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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.

6 Dashboard Metrics for Your LPA Program

Jun 24, 2019  |  Chris Shoe

Implementing layered process audits (LPAs) in your facility can mean conducting hundreds of audits every single month, a process that generates a large volume of quality data.

As manufacturers lean into Industry 4.0 initiatives, that volume of data is only growing. But according to Forrester, up to 73% of data within businesses never gets analyzed.

How can automotive and aerospace manufacturers leverage more of their LPA data to maintain steady progress towards their quality goals?

The answer lies in dashboarding, which allows teams to keep their most important metrics front and center for more effective communication and goal-setting. This post looks at some of the most critical numbers to focus on in order to ensure your LPA program is effective at driving down defects, complaints and costs.

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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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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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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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3 Things to Know About GM IATF 16949 Layered Process Audit Requirements

Jan 22, 2018  |  Paul Foster

Section 9.2.2.3 of General Motors (GM) IATF 16949 customer-specific requirements states,

“The organization shall incorporate an internal layered process audit process to assess compliance to standardized processes, to identify opportunities for continuous improvement, and to provide coaching opportunities.”

Layered process audits (LPAs) provide daily checks of high-risk processes and known customer issues, involving all layers of the organization and holding management accountable for quality. GM lists just nine elements in its IATF 16949 customer-specific requirements, but those few lines pack a huge punch in terms of their impact on supplier operations.

Suppliers must also read between those lines to earn or maintain IATF certification, addressing areas like management participation, corrective action verification and key performance indicator (KPI) tracking.

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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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How to Write Effective Layered Process Audit Questions

Jan 01, 2018  |  Paul Foster

Famous businessman Robert Half once said, “Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers.”

It’s true whether we’re talking about interviewing and hiring—Half founded one of the largest global staffing firms—or whether we’re talking about quality management. The need to ask thoughtful questions to gain valuable information is especially critical when it comes to creating layered process audit (LPA) checklists.

In an LPA program, multiple layers of management audit high-risk processes at varying intervals, conducting daily checks that systematically reduce variation. These process audits are powerful because of their high frequency, and their ability to provide a real-time snapshot of shop floor processes critical to quality.

As for whether a company can achieve the biggest benefits from LPAs? That all depends on whether you have well-written questions—and how frequently you update them.

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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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Layered Process Audit Implementation Basics for Aerospace Companies

Dec 18, 2017  |  Scot Larsen

Ask any meeting of automotive quality professionals, and the majority could tell you what a layered process audit (LPA) is. In aerospace, that number is smaller but growing. Aerospace suppliers and OEMs are just starting to realize the kind of transformation they can achieve by implementing an LPA program.

LPAs are high-frequency process audits that are helping aerospace companies dramatically reduce defects, quality costs and customer complaints. Organizations thinking about starting LPAs first need to understand how these unique process audits work, and what to expect during the implementation process.

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