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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.

Breaking Down the Results of Our First Ever Hackathon

Oct 14, 2019  |  Scot Larsen

Leaders of established companies often wonder why they can’t innovate as fast as during the startup phase, when energy levels are high and the sky’s the limit. 

In truth, it’s a bit like wanting to be a freewheeling kid again, despite the fact that more mature companies have a much different set of responsibilities.

Ease’s 2019 Hackathon—the first ever—was aimed at seeing what would happen when we let our developers play like kids again. 

The goal: come up with bold new solutions to our customers’ most pressing problems, and fast. While the event represented a significant investment in time and resources, it’s already paying off big, with surprising results that will soon translate into increased productivity for our customers.

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Are Layered Process Audits Getting in the Way of Quality?

Oct 08, 2019  |  Richard Ruiz

According to the Deloitte Automotive Quality 2020 report, auto manufacturers spend an average of 116 days annually on quality management system (QMS) compliance.

Layered process audits, which can number more than a thousand audits per year, can take up many of those hours for companies that perform these short, frequent checks.

Executed correctly, layered process audits (LPAs) can help sharply reduce defects and quality costs relatively quickly, but these high-frequency audits can also bury companies in administrative work if they’re not prepared.

This post examines classic problems standing in the way of quality, and how to fix them to make bigger and faster improvements.

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A Buyer's Guide Checklist to Mobile Layered Process Audit Software

Sep 20, 2019  |  Shawn Faircloth

Under pressure to achieve zero defects, many automotive and aerospace suppliers are leveraging mobile technology to strengthen their layered process audit approach. Layered process audits (LPAs) have traditionally been a time-intensive activity, requiring scheduling, follow-up and reporting on process checks taking place every single shift.

This complexity makes LPAs a prime target for automation, but like any digital transformation initiative, making the right choice requires careful consideration of a wide range of product capabilities. This checklist highlights some of the most important, so you can make an informed choice that helps enable process excellence.

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2019 Manufacturing Day: Tips for a High-Impact Event

Sep 05, 2019  |  Gavin Drake

On October 4, hundreds of thousands of students and others will participate in thousands of Manufacturing Day events across the country. The ultimate goal: get people excited about what modern manufacturing really means—and inspire the next generation of industry leaders.

If you’re one of the companies hosting an event, you may be wondering what you’ll actually do when people show up on your doorstep, or how you can ensure your plant tour goes off without a hitch.

Will people walk away from your event feeling energized and inspired? Or will it leave them wanting to know more? Let’s look at ideas, strategies and tips for making sure your Manufacturing Day event is a successful one.

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Layered Process Audit Metrics: 4 Enterprise-Level Numbers to Track

Aug 28, 2019  |  Chris Shoe

According to a recent LNS Research survey, 37% of quality leaders cite an inability to measure quality metrics as their number one barrier to achieving quality goals. Even worse, the survey showed a full 4 in 5 companies have poor visibility into real-time metrics.

These figures highlight a central problem in quality management: in an era of increasingly large data sets, how can manufacturers leverage this data for meaningful improvement?

It’s a question that’s especially relevant for manufacturers engaged in layered process audits (LPAs), a high-frequency verification strategy where teams conduct short audits every shift. With hundreds or even thousands of audits taking place over the course of a year, making sense of a large volume of data is a core challenge of LPA programs.

While plant managers often track metrics at a granular level, director and VP-level leaders need to look at the data a little differently at a higher level. Let’s look at four of the most important enterprise-level layered process audit metrics to track. 

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How to Use Gamification Principles to Boost Audit Participation

Aug 15, 2019  |  Paul Foster

When Deloitte wanted to get people excited about employee training, the company decided to adopt a gamification strategy for its online training portal. Using elements like achievement badges, missions and leaderboards, they achieved a 37% increase in participation.

And when Ford Canada gamified its sales and service training, platform usage jumped a massive 417%, with big gains in engagement among younger employees.

Saying gamification makes work a game is an oversimplification. In reality, it’s all about leveraging proven psychological principles around our motivation to compete, encouraging habits and behavior that improve business performance.

These principles can also be used in manufacturing to increase engagement in audits, which are critical to quality but often suffer from low participation. Key gamification tools and techniques to consider include mobile apps, competitions and recognition programs.

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The Future of Layered Process Audits

Jul 23, 2019  |  Ease Inc

With growth of digitalization in manufacturing, what does the future hold for Layered Process Audits (LPA)?  LPAs today generally verify human conformance to key processes with and outside set of eyes. But with automation, what will humans be doing?... and eyeballs won’t be as accurate as sensors.

Based on a presentation given by Murray Sittsamer and Richard Nave of The Luminous Group at our 2019 Beacon User Summit, this post will discuss the what layered process audit programs might look like in the future with advancement in technology. 

Industry 4.0 will be a $155 billion market by 2024, part of a rapid growth in technologies like machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) revolutionizing the manufacturing industry. 

As Industry 4.0 picks up steam in automotive and aerospace manufacturing, we are witnessing an evolution towards more sensors, more data communication and more analytics. And while layered process audits (LPAs) could drive even more powerful quality insights and actions, companies also need to be aware of—and hopefully avoid—the potential downsides. 

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6 Dashboard Metrics for Your LPA Program

Jun 24, 2019  |  Chris Shoe

Implementing layered process audits (LPAs) in your facility can mean conducting hundreds of audits every single month, a process that generates a large volume of quality data.

As manufacturers lean into Industry 4.0 initiatives, that volume of data is only growing. But according to Forrester, up to 73% of data within businesses never gets analyzed.

How can automotive and aerospace manufacturers leverage more of their LPA data to maintain steady progress towards their quality goals?

The answer lies in dashboarding, which allows teams to keep their most important metrics front and center for more effective communication and goal-setting. This post looks at some of the most critical numbers to focus on in order to ensure your LPA program is effective at driving down defects, complaints and costs.

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How Layered Process Audits Drive a Culture of Quality

Jun 03, 2019  |  Murray Sittsamer

Quality is actually quite simple—it’s the human element that makes it difficult. We all know it can be challenging to get employees to follow a standardized set of steps, as people often have their own reasons for taking shortcuts or deviating from the established standard.

The problem is that when people deviate from standards, you’re less likely to achieve the desired outcome. That’s where layered process audits (LPAs) can make a big difference, providing frequent process verifications that address the human element of process adherence.

 In this post, we’ll look at how LPAs help create a culture of quality in manufacturing plants, promoting process conformance and employee engagement. The payback is in improved quality metrics and lower cost of poor quality.

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