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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.

Case Study Video: Aston Martin Relies on Ease Manufacturing Software

Nov 10, 2015  |  Ease Inc

Founded more than 100 years ago, Aston Martin has built a global brand known for producing exceptionally designed, high-quality cars through handcrafted production methods.

After more than a century of excellence, few can understand better that delivering market defining quality and craftsmanship requires superior tools, techniques, and technology. As Aston Martin looked to increase production levels and launch new models, they quickly realized many of their traditional manufacturing processes would limit growth and competitiveness. Aston Martin needed an innovative solution that would create new manufacturing efficiencies without compromising their ability to deliver a truly bespoke product to their customers, built to the highest quality standards.   

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Lean Manufacturing Principles: Plan, Do, Check, Act

Nov 05, 2015  |  Ease Inc

To be the best at something requires patience, determination, focus, and constant improvement.  Toyota aimed to be the best when they developed practical methods of applying the lean methodology to manufacturing after World War II. Benefits of lean include:

  • Reduced waste and rework
  • Reduced costs
  • Faster production time
  • Faster changeover times
  • Improved overall efficiency
  • A bigger bottom line

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27 Key Manufacturing Quality Metrics Your Plant Needs to Implement Now

Oct 13, 2015  |  Ease Inc

You’ve heard it before: What gets measured gets done. Part of planning to reach an objective is measuring what must be improved in order to move forward—in a word, metrics. Metrics give companies a way to define success and a path toward achieving their goals.

Quality Standards

Plant managers and owners strive to ensure that their plants comply with quality standards. One of the best ways to achieve this is to use metrics.

Employing an array of key metrics can help assure that plant personnel identifies details that ultimately make up the objective and meet the standards quality owners and managers require. Having definite measurements, targets, and planned actions (the first three parts of the SMART mnemonic: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-Based) helps achieve the high standards managers and owners set while recognizing that goals that are too lofty often can lead to worker discouragement.

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How Tier 1 Automotive Suppliers Can Use 5S Audits

Oct 06, 2015  |  Ease Inc

Who doesn’t like a clean workspace?

Your job is to deliver the correct parts to the correct place at the correct timeefficiently and consistently.

Cleaning, organizing and standardizing your plant and office helps you accomplish this because a clean, organized and standardized workplace builds efficiency and consistency. Picture in your mind the difference between a clean and a messy work place and you know what we mean.

Implementing 5S will improve your workplace and your profits. 5S stands for:

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Lean Manufacturing Principles for Tier One Automotive Suppliers

Sep 29, 2015  |  Ease Inc

U.S. auto sales are on pace to exceed 17 million units this year and could break the record of 17.4 million sold in 2000, according to Autodata Corporation. Backing these figures is the Automotive News Data Center, which reports that sales for the first eight months of 2015 outperformed sales for the same period in 2014. For example, Daimler AG posted a 6.4% increase in sales compared to 2014, Ford Motor was up 2.7% for the first eight months, and General Motors showed a 3.2% increase from the previous year.

Many automakers are running their U.S. plants with three shifts of workers and scheduling overtime, particularly factories that make pickup trucks, SUVs, and crossovers. Of course, the automakers’ success in extending this upswing depends on the ability of their suppliers to keep up with industry growth. For tier one automotive suppliers the pressure to meet demand must be carefully balanced with the ability to maintain and even improve quality. This is where lean manufacturing principles come into play.

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Why the Cost of Quality Goes Beyond Fixing Manufacturing Failures

Sep 24, 2015  |  Ease Inc

Research studies show that manufacturers estimate their cost of quality at approximately 10 percent of revenues, while, in reality, that figure is double that at 20 percent. While statistics like this are eye catching, it’s important to understand what is meant by the term, cost of quality. Unfortunately, it’s a widely misunderstood concept. Many organizations view the cost of quality solely in reference to failure costs. Common examples of activities related to this line of thinking include:

  • Rework
  • Scrap
  • Returned materials
  • Warranty recalls

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CAPA: Investigating the Root Causes of Process Failure

Sep 22, 2015  |  Ease Inc

In a routine audit one of your auditors discovers that during a recent production shift a seasoned employee used fastener B, despite a work instruction for the process that calls for the use of fastener C. A typical investigation of this type of nonconformance would likely note operator error as the cause.

While concluding that this was a case of operator error is an accurate description of what happened and how it happened, if you accept this conclusion you probably haven’t probed deeply enough to understand the root cause. According to the American Society for Quality (ASQ), a root cause is "a factor that caused a nonconformance and should be permanently eliminated through process improvement."

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Forget Talking the Talk: Learn to Gemba Walk and Listen

Aug 27, 2015  |  Ease Inc

Too often the root cause of a process failure boils down to poor communication. Employees on the shop floor look to management for guidance on how to improve their production quality, yet open communication channels are rarely available in a manufacturing environment. Top managers may have the tools they need to effectively communicate to their team, such as regular meetings with middle management but their messages sometimes don’t reach the front-line workers that matter in day-to-day production

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