Conducting audits is a necessary part of ensuring that quality is enforced at every stage of design and manufacturing. When manufacturers conduct layered process audits (LPAs), they take a preventive approach to quality by checking to make sure the production process follows industry and internal standards.
LPAs dramatically lessen the risk that a nonconforming product will reach the consumer. Quality Magazine reported that some companies see a 50% reduction in product defects after implementing the LPA process.
Performing LPAs is challenging because they need to take place on a schedule and many employees throughout the company conduct the audits. Using an Audit/LPA application streamlines the LPA process by automating and digitizing it.
Managing Quality Takes a Village
LPAs need to take place at every layer of management. It is common to have shift supervisors, managers, and plant managers each conduct separate audits at different frequencies.
When the entire leadership team conducts audits, production processes are examined from different perspectives and by those with authority to make change happen. For example, a shift supervisor can be present on the line, right next to workers, inspecting the work in real time. The plant manager will likely look at it through the financial and throughput lens.
Multiple audits increase the chance that nonconformities will be caught and corrected before they reach the customer site. Conducting multiple layers of audits keeps errors from falling through the cracks.
Staying on Schedule
LPAs need to be conducted frequently to be effective. Scheduling these audits can be tricky because they need to be scheduled at different intervals, in a rotation involving all levels of leadership. A shift supervisor may conduct an audit once a day. Manager audits may take place once a week, while a plant manager might conduct an audit once a month.
The sheer volume of audits can be overwhelming. According to Quality Magazine, a manufacturer may need to conduct a thousand audits just to keep up with standards. Keeping track of all these audit schedules could monopolize managers and supervisors.
Audits also need to be followed up on to ensure that corrective actions are being implemented. An LPA application automatically schedules these audits and follow-ups, leading to an 85% to 90% reduction in related administrative costs.
Ending the Paper Chase
For companies that rely on spreadsheets to keep quality management records, the paperwork associated with LPAs is considerable. Audits need to be conducted based on both internal and third-party standards. To establish the scope of an audit, a checklist needs to be assembled.
During the audit, observations must be recorded and used to formulate a score. Any nonconformance finding should be recorded and followed up with corrective actions.
Using spreadsheets means corrective actions may not be tracked consistently. Paperwork is time consuming and error prone. Audit results may be inaccurate due to lost or duplicate documents.
When audit records are digitized, they are easy to store, manage, and locate. Everyone across the manufacturing company has access to the same documents and information for a complete picture of compliance efforts.
What to Expect From an Audit/LP App
An Audit/LPA application makes it possible to integrate continuous improvement into your production process. Conducting audits becomes a matter of routine.
With QAD CEBOS Enterprise Quality Management Software (EQMS), manufacturers gain access to an Audit/LPA Application that manages LPAs efficiently.
The Audit/LPA Application creates turtle diagrams that define processes, making them easier to audit and leading to clearer results. The application schedules and conducts checklist-based audits from scheduling through closure. Manufacturers can manage audit findings so corrective actions can take place before problems escalate.
An Audit/LPA Application helps manufacturers boost their bottom line by helping them to design and manufacture high-quality products that satisfy loyal customers and win new ones.
Dive deeper into the benefits of an Audit/LPA Application. Register for our webinar QAD CEBOS EQMS – Audit/LPA application overview.