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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.

8 Key Japanese Quality Management Terms to Know

Aug 21, 2018  |  Zach Baker

Why are so many quality terms in Japanese? Since the majority of quality management principles can be traced back to Japan’s automotive industry, it’s not entirely surprising. But what do these terms actually mean?

While many still debate the true origins of some of these Lean and Six Sigma terms, there's no question they play a major role from the plant floor on up to accounting.

If you’ve ever wondered about the translation and meaning behind these terms, here’s a list of eight terms underpinning common Lean principles.

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Mapping Layered Process Audits to Lean Manufacturing Principles

Mar 19, 2018  |  Eric Stoop

Roughly 7 in 10 manufacturers have implemented Lean manufacturing principles in their organizations, with 5S, Six Sigma and Kaizen representing the most popular strategies today.

One tool that supports these specific approaches and Lean manufacturing principles more generally is a layered process audit (LPA) program. LPAs draw auditors from all management layers and departments to verify mission-critical processes on a daily basis.

Let’s examine how LPAs align with Lean manufacturing principles, providing a structured approach to unlock the biggest benefits of this popular quality methodology.

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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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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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Stay Lean with Manufacturing Software Solutions

Jan 12, 2016  |  Ease Inc

In manufacturing, leaders innovate and grow while followers fall prey to inefficiency and waste. A recent report from the Aberdeen Group, Lean Manufacturing: Success Starts with Visibility and Alignment, describes how manufacturing leaders consistently benefit from having tools in place to track continuous improvement activities. In addition, 61% of these high performers provide management with a comprehensive, easy-to-understand view into operations. These results reinforce the truth that lean principles are only as good as the actionable data available, and it follows that organizational integration of manufacturing software solutions is key to process improvement.

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5 Benefits of Implementing 5S Audits at Your Plant

Dec 16, 2015  |  Ease Inc

“Try not to make 5S a goal in itself. … Focus instead on the leadership part, building the right discipline and culture in your organization towards the objective of 5S: Create, maintain, and improve an efficient workplace organization with high levels of visual control.” Torbjørn Netland, Associate Professor, Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Those are words of wisdom from an in-depth article on 5S entitled “5S – We Are Doing It Wrong” by an associate professor at Norway’s NTNU Department of Industrial Economics and Technology. Although the benefits of implementing 5S audits in a plant are many, realizing them requires a plant-wide focus on cultural change. As Netland notes in the article, the objective of 5S audits goes beyond the practice into developing “high levels of visual control.”

What follows are two broad areas of ROI and safety that reveal five business and bottom line changing benefits of conducting 5S audits in the plant.

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How to Use the 8D Method to Find the Root Cause of Nonconformances

Dec 09, 2015  |  Shawn Faircloth

The 8D method, also known as the 8 Disciplines, first appeared in Ford’s 1987 Team-Oriented Problem Solving manual. It’s a tool that’s stood the test of time, becoming the main problem-solving method used in the company, today called Global 8D. 

Even though the 8D approach has been around for more than thirty years, many companies still struggle with ineffective problem-solving and weak implementation of corrective action.

This overview looks at 8D best practices and pitfalls to avoid, helping manufacturers better understand how to use the method to address nonconformances and reduce risk.

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Core Lean Manufacturing Principles for Aerospace Manufacturers

Dec 01, 2015  |  Ease Inc

Quality guru Shigeo Shingo once said, “Improvement usually means doing something that we have never done before.” For many in the aerospace industry, the exploration of lean manufacturing principles would qualify not only as something new, but also as something that merits consideration.

Lean manufacturing is a methodology for improving processes with continuous improvement (kaizen) and eliminating waste in the workplace. Many think of lean manufacturing as North America’s answer to the Toyota Production System (TPS), which enabled Toyota to deliver a wider variety of products more efficiently than the traditional mass production techniques of the era.

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Conducting a Root Cause Analysis Using Lean Manufacturing Principles

Nov 24, 2015  |  Ease Inc

To achieve continuous process improvement, your organization needs a proven method for uncovering the root cause of nonconformances. A root cause analysis (RCA) can incorporate a wide range of quality methods that ultimately help identify what, how, and why an event occurred so that you can take the necessary steps to ensure that it does not repeat. The RCA process includes four basic steps:

  • Collecting relevant information about the nonconformance
  • Charting the causal factors
  • Pinpointing root causes
  • Developing and recommending solutions or corrective actions to address the root cause

If your organization has embraced lean manufacturing principles, then you are likely ahead of the curve in producing what is needed, when it is needed. You have learned that lean techniques, when successfully implemented, can help your organization reduce waste and improve process efficiency.

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