Published 1 Dec 2022
What is a Layered Process Audit?
Layered Process Audit (LPA) is a quality management system in manufacturing designed to add layers of protection against critical risks such as rework, customer complaints, costly product recalls, and reputational damage. Instead of the final production result, it focuses on verifying how the products are made and manufactured. With layered process audits, different “layers” of auditors, including staff and employees, are assigned the exact same set of audits to ensure that high-risk steps in production do not deviate from set specifications.
This 10-question layered process audit checklist is used to assess the conformance of staff to standard processes in production. It can be used by team leaders, site supervisors, and operations managers when conducting scheduled layered process audits on the production floor. The questions in this checklist contain reference images of the ideal scenario to help auditors determine conformance. This particular SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) template allows:
- Taking photos and notes to describe identified non-conformance items
- Assign actions to immediately address urgent issues
- Share reports via PDF or web report
- Get auditor’s signature to confirm completion of the audit
- Schedule the layered audits intended for LPA
In this article
- Why Implement Layered Process Audits?
- 3 Main Components of a Layered Process Audit
- How to Conduct a Layered Process Audit
- Digital Solution to the Challenges of Implementing LPA in Manufacturing
- Featured Layered Process Audit Templates
Why Implement Layered Process Audits?
Layered process audits help manufacturing firms reap the following benefits:
- Reductions in product variations
- Greater discipline in following standard work procedures
- Decreased wasted material, scrap, rework and rejects
- Assist the production staff’s “buy-in” to the quality culture
- Better communication between operators and leadership
- Overall improvement of the manufacturing ecosystem
- Greater efficiency with cost reductions
3 Main Components of a Layered Process Audit
The implementation of a layered process audit program entails a coordinated effort within the organization in maintaining consistent quality through conformance at every stage of production. Here are the 3 main components of layered process audits:
- A layer of auditors
The goal of a layered process audit is to double-check if processes are indeed followed and ensure that issues of non-conformance are immediately corrected. Assigned auditors proactively conduct identical inspections using the same layered process audit template to discover and address inefficiencies in production. Layered process audits are usually assigned to shift supervisors (for daily checks) and middle/upper management (for weekly or monthly checks).
- A layer of audits
A single-layered process audit checklist is used throughout the scheduled assessments, so it is ideally created through the collaboration of the layer of assigned auditors. Layered process audit templates are designed to be as short and easy to answer as possible to allow for easier and faster reporting.
- Audit reporting, follow-up, and containment
Non-conformance and the corresponding corrective actions are then reviewed to ensure that the processes in place are effective in preventing future issues.
Some manufacturing quality auditors use intuitive software to manage documentation and recordkeeping to help them track the status of corrective actions better.Collected audit reports are analyzed to get an overview of trends that impact production. Reporting non-conformance and implementing corrective actions help in containing the impact and preventing future occurrences of non-conformance.
How to Conduct a Layered Process Audit
Performing LPAs involve a lot of stakeholders and can cause inefficient spending of time, if not done properly. Since it aims to eliminate critical risks in the manufacturing process, it is ideal to follow a series of steps that would enable users to seamlessly implement this quality management system. See the key steps below in conducting a layered process audit:
- Assemble the LPA team – Start by forming the LPA team—ideally, this should consist of a wide range of employees from different areas of the organization such as sales, administration, quality management, and order fulfillment. The main goal is to create a dynamic team that offers various perspectives for the endeavor and not limit them to just the specialists.
- Prepare the audit questions – Create a set of audit questions you’d want to be addressed. As a guide, refer to previously noted issues in the manufacturing process or concerns identified using a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA), just make sure that they are objective, specific, and concise. You can also utilize ready-to-use templates for easy and quick LPA implementation.
- Establish the audit plan – This is composed of the multiple layers of audit to be implemented. Specify the personnel or team, and if possible, indicate how frequently should the audit be done in each layer.
- Implement the LPA program – It’s now time to enforce the program from the planning stages to the execution stage. To ensure efficient and effective LPA implementation, proactively follow up and assign corrective actions when necessary.
- Verify program effectiveness – Review the gathered data and from there, measure the effectiveness of the program and find areas where LPAs can be improved further.
Digital Solution to the Challenges of Implementing LPA in Manufacturing
The Layered Process Audit system requires an efficient system to record and manage data from layered audits. Successful implementation requires optimal use of time and resources from within the manufacturing quality team and across the organization. With the help of the SafetyCulture App, you can address the following challenges:
Regular layered process audits that are supposed to be completed per shift, weekly, or monthly can be forgotten. SafetyCulture’s Scheduling feature reminds quality auditors about when a layered process audit schedule is due and provides the time window of when an audit should be completed.
Audits not completed
Audits can be viewed as inconvenient and not given priority considering the day-to-day responsibilities in production. SafetyCulture encourages the completion of audits because of its real-time reporting feature. Also, audits assigned using the scheduling feature will show if they are past due. Further, SafetyCulture conveniently works on mobile devices and can be used when conducting audits anytime anywhere.
Non-conformance can stay ignored if not reported and corrected. The SafetyCulture layered process audit software allows you to take photos and notes via a mobile device to capture and detail any non-conformance found. Issues then can be assigned for immediate action with the corresponding urgency and deadline.
No follow-ups or reviews
Paper-based audits are filed after completion and then later manually retrieved for review; this takes up time that could have been better spent on actually working on the correction of non-conformance. With the Auditor software, auto-generated reports can be easily shared via web or PDF and can be viewed on mobile or desktop.
Complete layered process audit checklist templates and generate CEO-ready reports that are automatically organized and secured in the cloud and can be accessed via mobile or desktop.
No continuous process improvement
Tons of paper-based audits need to be manually organized, reviewed, and recorded to gather sufficient data for analysis. You can utilize SafetyCulture Analytics to provide you a quick overview of frequently failed items to help you determine which items should be given priority. You can also view trends to determine which areas are doing well and those that need improvement. You can also use Scoring to measure how audits perform over time. Lastly, SafetyCulture layered process audit checklists can be easily standardized and cascaded to auditors.
Featured Layered Process Audit Templates
This Layered Process Audit Template can be used for scheduled audits done per shift by the shift supervisor. Converted using SafetyCulture, this template covers:
- Workplace Organization & Environment
- Operator Certification/Standardized Work
- Control Plan
- First Time Quality
- Measurement Systems
- P.M. Activities
The 5S checklist helps promote cleanliness and efficiency by identifying unnecessary items in the production area. Based on the 5S system, this checklist is divided into the following sections: Sort , Set in order, Shining , Standardize, and Sustain.