Ease Blog

4 Ways Layered Process Audits Foster a Culture of Quality

May 17, 2017  |  Rachel Beavins

Companies with a robust culture of quality save an average of $350 million annually compared to low-performing companies, according to a survey by CEB. While the benefits are clear, getting there is no simple task. In fact, 6 in 10 companies struggle to create a culture where quality is a personal priority to employees, instead of just a management requirement.

So how do you achieve cultural change, an element that is both intangible and reliant on human behavior? Auto and aerospace suppliers are finding that layered process audits (LPAs), in addition to reducing defects, foster quality culture in several important ways.

In this post, we’ll look at how LPAs promote a culture of quality through standardization, leadership engagement, communication and customer satisfaction.

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Taking the Step from Gemba Walks to Layered Process Audits

May 10, 2017  |  Rachel Beavins

Reading the Automotive Industry Action Group’s CQI-8 Layered Process Audit Guideline, you might notice a line saying LPAs are “completed on-site ‘where the work is done.’”

For Lean manufacturing experts, this specific quote might bring to mind Gemba walks, a method where leaders observe and solve problems on the shop floor. In Japanese, Gemba means “the real place,” or in manufacturing, where the work is done.

Whether the reference is intentional or not, layered process audits (LPAs) and Gemba walks share clear similarities. Could it be why companies doing Gemba walks have an easier time with LPA programs, despite their complexity? This post compares Gemba walks with LPAs, exploring how to tell if you’re ready for LPAs and how to prepare.

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Rising to the Challenge: How Automotive Suppliers Are Addressing IATF 16949

Mar 09, 2017  |  Mark Whitworth

In accordance with the new standard, IATF 16949, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) recently published a document updating its customer-specific requirements. This publication, along with similar documents from General Motors and other large automotive customers, lays out tighter requirements that are prompting automotive suppliers around the world to evaluate their existing processes and systems to ensure compliance.

Notably, the document requires suppliers to conduct an internal quality audit at least once per year, and also mandates they conduct Layered Process Audits (LPA) on all elements of manufacturing and assembly lines that produce parts for FCA. In this article, we’ll highlight some of FCA’s specific requirements, evaluate their significance and in some cases, discuss potential solutions that can help companies with compliance.

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Critical Strategies for Improving Supplier Quality Management

Feb 06, 2017  |  Mark Whitworth

During the past 30 years, global manufacturing has evolved into a fast-growing network of overlapping supply chains, ever-changing regulatory requirements and complex operational demands. Consider that many automotive and aerospace manufacturers can have thousands of suppliers and other third-parties in their supply chain for any given product. As such, these and similar organizations are becoming more and more strained in managing and overseeing the quality, cost and timely delivery of raw materials and parts. It’s more critical than ever to have the right tools and systems in place to support those many different aspects.

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Evaluating Effective Supplier Quality Assurance

Jan 30, 2017  |  Mark Whitworth

Supplier Quality Assurance (SQA) is the process intended to ensure that a supplier reliably supplies goods or services that satisfy the customer’s needs. This process is collaborative to ensure the supplier’s offerings meet the agreed-upon requirements with minimum inspection or modification.

Effective quality assurance should incorporate a combination of process and product audits that manage external and internal checks and focus on supplier management, quality conformity of the product through its lifecycle, production and equipment quality and effectiveness, and pre-shipment inspections. In this article, we’ll take a high-level look at the overall SQA process and discuss key considerations that impact its effectiveness. It’s important to note that, while SQA applies to both products and services, we’ll simplify the topic here by speaking only to product-related processes.

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Recognizing the Benefits and Pitfalls of Layered Process Audits

Jan 26, 2017  |  Mark Whitworth

The Path to Better Performance and Profitability

What are layered process audits?

Layered process auditing (LPA) is a quality management approach increasingly used by manufacturing and service companies alike to address a gap in traditional product-oriented approaches. When properly implemented,. l­­­­ayered auditing is the most effective way to ensure processes consistently follow approved standards, reducing waste and rework, improving quality, and driving cultural change throughout an organization.

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Your Transition to IATF 16949: 5 Critical Things to Think About Right Now

Nov 08, 2016  |  Mark Whitworth

Over the years, ISO/TS 16949 has emerged as the leading standard for quality system requirements in the automotive industry.

But now, as a result of last month’s publication from the International Automotive Task Force (IATF), the industry will have to brace for an evolved global industry standard, referred to as IATF 16949.

As organizations start thinking about compliance, there are critical insights and decisions that will need to be considered along the way. In this blog, we’ll highlight five key factors that are shaping this change, what they mean, and why your organization should start thinking about them now.

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Announcing Beacon 1.13: New Languages, Improved Reports and Mobile Support

Aug 16, 2016  |  Ease Inc

We are excited to announce the latest Beacon update, which adds features designed to help teams improve global quality control. The 1.13 release includes new languages, improved reports, and enhanced mobile support.  Continue reading to learn more about the specific feature enhancements.

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From Automotive to Aerospace: Key Cross-Industry Learnings on Quality Management

Jul 14, 2016  |  Ease Inc

What is quality management? 

Quality management ensures that products or services are consistent and conform to approved standards across key areas including planning, control, assurance and improvement. Quality management not only monitors product and service quality, but also assesses and examines the associated processes.  It's a big deal in every every industry - from automotive to aerospace.


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Supplier Opportunities for Competitive Differentiation through Process Audits

Jul 06, 2016  |  The Luminous Group

As a supplier, there are many elements being used to measure your effectiveness. Some of the most critical elements include:

  • Are order specifications being met?
  • Are your goods or services being delivered on time?
  • Are orders taken effectively?
  • How is the quality?

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