In 2016, General Motors (GM) instituted a new supplier quality program called Built in Quality Supply (BIQS), representing a major departure from its previous Quality Systems Basics (QSB) program.
Where QSB scored suppliers on just 11 elements, BIQS now assesses suppliers according to 30 different elements. That’s in addition to IATF 16949 certification and metrics like quality problem reporting and resolution (PRR), field actions, disruptions and severity score. Suppliers must achieve a Level III score or higher to be a certified supplier, with each element scored based on a green, yellow or red rating.
Today we’re examining BIQS-10 for quality focused checks, an area that can easily trip up suppliers performing sampling checks or assuming they’re covered by following BIQS-2 for layered audits.
We talked with Daniel Castilla, Global Quality Systems Manager, Powertrain at Federal-Mogul about GM requirements for quality focused checks, and how layered process audits (LPAs) support compliance.
What Areas Require Quality Focused Checks?
BIQS-10 requires that high-risk items from several areas undergo monitoring checks each shift:
- Critical operations
- Customer complaints related issues
- Fast response events
Guidelines point auditors to look for these items in the quality focused which can be a section of the layered audit (BIQS-2) or other suitable checklist.
What GM Expects in Quality Focused Checks
So what specifically do GM auditors expect to see in your quality focused checks when they visit your facility? The most important thing, says Castilla, is that the items above are checked every single shift.
And while quality focused checks can be part of the layered audit checklist, he points out that LPAs on their own aren’t enough to meet the requirement.
“What this is becoming is something that’s required on top of LPA, not just a sampling where you can decide the frequency of checks,” he says.
He points out that to earn a green rating for quality focused checks, you must meet four criteria:
- Your system clearly shows you are conducting them
- People are aware that they have to do the checks
- You have a robust tool implemented to track and ensure compliance
- Your system is working correctly
Adding Quality Focused Checks to Layered Process Audits
Castilla says that even though they represent two different BIQS requirements, LPAs and quality focused audits can work together.
Take, for example, a layer 1 LPA auditor assigned a process audit on a piston machining center. Because a diameter larger than the specified tolerance could damage the engine and cause an accident, manufacturers can’t allow a single piston to be out of spec.
“The best approach would be to add quality focused checks onto your layer 1 LPA,” he says. “When an auditor is checking a critical characteristic station, they would also do a quality focused check at that time.”
So while the LPA might include a sampling of rotated and randomized questions, the audit should also include a set of fixed questions focused on critical controls.
To Automate or Not to Automate?
The purpose of quality focused checks is to ensure critical controls work 100% of the time. Viewed from this perspective, says Castilla, automation is clearly more effective and reliable than paper-based methods.
“It’s much easier to break the system if you’re using spreadsheets or paper forms, as opposed to a software application,” he says. He adds that paper systems require somebody to print a form, train auditors, physically take forms to the machine and record results manually.
He notes that software also helps meet BIQS-16 for alarm and escalation when a check doesn’t happen, or when a critical check shows a failure.
“With a paper system, it might take days to realize something isn’t happening as it should,” says Castilla. “With an automated system like Beacon, you get an immediate notification so you can escalate the issue right away.”
What’s more, LPA software ensures you aren’t wasting time on checks that are no longer necessary. That’s because, in some cases, quality focused checks resulting from PMRRs only need to be conducted for a few months. With paper-based systems, it’s easy to continue needlessly checking areas that were corrected long ago, even years ago in some instances.
“Automation allows you to turn questions on and off as needed, without having to deal with all the paper, training and manual hassle,” Castilla says.
Ultimately, he adds, this type of system provides a high-level view of plant performance that helps proactively ensure compliance—no matter what GM auditors throw at you.