If your organization is looking for a way to ingrain continual improvement into its everyday operations, Layered Process Audits are one of the most effective methods for doing so. Unfortunately, this multifaceted, several step process can sound both intimidating and complex, especially at first. But it doesn’t have to be.

Simplifying the Definition of Layered Process Audits

Quite simply, Layered Process Audits (LPAs) are a process­ based approach to conducting internal audits. Its in­ depth analysis of the Quality Management System, Manufacturing Process, and Products helps the organization spot gaps and potential areas of improvement. In addition, organizations are likely to find that external audits run smoother and have fewer negative reports.

Layered Process Audit Benefits

Though results won’t happen overnight, over time the Layered Process Audits can provide a number of benefits to both large and small organizations, including:  

    1. Improved communication
    2. Improved efficiency in processes
    3. Reduction in the waste of both time and resources
    4. Prevention of errors and mistakes in operations
    5. Continual improvement on all levels, and across all departments
    6. Improved QMS effectiveness and compliance
    7. Improved first-time through capability
    8. Improved company stability

What to Expect and When to Expect It

In the first few runs with an LPA, organizations can and sometimes do reap measurable and notable gains. But big results don’t happen overnight. In fact, organizations that focus more on the long-term often do much better than those that search for instant, short-­term gains.

So how do you ensure that your organization stays focused on the end­ goal rather than what will happen in the days, weeks, or even months after an LPA is first implemented?

It all starts with stepping off on the right foot.

Starting LPAs the Right Way

While the LPA can be started in any number of ways, the best is a strategic, step­-by-step approach. Organizations that take this approach often experience less chaos and confusion during the implementation process, and they’re more likely to reach their end goals. This is because they are focusing on the long­term benefits and taking the time to do things correctly the first time around, which is exactly what LPA is all about!

Keys to a Successful LPA Implementation:

  1. Organizing a team responsible for the entire LPA implementation process
  2. Understanding and interpreting the Phase approach
  3. Reporting of results to top management at regular, agreed upon intervals
  4. Developing measurement tools and checklists
  5. Determining the frequency of audits, up-front
  6. Determining where the LPA process is needed most
  7. Monitoring and collecting data on LPA audits
  8. Presenting audit results to management for approval

LPA Tools for Success

Because the LPA process can be complex in nature, and tedious regarding paperwork, there is a great deal of room for errors. Documents needed for the audit may be misplaced, difficult to find, or duplicated. Tracking and measurements may be inconsistent or ineffective. And compliance can be compromised. For this reason, it is important to have the right tools. The right software program can help keep things organized, on ­hand when needed, and reduce room for error.

Want to find out more about the LPA process, its phases, and how to implement them successfully? Check out this blog where we discuss improving LPA success with the phase approach. For other questions or assistance, contact us here.