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Tutorials

Process Audits

July 14, 2021

Part of Lean manufacturing involves reviewing your processes based on your business process maps. This is done to keep your processes working Lean while keeping the costs reasonable.

The most common tool used to ensure that your processes stick to the plan is the audit. General manufacturing audits and process audits add extra checks on your standard Quality Management System (QMS) by getting regular management and executive review.

A general audit is a non-layered audit of a part, process, or area. Each audit is divided into groups, and each group consists of a series of questions.

Process audits review internal departmental processes to establish the department’s conformance with registered standards and practices and to apply any required corrections to ensure standards are met. These audits can be further broken down into layered process audits, or LPAs, which can be applied at multiple levels of your organization from the operator supervisor to your C suite.

Audits help you:

  • Ensure that you are meeting quality, and other, requirements
  • Decrease process inaccuracies
  • Make your processes consistent
  • Encourage continued process improvements

Planning for an Audit

Planning for an audit required 4 simple steps:

  1. Select the process
  2. Set the frequency
  3. Schedule the audit
  4. Assign the audit

Select the process

If this is your first time performing an audit, select an efficient process that has had few problems. Otherwise, begin by selecting your high priority processes.

Set the frequency

This is how often the audit will be performed. Usually, the frequency will be within x days, based on how efficient the process is, when the process was created, what is being processed, and who is conducting the process and the audit.

For example, a process that:

  • regularly reports errors will need to be audited more frequently to help improve the process
  • rarely reports errors, is run by a veteran operator, and has low impact on production will need to be audited less frequently

Schedule the audit

Randomize the audit times so that they will be run at different times throughout a shift. Be sure to publish and post the scheduled times so operators will know there will be a process audit. If a process is audited by two separate teams, try and schedule the audit to ensure both teams can review the process at the same time.

For example, if a supervisor audits a process every 30 days and a manager audits the process every 90 days, then try and have the supervisor and manager audits happen simultaneously on the 90-day mark.

Assign the audit

Assign audits based on the priority of the process. Have higher priority processes audited by more than one team, though management and executive staff should have a lower process audit frequency.

For example, have your highest priority processes audited by the following members at the following frequencies:

  • Weekly supervisor audits
  • Monthly team manager audits
  • Quarterly operations manager audits
  • Yearly operations officer audits

Performing an Audit

When performing an audit, you:

  1. Notify staff of upcoming audits
  2. Score the process
  3. Resolve issues
  4. Advise stakeholders

Notify staff of upcoming audits

The goal isn’t to surprise staff and catch them doing something wrong but rather to watch staff performing the process as written.

Score the process

On an audit form, record your results. By scoring your audits, you can better understand what problems have priority.

Resolve issues

Fix any problems you find right away. Staff currently working the process will also be on hand to help with any corrections and they can learn how to correct it themselves if the issue persists.

Advise stakeholders

Notify any people or teams that have an interest in the proper operation of the process of your findings.

OnRamp’s Audit Modules

OnRamp ERP comes with two modules to help organize your manufacturing audits: Layered Process Audit and General Audit. Together, these apps will help ensure your processes are working within set parameters.

For more information on running process audits in OnRamp ERP, see Layered Process Audits (onramp-solutions.com).

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