Take Advantage of a Factory Audit Checklist for Your Company
A factory audit checklist helps factories measure their strengths and weaknesses relative to industry standards. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses will help you uncover possible operational deficiencies and fix them promptly. Businesses looking for a supplier can also use factory audit checklists to assess a factory’s quality systems.
There are various kinds of factory audits. It could be a review of the factory’s processes, operational structure, and output quality. It could also be machinery condition checks, daily output checks, or sampling system and capacity checks.
Two of the most critical audits a company must conduct are the safety audit and the quality audit. With a safety audit checklist, companies can avoid dangerous situations that could lead to serious injuries to employees. Meanwhile, a factory quality audit checklist guarantees that an organization’s products meet the industry standards and are compliant with established regulations.
In this article, the following points are explained:
What Does a Factory Audit Checklist Look Like?
Manufacturing businesses have three key elements that need to undergo regular assessment. The structure of a factory audit checklist depends on which part you want to evaluate.
Your business must deliver products to clients on time. It will encourage confidence from your clients that you can meet their order quantities.
To ensure productivity, you need to examine workflows during production. Your factory audit checklist should include this component. It should also allow you to track how much time your employees spend to produce the finished products. It will not only measure your employee productivity but the efficiency of your manufacturing equipment as well.
If you are a manufacturer looking to boost your profits by improving your factory’s productivity and safety, you could take advantage of a 5s audit checklist for the factory.
The 5S strategy refers to five Japanese terms, which are equivalent to the following:
- Sort – Eliminate unnecessary items
- Set in order – Designate a specific area for each item
- Shine – Keep the workplace clean
- Standardize – Set standards and best practices and follow them
- Sustain – Ensure compliance to the 5S strategy through regular audits
The 5S audit checklist for the factory contains twenty-five evaluation criteria covering the 5S principles mentioned above.
A factory quality audit checklist is one of the most valuable tools for manufacturing companies. It measures your Quality Management Systems (QMS) against set standards. Your QMS must be effective at monitoring procedures that will support continuous business improvement.
When it comes to quality audits, an ISO 9001 factory audit checklist can provide a solid foundation. But it’s just one of the many tools you can use to confirm the effectiveness of your QMS.
Your factory quality audit checklist must have checkpoints related to the following:
- The desired characteristics of your product
- Plans for measuring or testing product quality
- Evaluation and selection of material suppliers
- Raw materials receiving procedure
- Raw materials storage
- First-In, First-Out (FIFO) system or other stock management system
- Quality control reports
3. Regulatory Compliance
Factory audits are required when you apply for certifications such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. Many businesses will require these certifications from their suppliers. Supplier non-compliance could also pose risks to a company’s reputation.
Your factory audit checklist can be customized to meet your specific needs. For example, if you are looking for eco-friendly products, you can add the National Packaging Covenant requirements to your factory quality audit checklist. This can be especially helpful to businesses that want the best possible supplier for their organization.
For a comprehensive safety management program, manufacturers can use the International Labour Standards on Occupational Safety and Health guidelines. In the United States, businesses can refer to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). But again, you can produce your own checklist that complements your operation’s specific risks.
A basic factory safety audit checklist should prompt factories to assess the following:
- Hazardous chemicals storage
- Material safety data sheets
- Access to protective equipment
- Appropriate signage for fire exits and emergency evacuation
- Clean work areas
- Accident, emergency, and safety training for current employees and new hires
- Adequate hazard signage
- Motor-operated machinery inspection
- Ventilation and air-filtration systems
How to Conduct a Factory Audit
A well-planned factory audit can help you select the right provider, evaluate your existing supplier, or improve your manufacturing business. Here are the critical steps to conducting a factory audit:
1. Decide on the Audit Type
Identify the goal you want to achieve in conducting the audit. From there, you can decide which of the following audits you need to meet your objectives:
- System Audits – Make sure your factory’s processes and elements are effective. With a system audit, you can evaluate your organization’s management systems. It ensures that your human resources, machinery, and quality management systems meet specific requirements. For example, you are auditing your QMS guarantees that it’s appropriate for your company policies and satisfies required regulations.
- Product Audits – To examine your services or products, you need to conduct product audits. The products you offer must be compliant with industry standards and the standards set by your customers.
- Process Audits – Are your procedures and processes effective? Are your resources and employees being managed efficiently and effectively? These are the questions that process audits can answer.
2. Create a Factory Audit Checklist
Prepare a factory audit checklist based on the type of audit you decide to conduct. The checklist will help you perform the tasks that will accurately measure the area’s effectiveness you want to evaluate. Following an audit, the checklist ensures that you don’t miss any step in the audit process.
3. Create an Audit Report
Once done with the audit, you can proceed to document your findings in an audit report. Then, you can schedule a meeting to discuss your results. You can use the report to determine corrective actions for the issues listed.
4. Schedule the Next Audit
After performing the necessary corrective actions, perform another audit to find out if they’re effective. Record your findings once again and discuss whether your processes, performance, and products have improved. Your follow-up audit might indicate no improvement in product quality, performance, and processes. If this happens, you will need to determine a new set of corrective actions until you find the effective ones.
Advantages of a Digital Tool for Factory Audits
Paper-based audits in factories are time-consuming and impractical when performed on-site. Afterward, the collected results from the papers must be tediously compiled into a report in the office.
Quality managers can turn to digital and mobile technologies like Lumiform to free themselves from this burden. The desktop software and app allow them to create digital factory audit checklists that they can fill out on the spot. But that’s not the only benefit an audit app offers them for streamlining their factory audits:
- Easily create and customize digital checklists for factory audits with Lumiform’s form builder, or use ready-made templates from the template library.
- Complete factory audits from a handheld device, such as smartphones and tablets.
- Take unlimited photos of incidents and add comments to make the audit more descriptive.
- Assign corrective actions from the app and track their status.
- All results are automatically bundled into a report and can be sent to factory management.
- Lumiform’s scheduling feature ensures that quality managers and their team are reminded when their next factory audit is due.
- Conduct a comprehensive analysis and uncover the root causes of errors, defects, and inefficient processes.
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