Layered Process Audits (LPA) are the best management tool to verify that work is performed to standard and process control is in place to ensure quality.

The “Layered” in Layered Process Audit means different people at varying levels of the organization conduct audits. Typically, this includes everyone from plant managers to engineers and supervisors. However, they all conduct them at different time intervals, making it almost impossible for issues to go unnoticed.

LPA implementation has been tied to a more than 50% reduction in customer defects in some organizations – Quality Magazine

Given the cost of just one quality failure, LPAs can sound like a surefire win. However, LPA’s key benefit of multiple layers is its most significant drawback, complexity. Managing audits from all across the organization (particularly if you use paper) can become a logistical nightmare, causing you to miss out on the outcomes LPAs promise.

Digital workflows offer simplicity in managing a Layered Process Audit program and improve companies’ expected outcomes. We break down the top 3 reasons you should consider digital workflows for your LPA program.

1. Easy Implementation & Management

Administering a Layered Process Audits (LPA) program can be complex. It’s a juggle of multiple stakeholders, schedules, and data collection means. If on paper, LPAs are easy to pencil-whip and require tedious data entry to expose errors or trends.

Digital Workflows automate the tedious tasks of rolling out audits globally and, most importantly, collect data in a consistent format. Uniform data is essential, as it enables leaders to easily gleam insights into what is happening within their operation without shifting through individual reports.

Additionally, photos and other media files provide greater clarity into situations auditors see that cannot be easily explained with text.

2. Improved Efficiency & Workforce Engagement

Simply put, digital layered process audits require less time and effort to complete.

Digital Workflow automatically fill-in important but tedious information like auditor name, date, time, and inspection area. Furthermore, the digital format enables checklists to only have questions relevant to the area being audited. Auditors only need to focus on the information that is pertinent to the task at hand.

This focus enables the most critical part of a successful LPA to take place, breaking down barriers between departments. Team members only have to focus on providing their perspective on what needs to be addressed.

Imagine a maintenance manager who can leverage their experience to determine how equipment is running and what might cause it to break down prematurely. Likewise, an HR professional has more time to focus on team members’ interaction in the process to identify potential issues that could end up hurting morale and ultimately impact quality. The engagement of employees from all levels of organization and departments in LPAs- will help identify and fix problems faster!

3. Data-Driven Continuous Improvement

The final advantage of a digital layered process audit is the ease of analyzing and maintaining complex data.

A traditional, manually performed LPA requires a lot of time and effort for the quality department to collect, review, and sometimes even follow up with the initial auditor to clarify the data and make sure it is correct. All that work and effort slows down how quickly that data is available to be shared with the rest of the company. Additionally, it can be difficult to spot trends when reviewing many manually generated LPAs.

Digital layered process audits make it easier to get data and find results. This leaves more time for analysis and creating actionable quality metrics. Beyond what is captured in the audit additional insights and more advanced analytics can be deduced from time stamps and activity logs of the digital LPA activities. The audit results, findings, analyses, and metrics can be easily shared, resulting in increased communication efficiency and transparency. This increased visibility will help managers identify potential problems and take corrective action before they hurt quality.

Digital Layered Process Audits are more effective because they offer many advantages over traditional manual LPAs. These advantages include improved efficiency, greater accuracy and consistency, better engagement of the organization, and easier analysis and maintenance of complex data. It is important to embrace digital tools that can help companies achieve their quality goals as failing to do so negatively impacts the bottom line.

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