for identifying at-risk processes on which to focus your layered process audits (LPAs).

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Implementing a Culture of Quality Using LPA Systems

Nov 03, 2015  |  Ease Inc

Not too long ago, the Harvard Business Review published an article suggesting what companies should do in order to institute a culture of quality. The article is based in large part on a two-year study that CEB, Inc. conducted on the subject. The research and the article promote a number of provocative ideas:

  • Social media marketing has made it easy for consumers and customers to compare products and register complaints, which drives companies to emphasise quality more than ever.
  • Since the Great Recession in 2008-2009, cycle times have decreased, and output gains have increased faster than employment levels, with employees often struggling to keep up and maintain quality.
  • The traditional approach to instituting quality—monetary incentives, sharing best practices, and training—does not alone produce a culture of quality.
  • Employees and companies that live quality—in other words, when people are fervent about quality as a personal value, rather than a value ordered from the top down—best create a culture of quality.

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Creating a Supplier Audit Checklist That Covers All Your Bases

Oct 15, 2015  |  Ease Inc

With most endeavors the amount of detail and forethought you devote to your preparations, the better your final result, and layered process audits (LPAs) are no exception. One of the most significant tasks of implementing an LPA system is writing the questions for your LPA checklists. Spending time upfront to investigate what has gone wrong in the past with your processes provides valuable insight for preparing an audit checklist that covers all the bases to satisfy your customers and promote a culture of quality throughout your organization.

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