Layered Process Audits (LPA)

Implement a layered auditing process to double-check critical manufacturing steps

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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. In a layered process audit, 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.

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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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 a layered process audit 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. 

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 an optimal use of time and resources from within the manufacturing quality team and across the organization. With the help of the iAuditor Layered Process Audit Software, you can address the following challenges:

  • Uncoordinated scheduling
    Regular layered process audits that are supposed to be completed per shift, weekly, or monthly can be forgotten. iAuditor’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. The iAuditor Layered Process Audit Software 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. Further, 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. The iAuditor inspection app 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 layered process audit software, auto-generated reports can be easily shared via web or PDF and can be viewed on mobile or desktop.
  • Unorganized record-keeping
     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 iAuditor 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, iAuditor layered process audit checklists can be easily standardized and cascaded to auditors.