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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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How to Talk to IT About Mobile Auditing Software

Jan 15, 2019  |  Tim Reynolds

Mobile apps are now an essential part of workplaces today, with 9 in 10 users indicating that work-related apps have changed their business behavior. And yet, over half of professionals say their organization is slow to deliver these efficiency-boosting apps to employees.

Despite the explosive growth of software as a service (SaaS) and mobile solutions, in many industries there are still big concerns around security and reliability. At the same time, manufacturers wanting to improve compliance and reduce defects are realizing that tools like mobile audit software can unlock huge gains in productivity and effectiveness.

So how do you approach the conversation if you’re preparing to meet with your vendor management or IT steering committee about implementing mobile audit software? You’ll want to focus on key elements such as platform security, efficiency and overall reliability.

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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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Key IT Considerations When Selecting New Quality Software

Dec 11, 2018  |  Tim Reynolds

PricewaterhouseCoopers survey data shows that companies expect Industry 4.0 digitization initiatives to add $493 billion to revenues to their bottom lines over the next few years.

Quality management is a prime target for digital transformation, and while adoption of quality software is growing, it’s important to address IT concerns before jumping in.

If you’re considering implementing quality software in your organization, you’ll want to think about security, ease of use and integration with business intelligence tools. Today we’re looking at each of these, also highlighting some qualities to look for in a robust quality solution.

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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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5 Root Cause Analysis Tools for More Effective Problem-Solving

Oct 30, 2018  |  Paul Foster

Next to defining a problem accurately, root cause analysis is one of the most important elements of problem-solving in quality management. That’s because if you’re not aiming at the right target, you’ll never be able to eliminate the real problem that’s hurting quality.

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