Do you know how to conduct an audit of your daily manufacturing processes? Process audits are a standard industrial activity. It helps ensure that all operations continue to run well, allowing your company to produce things more effectively while cutting overall operating costs.
Process audits can take many different forms, from basic checklists and kamishibai cards to deep dives into specific processes. Non-conformances are documented, classified, and collected during manufacturing process audits. Operators then manage the corrective steps.
So to wrap it up nicely, manufacturing process audits are essential to verify that production lines are working properly, to check quality and safety, and to detect deviations at an early stage. Here’s a rundown of everything you’ll need to know about auditing your manufacturing processes.
Best practises of Manufacturing Process Audits
Process audits are a required aspect of doing business for some companies (many automotive and aerospace/defense industries demand that their suppliers conduct and disclose audits on a regular basis). Others see process audits as a means of incorporating objectivity and participation into the quality process.
Process audits are a simple approach to enhance your procedures over time. Audits, when done correctly, are a strong instrument for continuous improvement.
Many efforts for manufacturing process audits start off well but quickly devolve into unused whiteboards? Modern manufacturing companies want to tackle these challenges with digital solutions so they can:
- Enhance quality and safety on the shop floor
- Proactive approach, so fewer corrective actions
- Less downtime, scrap and rework of orders
- Higher efficiency and turnaround
Ineffective types of Manufacturing Process Audits
Process audits, while necessary, have a reputation for being “flavor-of-the-week” changes with little long-term impact.
For manufacturing companies it’s a necessity that process audits need a regular commitment, so operators don’t “pencil-whip” their audit checklist. So the challenge is how operators do audits and not the audits themselves.
Below are some of the old process audit techniques used by today’s manufacturing companies that lead to unsatisfactory results.
#1 Checklist audits on paper
A process audit can be implemented as a checklist in its most basic form. These checklists are frequently kept at the daily management board or at the entrance of each production cell. It may be filled with whatever specifications you want, and it’s normally updated once a month.
In practice, however, we grow reliant on a small number of people to complete this duty, and audits are frequently overlooked or forgotten. Occasionally, a line leader or support staff member will swiftly walk through the process audit to check for compliance.
Process audit checklists on paper are therefore ineffective. Data collection on paper is time consuming. It’s difficult to put observations into context. As a result, the most often non-compliant objects are disregarded, audits aren’t conducted as thoroughly as they should be, and quality suffers as a result.
#2 Process audits by cards
Some companies have concluded that manufacturing process audits take too long and place too much pressure on an already overworked line leader, operator, supporting supervisor, or engineer. These organizations might switch to a Kamishibai technique, a simple card-based audit software.
The idea behind Kamishibai is that process audits should be visible and simple so that everyone may participate in them. The cards are double-sided, with one side having a “GOOD” condition and the other having a “BAD” condition.
While these paper-card systems are a great visual management technique, they can be challenging to maintain. Creating and managing cards is a time-consuming process. Honestly, it can be tedious to make cards. People want an effective process audit method, not an arts and craft assignment.
#3 Layered manufacturing process audits
Layered audits are useful in a situation when process audits are unevenly assigned on a few individuals.
Additional “layers” of an organization are included in a layered process audit. Along with shop floor workers, this might include management, leadership, and other teams.
Manufacturers may construct a more robust quality program by adding layers to a regular, organized audit process. It is a way to conduct process audits more easily, but quite time-consuming.
Try the digital way for your audit process
When it comes down to it, eliminating paper is one of the most straightforward methods to improve your operations. Audits are a great place to start.
Got the urge to go the digital route and transform your company to a modern factory? Azumuta’s audit module can help to enhance your quality management, audit inspection and audit process performance. Our platform is easily adaptable to various production processes and plants.
Thanks to digital tools like azumuta, companies can save a lot of money. Easily check, analyze, report, and sign off. Work faster and always in compliance with all audit standards.
If you’re interested in digitizing your process audits, you can get started with a free trial of Azumuta.