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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.

16 Terms Every Quality Professional Should Know

Nov 26, 2019  |  Paul Foster

If you’re new to layered process audits, it’s critical to make sure everyone on your team is on the same page with basic terms. Here we provide a guide of 16 essential terms to know when launching your LPA program and getting your team up to speed. Don’t forget to directly download your own copy of this guide to keep as a reference for yourself and your team.

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7 Types of Questions to Include in Process Audit Checklists

Jul 23, 2018  |  Paul Foster

Companies that implement a layered process audit (LPA) system must account for a wide variety of questions. Which process areas will you audit?  How often will you audit them? What will the process audits cover? How will you take action when you find non-conformances?

At the heart of these high-frequency checks, however, are the questions you include in your actual audit checklists to verify processes are being done right. We’ve discussed strategies for writing LPA questions, such as providing context on why and how to check individual items. Today, we’re examining 7 types of questions to consider for your process audit checklists, including:

    • Safety
    • Materials
    • Motions
    • Workstation design
    • Process for reporting issues
    • Documentation
    • Follow-up

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How to Improve Layered Process Audit Questions with Real Examples

Mar 05, 2018  |  Shawn Faircloth

Compare the following process audit questions, asking which would be more effective at preventing defects:

Question A: Does the operator know how to handle non-conforming material?

Question B: Can the operator describe each step of the non-conforming material process according to the quality manual?

Clearly, Question B is more likely to identify errors that result in defective product reaching the customer—the main goal of layered process audit (LPA) requirements for General Motors (GM) and Fiat Chrysler suppliers. These high-frequency audits focus on how products are made, and are also gaining traction in industries like aerospace as a best practice for minimizing variation, defects and quality costs.

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How to Write Effective Layered Process Audit Questions

Jan 01, 2018  |  Paul Foster

Famous businessman Robert Half once said, “Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers.”

It’s true whether we’re talking about interviewing and hiring—Half founded one of the largest global staffing firms—or whether we’re talking about quality management. The need to ask thoughtful questions to gain valuable information is especially critical when it comes to creating layered process audit (LPA) checklists.

In an LPA program, multiple layers of management audit high-risk processes at varying intervals, conducting daily checks that systematically reduce variation. These process audits are powerful because of their high frequency, and their ability to provide a real-time snapshot of shop floor processes critical to quality.

As for whether a company can achieve the biggest benefits from LPAs? That all depends on whether you have well-written questions—and how frequently you update them.

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Layered Process Audit FAQs for Aerospace: Who, What, When, How and Why

Dec 26, 2017  |  Eric Stoop

Leading automotive companies require suppliers to conduct layered process audits (LPAs), a requirement experts say may soon come to aerospace companies via the AS9100 standard.

LPAs provide daily checks of high-risk processes, verifying operator adherence to standard processes to minimize variation and defects. Aerospace companies that implement LPAs have cut defects by 53% in six months, offering convincing evidence that these frequent audits are worth the investment in time and resources.


For those considering implementing LPAs or information on best practices, following is an overview of LPA basics, addressing questions like who should participate, what LPAs cover, how to implement them and why they’re critical to quality.

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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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