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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.

Revisiting Deming's 14 Points for Industry 4.0

Jan 08, 2019  |  Eric Stoop

In 1982, W. Edward Deming’s Out of the Crisis outlined 14 points companies could learn from his success helping drive the industrial boom of post-WWII Japan.

The idea that quality pays was revolutionary at the time. Today, another revolution is taking place. Industry 4.0 represents a tectonic shift in manufacturing technology focused on automation, data exchange and interconnected cyber-physical systems.

But these massive changes don’t make Deming’s points any less relevant today. In fact, Industry 4.0 reinforces many of Deming’s 14 points—and can help the next generation of quality leaders relate to these foundational concepts.

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Comparing the Costs of Manual vs. Automated Layered Process Audits

Dec 04, 2018  |  Eric Stoop

PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that by 2020, Industry 4.0 digital transformation initiatives will deliver nearly 4% in annual cost reductions for both the aerospace and automotive industries.

One area manufacturers are automating is internal audits, including the layered process audits (LPAs) required by several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). These daily checks of high-risk processes are a best practice for reducing defects, but they’re also time-consuming when tracking a large volume of audits manually.

Given the understandable scrutiny on costs, the question for auto and aerospace manufacturers becomes whether paper-based or spreadsheet-based LPAs actually cost less than automation. Here we discuss various costs to consider, including administration, implementation and quality costs—as well as hidden costs that should figure into your decision.

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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 to Talk to Your Quality Director About LPA Software

Nov 06, 2018  |  Joe Bollard

Layered process audits (LPAs) are mandatory for automotive suppliers and growing in popularity in the aerospace industry due to its effectiveness in improving quality at the process level. However, you may find that an effective LPA program isn’t easy to manage when done manually through spreadsheets, resulting in administrative burden.

Maybe you’re doing ok scheduling these high-frequency audits, but people are just checking the box during the process checks (if they complete them at all). Or maybe you’re bogged down in reporting, and it’s taking too long to find and fix problems.

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Mobile Audits & Corrective Actions: Are Devices Safe on the Plant Floor?

Oct 09, 2018  |  Scot Larsen

Mobile device usage in the workplace is skyrocketing, with research from Digital Strategy Consulting showing that 6 in 10 employees use apps for work activities. Of those using department-specific apps, more than half report increased productivity as a result.

Even manufacturing is seeing the effect, as mobile audit and corrective action apps become increasingly popular for helping quality management teams find and fix problems faster. But is it really safe to introduce mobile devices on the plant floor, given questions around data security and intellectual property?

Today we compare the risks and rewards of mobile audit and corrective action apps for manufacturers, and how you can protect your sensitive data.

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How to Kick Off LPA Implementation with a Kaizen Event

Oct 02, 2018  |  Eric Stoop

The frequently referenced Learning Pyramid says an average student retains 75% of information learned through practice, compared to just 5% of what they hear in a lecture. While experts may dispute the relevance of these figures when applied to modern society, all of us can agree that we learn and retain more by doing versus being told in a classroom.

Depending on the maturity of your organization, launching or expanding a layered process audit (LPA) program can be complex and difficult to sustain.  Which is why using a whiteboard in a meeting room may not be the best choice to kick things off. 

An effective LPA program provides daily verification of high-risk processes, connecting leaders with front-line operators to develop a culture of coaching, feedback and continuous improvement. Rather than scheduling a presentation, a Kaizen event can be far more effective to get things off to a strong start, especially for plants just starting out.  

In this post, you’ll learn about Kaizen events and how they can help you get started on your LPA journey.

 

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7 Mistakes to Avoid with Layered Process Audit Checklists

Sep 04, 2018  |  Richard Ruiz

Consider the last time you conducted a layered process audit. What did you learn? How much insight did you get to improve the process? Did you have the opportunity for coaching and feedback?

If the answer to any of these questions was “not much,” then you’ve got work to do on your layered process audit checklists.

Layered process audits (LPAs) are a type of high-frequency audit common in automotive and aerospace manufacturing. The audits take place multiple times daily and require participation from all levels of the organization, creating a series of checks to catch process errors before they become defects.

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How Mobile Audit Tools Accelerate AIAG's Quality Road Map

Aug 13, 2018  |  Paul Foster

The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) has many resources for companies focused on continuous improvement, represented as a set of key checkpoints on its Road Map to Quality Success.

While it looks like a simple set of steps, the path isn’t necessarily straightforward. Each step is a process in and of itself, but there is one common tool that will help you get from point A to point B: audits.

Today we're looking at how audits, and specifically mobile audit tools, can help accelerate your progress towards quality goals.

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Familiarity Isn't Enough: How to Understand and Fix Manufacturing Processes

Jul 16, 2018  |  Richard Ruiz

Anyone who’s hired a quality management consultant knows that familiarity with processes isn’t necessarily the same as understanding them. The consultant’s outside perspective is often their greatest value, allowing them to ask questions that challenge the status quo.

And yet, many automotive and aerospace manufacturers still tend to mistake process familiarity for true understanding, an error that breeds complacency, variance and defects.

A layered process audit (LPA) program is a high-frequency auditing strategy that can bring these variances to the surface. However, LPAs only work when they drive a deeper understanding of your processes via the right questions, frequency and cross-functional participation.

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