What is a Layered Process Audit?
Layered Process Auditing (LPA) is a quality management system in manufacturing that is designed to add layers of protection against critical risks that can lead to rework, customer complaints, costly product recalls, and damage to the company’s reputation. In an LPA, different “layers” of auditors are assigned the exact same set of audits to ensure that high-risk steps in production do not deviate from set specifications.
This article will briefly discuss: 1) the main components of an LPA; 2) challenges to implementing an LPA; and 3) technology that can help solve said challenges.
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3 Main Components of an LPA
LPA implementation entails a coordinated effort within the company in maintaining consistent quality through conformance at every stage of production. Here are the 3 main components of an LPA:
1. A layer of auditors
The goal of an LPA 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 audit checklist to discover and address inefficiencies in production. LPAs are usually assigned to shift supervisors (daily) and middle/ upper management (weekly, monthly).
2. A layer of audits
A single audit checklist will be used throughout scheduled LPAs, so it is ideally created through the collaboration of the layer of auditors assigned to conduct the LPAs. LPA checklists are designed to be as short and easy to answer as possible to allow for easier reporting.
3. Audit reporting, follow-up, and containment
Collected audit reports are analyzed to get an overview of trends that impact production. Reporting non-conformance identified during audits and taking corrective action to immediately address issues help in containing the impact and avoiding future occurrences of non-conformance. Non-conformance and the corresponding corrective actions are then reviewed to ensure that the processes in place are effective in preventing future issues.
Digital Solution to the Challenges of Implementing LPA in Manufacturing
The LPA system, due to the layered system of audits involved, requires an efficient system to record and report collected audit information. Successful implementation requires a significant amount of time, resources, and coordination across the organization. With the help of iAuditor, the world’s most powerful auditing software, you can address the following challenges:
• Uncoordinated scheduling
✖ Regular audits that are supposed to be completed per shift, weekly, or monthly can be forgotten.
✔ iAuditor’s scheduling feature reminds auditors when an inspection is due and provides the time window of when it should be completed.
• Audits not completed
✖ Audits can be viewed as inconvenient and not given priority considering the day-to-day responsibilities in production.
✔ iAuditor encourages completion of audits because of its real-time reporting feature. Also, audits assigned using the scheduling feature will show if they are past due.
✔ iAuditor conveniently works on mobile devices and can be used when conducting audits anytime anywhere.
• Ongoing non-conformance
✖ Non-conformance can stay ignored if not reported and corrected.
✔ iAuditor allows taking photos and notes via mobile devices to capture and detail any non-conformance found.
✔ Issues 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 time that could have been better spent on actually working on the correction of non-conformance.
✔ iAuditor reports are easily shared via web or PDF and can be viewed on mobile or desktop.
✔ Negative answers on iAuditor can be setup to trigger required actions.
• Unorganized record-keeping
✖ Paper-based record-keeping is neither effective nor sustainable.
✔ iAuditor audit reports are automatically organized and secured in cloud-based storage and accessible 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.
✔ iAuditor analytics show frequently failed items that can help determine which items should be given priority.
✔ View trends to determine which areas are doing well and which are the areas for improvement.
✔ Scoring gives measure to how audits are performing over time.
✔ iAuditor checklists are easy to update and cascaded to all auditors.