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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.

7 LPA Mistakes to Fix Before Your Next Customer Audit Checklist [Plus Download!]

Mar 15, 2019  |  Richard Ruiz

New call-to-actionWhen a customer asks to see your layered process audit (LPA) documentation, will you be ready?

For many manufacturers, the answer is no. Instead of having proof of an effective LPA process, they’re left scrambling for data that show low audit compliance and few actual results. Unfortunately, poor LPA processes are enough to fail a customer audit, which could put your key contracts at risk. 

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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 Signs Your LPA Program is Struggling

Jan 22, 2019  |  Richard Ruiz

If your organization conducts layered process audits (LPAs), which of these statements accurately describes your results?

A. We’ve significantly reduced defects and complaints, using these high-frequency process audits to improve standardization.

B. We’ve been doing LPAs for awhile, but we’re not seeing much change in quality.

Those of you that answered B may question if LPAs are just a pointless customer requirement, or whether there are deeper problems within your approach. Here we examine 7 signs of a struggling LPA program, with tips and strategies for improving your results.

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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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