Implement a multi-step LPA audit process using digital checklists to double-check critical manufacturing steps.
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The Layered Process Audit (LPA) is a tool to noticeably improve the compliance and implementation of process standards in companies. When applied to the right processes, it automatically has a positive impact on process results and quality.
The good thing about LPA is that it does not require external auditors. With little effort, employees and managers benefit from other positive effects, such as solution-oriented communication, greater understanding of processes, and a higher awareness of process specifications.
The word "Layered" is derived from English (layered = layered). It stands for the different management levels involved in the process audit. Through the "Process Audit", those involved recognize whether work processes have been implemented as agreed, whether they are suitable and whether the goals have thus been achieved.
The LPA is part of the quality management system. Many companies now require such a process audit from their suppliers. This is to guarantee controllable, reliable processes and standards and, if necessary, to continuously optimize them. An LPA will improve a company's operational performance at all levels.
To many employees, an LPA initially appears to be an additional task imposed from above. During implementation, however, it quickly becomes apparent that the layered process audit motivates employees and overcomes hierarchical barriers in communication. Other benefits that result from the introduction of an LPA are:
The introduction of the layered process audit method requires a coordinated arrangement within the company. This is the only way to ensure that quality is maintained through conformity at every stage of production. Crucial to this are the four central elements of the LPA method:
The actual audit then proceeds as follows:
The basis of every Layered Process Audit is the checklist with questions and checkpoints. The LPA checklist is used to verify whether the specified standards are implemented and adhered to in the process. Through LPA, standards should become routine in production.
The LPA questions for the checklist are derived from the important specifications required to achieve a good process result. These include work and process instructions as well as functional and process descriptions. Ideally, the questions should be created jointly between the manager and the employee.
Even experiences of employees and managers can serve as the basis for questions. Customer requirements and results from ongoing processes must also be formulated as questions. There are two different directions to formulate LPA questions:
A layered process audit checklist is designed to be short and easy to answer for simpler and faster reporting. All checklist questions are ideally phrased as closed-ended questions. That is, they can be answered "yes" or "no." In addition, it is advantageous to limit the number of questions in the checklist to one page.
Many companies use LPA software to manage the documentation of results from the checklists. The collected audit reports are analyzed at the end to provide an overview of trends that impact production. Immediately reporting deviations and taking action will help minimize the impact on production. In addition, the collected data can be used for future LPA checklists.
A layered process audit system requires an efficient system to record and manage the data from a multistage process audit. The basis for a successful implementation is the optimal use of time and resources within the quality team and throughout the company. Using Lumiform's Layered Process Audit Layered software, auditors can address the following challenges: