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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.

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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How to Talk to Your Quality Director About LPA Software

Nov 06, 2018  |  Joe Bollard

Layered process audits (LPAs) are mandatory for automotive suppliers and growing in popularity in the aerospace industry due to its effectiveness in improving quality at the process level. However, you may find that an effective LPA program isn’t easy to manage when done manually through spreadsheets, resulting in administrative burden.

Maybe you’re doing ok scheduling these high-frequency audits, but people are just checking the box during the process checks (if they complete them at all). Or maybe you’re bogged down in reporting, and it’s taking too long to find and fix problems.

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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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Mobile Audits & Corrective Actions: Are Devices Safe on the Plant Floor?

Oct 09, 2018  |  Scot Larsen

Mobile device usage in the workplace is skyrocketing, with research from Digital Strategy Consulting showing that 6 in 10 employees use apps for work activities. Of those using department-specific apps, more than half report increased productivity as a result.

Even manufacturing is seeing the effect, as mobile audit and corrective action apps become increasingly popular for helping quality management teams find and fix problems faster. But is it really safe to introduce mobile devices on the plant floor, given questions around data security and intellectual property?

Today we compare the risks and rewards of mobile audit and corrective action apps for manufacturers, and how you can protect your sensitive data.

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How to Kick Off LPA Implementation with a Kaizen Event

Oct 02, 2018  |  Eric Stoop

The frequently referenced Learning Pyramid says an average student retains 75% of information learned through practice, compared to just 5% of what they hear in a lecture. While experts may dispute the relevance of these figures when applied to modern society, all of us can agree that we learn and retain more by doing versus being told in a classroom.

Depending on the maturity of your organization, launching or expanding a layered process audit (LPA) program can be complex and difficult to sustain.  Which is why using a whiteboard in a meeting room may not be the best choice to kick things off. 

An effective LPA program provides daily verification of high-risk processes, connecting leaders with front-line operators to develop a culture of coaching, feedback and continuous improvement. Rather than scheduling a presentation, a Kaizen event can be far more effective to get things off to a strong start, especially for plants just starting out.  

In this post, you’ll learn about Kaizen events and how they can help you get started on your LPA journey.

 

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MFG DAY 2018: Tier 1 Automotive Suppliers You Can Visit!

Sep 24, 2018  |  Grant Nadell

Manufacturers open their doors to give students and the public an opportunity to visit and tour the facility and find out what it’s really like to work in manufacturing on October 5th, 2018, during the 6th annual Manufacturing Day.

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Best Apple 2018 iPhone for Manufacturers

Sep 14, 2018  |  Paul Foster

Apple releases new iPhone XR : a new device for mobile auditing

A few days ago, Apple announced its 3 new iPhones for 2018: iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, and iPhone XR (pronounced “ten-R”), and it’s the iPhone XR that we’re excited about. Although we wouldn’t call it ‘cheap’ at $749, out of the 3 new iPhones, it’s the most cost-effective for manufacturers needing mobile devices for company use.  

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7 Mistakes to Avoid with Layered Process Audit Checklists

Sep 04, 2018  |  Richard Ruiz

Consider the last time you conducted a layered process audit. What did you learn? How much insight did you get to improve the process? Did you have the opportunity for coaching and feedback?

If the answer to any of these questions was “not much,” then you’ve got work to do on your layered process audit checklists.

Layered process audits (LPAs) are a type of high-frequency audit common in automotive and aerospace manufacturing. The audits take place multiple times daily and require participation from all levels of the organization, creating a series of checks to catch process errors before they become defects.

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