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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.

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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How to Implement a Layered Process Audit System Across Your Plant

Dec 04, 2017  |  Paul Foster

First, the good news: You've just landed a contract with a major automaker, an opportunity that promises to be a huge game-changer for your organization.

Now the not-so-good news: the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) requires you to implement a layered process audit (LPA) program across your plant. LPAs are a sub-type of process audits that apply multiple layers of checks to process inputs known to affect quality. LPAs verify that operators are following standard procedures every shift to minimize variation, defects and costs.

Implementing these high-frequency audits is a condition of doing business with leading automotive OEMs, but they also build the foundation for quality culture. Here we discuss the main steps of implementation, including planning your LPA program, conducting audits and ongoing improvement.

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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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Making the Most of Your Layered Process Audit Data

Oct 31, 2017  |  Nicolas Minbiole

Layered process audit (LPA) programs generate prolific data from process audits that take place as often as multiple times per shift. Distilling actionable insights from the data sets can be overwhelming, so it’s important to ask—are you looking at the right data?

The answer lies in using a mix of both proactive and reactive data, and focusing on the critical few metrics driving your most important quality goals. Companies must also leverage internal resources to take action quickly, rather than getting bogged down in data collection and analysis.

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Why Cross-Functional Teams Are Key to Layered Process Audit Programs

Oct 25, 2017  |  Paul Foster

If you needed to complete 200 audits this month, would your quality team be able to handle it alone? For most companies, the answer is no, and it’s one reason why companies new to layered process audit (LPA) programs struggle.

LPAs are a type of high-frequency process audit involving all layers of management, from team leads to executives. Repeat checks of high-risk processes prevent defects and foster continuous improvement, providing the best results when companies draw auditors from across the organization.

In our experience, however, not all companies find it easy to get other departments involved. Let’s take a look at why cross-functional teams are so important to LPAs, plus some strategies for increasing participation.

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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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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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Understanding New GM Layered Process Audit Requirements in IATF 16949

Sep 29, 2017  |  Eric Stoop

General Motors (GM) recently published updated 
customer specific requirements for IATF 16949 compliance. The new requirements take effect November 1, 2017 and covers layered process audit (LPA) requirements in greater depth than previous versions.  

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Who Should Be on Your Layered Process Audit Team?

Sep 25, 2017  |  Stephen Salata

Layered process audits (LPAs) get their name from the multiple layers of the organization that check high-risk processes on a daily basis. LPAs require companies to put significant effort into writing questions, scheduling audits, tracking audit completion and following up on findings.

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