Industry Forum

Industry 4.0 has become a new buzzword within Industry over recent years, but what exactly is it? And what factors have brought this ‘new era’ about?

There are a number of driving factors…

  • Changing Customer and Market demands for more and more individual products, exactly when they want it. No more Ford Model-T mind set of “any colour you want, as long as it’s black”.
  • The demand cannot be satisfied by traditional methods only, e.g. adding machines or shifts. Indeed capex investment is expected to generate less than half of the value creation expected to come through Industry 4.0
  • The Technology required is available today to start the journey – it is often referred to as ‘Disruptive Technology’, and it is the application of this technology which is expected to generate the greater proportion of value through Industry 4.0.

Disruptive Technology can be categorised under a number of headings;

  • Data, Computational Power and Connectivity
    • Cloud Computing
    • The Industrial Internet
    • Cyber Security
  • Analytics and Intelligence
    • Big Data and Analytics
    • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
    • Horizontal and Vertical System Integration
    • Machine sensors and Predictive Maintenance.
  • Human/Machine Interaction
    • Augmented Reality
    • Touch screen interfaces
    • Voice and Movement recognition
  • Digital to Physical conversion
    • Advanced Robotics
    • 3D Printing

Do not doubt the ability of machines to learn – we have watched in awe at the success of AI programs like Google subsidiary DeepMind’s AlphaZero. Within two hours of taking up chess AlphaZero was beating human players; after four it was beating the best chess computer in the world; in nine it was the best chess player the world has ever seen.

So where does this fit, if at all, with Lean Manufacturing as a business strategy?

Well, Technology is NOT the solution, but it will be a vital part of the solution. The big picture is to achieve the speed and flexibility required to service an ever more demanding marketplace. Using technology can increase the value of digital information along the entire product lifecycle – Plan, Source, Make, Deliver and Return. The ‘digital thread’ will enhance visibility, reduce data loss and ultimately increase speed of flow through a fully integrated Supply Chain.

Disruptive technologies can augment Lean activities already being deployed to improve this flow.

Here are some examples;

Long Machine Changeovers;

Product changeovers can be time-consuming, yet they are necessary for manufacturers to switch a production line from one product to another. By utilising digital automation tools such as sensors and software, conventional Lean activities such as SMED can be enhanced. Use of RFID tags on materials can allow machines to identify the next product arriving in station, and automatically reset machine parameters without the need for operator intervention.

Breakdown Losses

With the increase in today’s’ computing power, the vast amount of data that can be recorded by relatively inexpensive machine sensors can be analysed. Using advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques the potential for breakdowns can be identified before they occur. This form of predictive maintenance allows operators to ‘see’ when components are wearing out and perform preventative maintenance at the optimal time, reducing spares costs as well as expensive downtime.

Poor Quality

Lean techniques such as self-inspection, poke yoke and jidoka have long been used to help prevent and detect errors. Technology such as Vision Systems can augment this by removing the human error element of visual inspection, whilst the data it provides can be analysed in real-time so that operators can be confident the process is constantly meeting the required quality standards. Faster feedback of the data collected through this technology, along with correlation models, helps to reduce the lead-time for the root cause analysis of errors.

Thus traditional Lean can be augmented by utilising the benefits of Disruptive Technology. It even has a name, coined by Boston Consulting Group  – ‘Lean Industry 4.0’.

As the demand for more and more individual products at ever shorter lead-times grows, established Lean principles based on mass production will be augmented with new tools that enhance flexibility – e.g. Quick Response Manufacturing, Concurrent Engineering, Scrum and Agile.

Companies within the Aerospace industry have long since recognised that although they compete to gain market share, they also share common challenges. In the past they have created differing techniques and methods to try and achieve the same results. To address this, a group of Aerospace engine manufacturers joined together to create the Aerospace Engine Supplier Quality (AESQ) group. The objective of the group was to discuss and identify opportunities to develop joint requirements for the Aerospace engine supply chain. One of the more tangible results of the group’s activities is the release of a number of industry recognised standards.

AS13004 Process Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (PFMEA) and Control Plan were released by the AESQ in August 2017 to document the common approach to be used for process risk analysis and control.

As can be seen the scope of the standard takes input from the Design Risk Analysis activity which then allows the process steps which create Key Characteristics to be determined. This allows for a better informed understanding of the process flow.

The process flow diagram describes the manufacturing process in a step by step manner and acts as a linking document to the Process FMEA and Control Plan. The Process FMEA evaluates the risks associated with each step of the process considering how each feature from the design record is created. The PFMEA further considers what can to be done either to prevent the risk from occurring or detecting its presence. Ranking tables based on a 1 to 10 score are used to establish the severity of the risk, the frequency of occurrence for the risk and finally the ability to detect the risk. These tables are used to help prioritise risks for improvement action.

The Control Plan in essence defines the controls to be put in place to manage the risks identified within the PFMEA. These controls fall into 2 categories, the control of product features and the control of process parameters. The focus of these controls should be to prevent the risks identified in the PFMEA from occurring. An additional feature of the Control Plan is known as the reaction plan. This defines the action to be taken if the product or process is found to be non-confirming.

What are the benefits of effective implementation of PFMEA and Control Plan?

The evidence from a number of manufacturing sectors suggests that with the implementation of a proactive management culture, supported by an FMEA approach coupled with Control Plans, the following benefits can be achieved:

  • A reduction in the cost of non-quality such as scrap, rework and repair.
  • An improved delivery performance for example delivery slots not missed due to resolving processing problems.
  • A reduction in warranty cost as a result of a better understanding of the production process and its impact on product performance in the field.

Industry Forum are pleased to announce the availability of a number of training courses in support of the techniques and methods suggested within the AS13004 standard.

To find out more about AS13004 PFMEA and Control Plan and how Industry Forum can support your journey of improvement see:

AS13004 – Design and Process FMEA Essentials for Aerospace (1 Day)

AS13004 Process FMEA and Control Plan Practitioner for Aerospace (2 Days)


QRM is a strategy for reducing lead-times across all functions of an organisation, the resulting improvement in speed and responsiveness providing the organisation with a competitive advantage.

Many well-known Lean Manufacturing tools have been developed for high volume/low variety, or ‘mass production’ environments. Think of techniques such a Pull Systems, Kanban, Line Balancing and Heijunka  for instance, often applied to fast moving production lines. However, these tools often do not translate well to low volume/high variety environments, which require short batch runs, higher levels of customisation and fast response to changes in customer demand.

For businesses facing the challenge of meeting increased customisation and speed, QRM is a strategy which relentlessly focuses on reducing lead-time both on the shop floor and in the office operations.

The first of the 4 major QRM concepts is the Power of Time.

Many hidden costs within a business are driven by long lead-times. Typical symptoms include excess inventories, planning difficulties, expediting costs, overtime, quality issues and so on.  The result is often dissatisfied customers and a stressed workforce.

In his book ‘It’s About Time’, Professor Rajan Suri – the author of QRM, talks about “Response Time Spirals”. See if you recognise your own business in the following description!

Apterix Inc. make drive shafts which have an 8 week manufacturing lead-time. However their customers only gives them a 2 week fixed delivery schedule. Apterix can therefore only respond if it makes some drive shafts ahead of time. This requires a Sales Forecast to decide what and how much to build. Having been caught out in the past, Apterix planners build in additional safety stocks to ensure supply, the result is a build-up of both finished goods and work in progress. To compound matters a customer introduces a new product that sells far better than predicted. Apetrix’s forecast for this product was far too low, and it now cannot meet the demand within the customer lead-time. The result is “hot jobs” being expedited through the manufacturing process to meet requirements. Heroic effort is put in by Apterix to meet this demand, with the result that “regular jobs” are pushed aside or put to the back of the queue. Apterix planners realise they will let other customers down as a result, with jobs that were planned to take 8 weeks now taking 10-11 weeks to complete. In order to keep everyone satisfied the planners decide to extend their planning lead-time to 11 weeks in order to better meet their customer demands.

However, we all know that the longer the forecast horizon is – the less accurate the forecast will be. A longer planning window gives more opportunities for future “hot jobs” to interrupt the flow. In a couple years’ time the 11 week jobs are not regularly getting through on time. Then a planner has an idea to extend the planning lead-time to 14 weeks……

And so the Response Time Spiral propagates.

By visualising the lead-time clearly and using one overriding measure to drive it down, the organisation will have clarity on its strategic goal and avoid confusion around conflicting objectives.

The overriding measure within QRM is MCT – Manufacturing Critical path Time; ‘the typical amount of calendar time from when a  customer creates an order, through the critical path, until the first pieces of that order is delivered to the customer.’

MCT is a core metric within QRM. If you are interested in finding out more about the Power of Time and the other 3 concepts core to QRM click here. 

The big question for many organisations starting on NPI improvement journey is: What should they do first? A good starting point is to complete an internal analysis to identify strengths and weaknesses. This approach can be both more cost effective and can help to prioritise improvement activities. To facilitate this internal analysis, a robust self-assessment tool can provide people with a method to step back, reflect on current processes and make objective decisions on where the improvements need to focus. The company can then decide how best to approach improvements to processes and to build the capability to use them effectively.

Earlier this year Industry Forum launched a free NPI self-assessment tool to help organisations start their NPI improvement journey. Since the launch of the NPI self-assessment tool we have received responses from organisations across multiple manufacturing sectors (including automotive, aerospace, health, food and process). Respondents to the NPI self-assessment have covered most organisational functions including project management, quality, design engineering, manufacturing engineering, supply chain, senior management and manufacturing. This has highlighted that concern with NPI success is business wide. 

In this article we will share some of the analysis results across the self-assessments completed and talk about common weak areas identified for improvement. Before we get to analysis results here is your chance to complete the free NPI self-assessment if you have not already done so.

Click here to take the Free NPI self-assessment and receive your individual feedback report

Fig. 1: Summary of NPI self-assessment responses


Fig. 2: Industry forum NPI model for Launch excellence

The NPI Process Pillar is by far the biggest area of concern highlighted in NPI self-assessment responses. 59% of responses (see Fig. 1) within this pillar showed it as an area of concern for the respondents. It is also one of the key process pillars in the Industry Forum NPI model for Launch Excellence (see Fig. 2).

Successful NPI processes are aligned to business needs and agreed with all stakeholders. Lack of stakeholder commitment is often seen either due to a cumbersome NPI process or the process not being rigorous enough to produce the desired NPI results (enough to pass an audit but not to deliver success). This is also an area where best practices start must be adapted to best fit the context of individual organisations.  It all comes down to having a ‘right-sized’ NPI process that meets the business needs. So how do we get to this right sized NPI process?

The right sized NPI process definition should:

  1. Be adaptable to both simple and complex situations (not forcing simple product launches to follow over-complex processes designed for the worst case).
  2. Have a clear definition and buy in from a cross-functional team to agree the expected activities, deliverables and clear decision making for NPI (including customer requirements such as APQP).
  3. Have buy in from a cross-functional team on the standard work output for each activity within NPI process.
  4. Have measures for process adherence and NPI outputs agreed and implemented within teams.

How long does it take to define a robust NPI process? Industry Forum normally facilitates this through a four days NPI Process Pillar workshop as a closed course at your site.  This workshop includes reviewing the existing NPI process, defining a suitable future state with cross functional team and defining measures for sustained implementation of the new NPI process. The team should then trial the process (either in sections or as a whole) to ensure it delivers the objectives before it is rolled out across the organisation. For more information on the improvement facilitation support please contact [email protected]


As we all know IATF 16949 requires us to carry out Measurement System Analysis to analyse the variation present in the results of each type of inspection, measurement and test equipment system identified in the control plan.

IATF clause:-

  • Measurement system analysis.

The NOTE attached clarifies focus on:- Prioritization of MSA studies should focus on critical or special product or process characteristics.

IATF Annex B: Bibliography – supplemental automotive then gives us a number of different approaches such as AIAG MSA , ANFIA AQ024 MSA or VDA Volume 5 Capability of  Measuring Systems  

Measurement System Analysis (MSA)

Measurement Systems are so much more than the measuring instruments and Gages that are used for measuring. The measurement value that we see is a result of the measurement process being carried out by:

  • The Measuring instrument (Equipment)
  • The person using the measuring instrument (Appraiser)
  • The Environment in which the system operates
  • The Methods used for setup and measurement of the parts
  • The tooling and fixture that locates and orientates the part being measurement
  • The software that performs calculations and outputs the result

The reading that you obtain is influenced by each one of the above. The extent to which each of the above parameters affect the reading may vary from one situation to another. However, each one of these influences can be looked at as factors introducing variation in the process of measurement.


A measurement system tells you in numerical terms important information about the part that you measure. How sure can you be about the data that the measurement system delivers? Is it the real value that you obtain out of the measurement process, or is it the measurement system error that you see?

Measurement system errors can be costly, and can affect your capability to obtain the true value of what you measure. It is often said that you can be confident about your reading of a parameter only to the extent that your measurement system can allow.

For example, a process may have total tolerance to an extent of 30 microns. The measurement system that you use to measure this process, however, may have an inherent variation (error) of 10 microns. This means that you are left with only 20 microns as your process tolerance. The measurement system variation is eating into your process tolerance.

How does MSA differ from calibration?

Calibration is a process to compare the measuring instrument against standards of known value and uncertainty, and correct the difference if any. Calibration is done under controlled conditions and by specially trained personnel.

However on the shop floor, where these instruments are used, the measurement process is affected by many different factors such as method of measurement, appraiser’s influence, environment and the method of locating the part. All these can introduce variation in the measured value. It is important we assess, measure and document all the factors affecting the measurement process, and try to minimize their effect.

The complete process used to obtain measurement.

(Man, Machine, Material, Method, Environment).


The number of groups within the process data that the measurement system can discern is used as a quality check of the measurement system; if the number of categories is low, or the measurement samples are clustered compared to a relatively large tolerance zone the measurement system might be poor.

If the measurement system’s discrimination is inadequate, it may not be possible to accurately measure process variation or quantify measurements for individual parts.

The ability of the gauge to detect changes in the characteristic being measured and discriminate between measurement values is very important. The amount of change from the reference value that an instrument can detect and faithfully indicate helps us to understand if the discrimination is acceptable.

Discrimination looks at the measuring equipment and is typically considered to be the smallest graduation on the scale of the instrument.

When should MSA be applied

A measurement systems analysis study may also be required when:

  • There is a new manufacturing process
  • There is a new product to manufacture
  • There are customer concerns
  • There are internal quality issues
  • There is a change in process capability
  • There is a change in skill level

The study will aim to identify the elements of the total process variation which is due to the measurement system and the element which is due to actual part variation.

How will MSA benefit my organisation

MSA helps reduce both the type of risks associated with measurement of a process and making decisions, the risk of False Alarm and the risk of Missed Opportunities.

Industry Forum are able to offer  training and support related to MSA so if you are intrested and would like to find out more then please contact us at [email protected]  

Companies within the Aerospace industry have long since recognised that although they compete to gain market share, they also share common challenges. In the past they have created differing techniques and methods to try and achieve the same results. To address this, the aviation, space, and defence industry established the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) for the purpose of achieving significant improvements in quality, delivery, safety, and reductions in cost, throughout the value stream. This organization includes representation from companies in the Americas, Asia/Pacific, and Europe. One of the more tangible results of the group’s activities is the release of a number of industry recognised standards.

AS9145 Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) / Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) was released by the IAQG in November 2016 to document the common approach to be used for the advanced quality planning for new product designs, new process designs, changes to existing designs and processes and also covering changes in sources of supply.

This standard improves both the quality of the product and process design by defining an aerospace sector agreed 5 phase approach. This approach was taken from the automotive industry and is gaining traction as best practice across a number of manufacturing sectors.

Focusing on the “advanced” element of APQP it is clear that it provides a planning tool which ensures a proactive approach for new product introduction. This results in a cleaner product introduction and a significant reduction in the amount of work being required to fire fight problems during early product launch.

APQP as defined by AS9145 sequences the application of tools and techniques which support vertical product launch. In simple teams commit resources in advance to support problem free introduction of product instead of committing resources to fixing problems because the planning was not adequate. APQP defines the sequence that tools and techniques should be implemented in support of the goal of vertical product launch and the pursuit of zero defects.







Industry Forum is pleased to announce the availability of a number of training courses in support of the techniques and methods suggested within the AS9145 standard. To find out more about AS9145 APQP/PPAP and how Industry Forum can support your journey of improvement see our relevant courses: 

AS9145 – APQP Essentials for Aerospace (1 Day)

AS9145 – PPAP Essentials for Aerospace (1 Day)

AS9145 APQP and PPAP Essentials (2 Days)

AS9145 APQP and PPAP Practitioner (5 Days)

For almost any manufacturer, accelerating the time to market of new product introduction is a key strategic imperative within the constantly changing nature of today’s market environments. Aspirational growth targets are fundamental to future business strategy and a large part of achieving this growth will involve the introduction of new opportunities and new products into the business. Accomplishing a seamless new product launch is therefore critical in an organisation’s ability to meet both the constantly evolving market demands and internal growth targets identified within the business strategy. Executing a seamless new product launch however, is a challenging endeavour when taking into consideration the complexity of collaborating with multiple business functions such as engineering, planning, manufacturing, quality assurance and supply chain.


There are various ways in which projects can be approached and a host of ‘methodologies’, ‘frameworks’ and ‘processes’ have been developed over the years. Choosing the right project management approach for your organisation can be a challenge. On the other hand if we think about some of the reasons for NPI project failures the usual suspects come to mind –

  • Failure to set expectations and manage them
    • Lack of communication at any level
    • Inefficient documentation and tracking of progress
    • Competing priorities
    • Disregard of project warning signs / risks
  • Poor planning and/or inadequate structure of process
  • Poor project leadership or implementation – inadequately trained project managers or project teams
  • Inaccurate cost estimates

The good news is while every project is unique, there are a number of core Project Management principles which underpin success.


As part of a robust NPI approach, organisations must have a Project Management structure that establishes the key stakeholder activities, communication, risk management, lessons learned, change management and customer management. Without good project management embedded many organisations find themselves ‘firefighting’ NPI projects to launch. For a successful product launch project management needs to be a specialist skill on a par with other technical and business skills

What to do?

A good starting point would be to have a definition for project in your organisation and separate it from business as usual. Following this define a structured project management approach. Something to remember is that following a structured project management approach will help us not only to produce successful result for projects today but over a period of time consolidate on the business as usual activities too.

Here are some simple questions to ask within your teams and define your improvement areas related to project management –

  1. Do we all have a common understanding and awareness of project management principles?
  2. Do we have a project management approach established with a structured project planning process?
  3. Do we have effective communication in project teams from start to end of projects – consider planning, assigning, monitoring, controlling and close out of projects?
  4. Do we effectively manage project risk and changes in the team?
  5. Do we continuously improve our project management methodologies with a lessons learned feedback loop?

If you can consistently answer yes to all of the above questions than you are not far from having a strong project management pillar in the NPI model. Consider this is as another successful step taken on the journey to achieve product launch excellence.

If you are not quite there, Industry Forum offers both in-house and open courses, as well as one-two-one support to help you on your way to product launch excellence. Contact us today for a no obligation discussion about your requirements. 

As we welcome in the new financial year for many companies, it’s time to spring clean your stores and refresh your inventory policy.

“The holy grail of Supply Chain is having the right stock of the right product is ever elusive…you’ll never get it right 100% of the time – but you can get close if you stage agile, adapt and review your inventory policies. “

Getting this right will improve a whole host of things throughout your entire supply chain; warehousing and logistics costs, procurement saving opportunities, write down savings and availability improvements, ultimately leading to increased sales revenue and a healthier bottom line.

With experience in reducing inventory by 25% and generating a 2% uplift in sales as a result of better management of inventory policy, our Supply Chain experts can support you through this change.

Identify your core range.

Before we can do anything, we have to define our Core. Whatever your business, industry or market – defining your core will give focus to your business.

Defining your Core product can be done in various ways. This could be determined by sales volume, overall revenue, profit, key customers, strategy…it’s really up to you.

How to determine your Core

As a general guide, best practice is to use a Pareto classification method. Remember, reviewing your core on regular basis is advisable (annually is most common).

This approach is popular because:

It’s based on rules and logic that everyone can understand

It’s easy to ‘tweak’ the boundaries and rules for modelling

It focuses attention on the part of your business that delivers the most revenue – focus where it matters!

Regular reviews and reclassification of products with revised Pareto Core identification reduces the risk of outdated stocking policies, overstock and stock outs

Explaining the Pareto Principle

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. The principle was first suggested by management consultant Joseph M. Juran.

Richard Koch authored the book, The 80/20 Principle, which illustrated some practical applications of the Pareto principle in business management and life – “80% of sales come from 20% of clients”.

Mathematically, the 80/20 rule is roughly followed by a power law distribution (also known as a Pareto distribution) for a particular set of parameters, and many natural phenomena have been shown empirically to exhibit such a distribution.

Popular Pareto Classifications

A basic Pareto class groups products into 3 categories – A, B and C. The Best practice method assigns the top 80% to category A, the next 15% to category B and the final 5% to category C.

If we consider this graphically in the below example we can see the boundaries of our categories:

This basic Pareto classification will give you a solid starting point.

Once you’ve assigned your categories, you can begin managing the groups with different rules and urgency.

Inventory Management

Identifying your core is merely a tool. Management of the different categories is crucial to get the benefits you desire.

Below are my guidelines for inventory management of the three ABC categories.

Category A – These are your key revenue generators. They are typically consistent, high volume, low variation sellers. Service should be high, stock should be turned frequently, availability is key here. You should not go out of stock of these products. Forecasts should have a high accuracy.

Good service from your suppliers is vital here. If managed correctly, orders should be frequent and at fairly regular volumes so physical stock holding can be managed as lean as possible. Many may think that these products should have a tonne of stock – they’re crucial after all. In reality – this is your most consistent, easy to plan and most predictable product area. You should be aiming for the minimal stock cover that gives you protection for expected variability. Dependent on your supply chain, you could be ordering this product on a daily basis – using a Just-In-Time approach.

Category C – These products are your tail – the hardest and most costly to manage. Sales are erratic, sporadic and vary enormously in quantity. Efforts here should be focused on managing your way AWAY from stocking and selling these products at all!!

A ‘bin-level’ stocking policy is a great strategy for these items. Maintaining maximum and minimum inventory levels allows you to determine the level of stock you want to hold (and the cost of that) whilst minimising the amount of time that you need to spend managing these products.

Time spent here does not yield a return. These products should be passed to category managers, marketing and R&D to search for ways to relaunch, phase out, or transfer sales on these items to your category A and B products.

If possible, you should seek to outsource the supply of these products and act simply as a vendor to your customers.

Category B – These are typically where you will spend most of your time. This is where the importance of a flexible supply chain is key. These items sell fairly regularly, in perhaps a ‘spike-y’ fashion. They could be seasonal items that sell only in certain periods of the year. They could be low volume sellers. You should plan to stock the most cover on these items. They contribute significantly to your revenue, but it’s not possible to have these available at all times without extremely high levels of stock holding (which would be financially crippling).

Consignment stocks, vendor owned inventory and a good stock return policy with your suppliers can alleviate some of the challenges with category B items.

It’s also important to watch the fringes of category B – which items could become category A’s or category C’s in future?

The next level of Inventory Optimisation

Once you’ve got to grips with the ABC classification, you can add another dimension to give a wider range of categories. This should be defined in line with your business strategy – giving you information to make changes towards your goal.

A common advanced Pareto classification is ABC (based on Sales Volume), XYZ (based on cost of stock – unit price). This dual approach gives us 9 different classification groups:

AX – biggest sales volume, lowest cost, through to CZ – lowest sales volume, highest cost

AX are your lowest risk products – high volume, stable sales with low cost of product. These are the products you should aim to always have available.

CZ are your highest risk products – low volumes, often volatile of sporadic sales patterns, with a high cost of stock. These items could be managed with vendor owned inventory if you purchase your goods for sale, or with consignment stocks and minimum order quantities if you manufacture your goods. Looking at ways to reduce your liability on these items should be a priority.

Tailor your strategy for each category

Remember – the classification is simply an indication of how the group of products should be managed.

Your inventory policy, rules and strategy from a supply chain point of view should be tailored to the specific demands of each category to deliver the best possible results.

I hope this has given some useful insight into the different approaches for managing your own product range.

I promise it’s easy once you get started. Just be clear on your strategy, and strict on your policies… The benefits won’t be realized overnight, but with a sound inventory policy they will come in time.


It is important to validate all processes and controls to ensure that they are fit for purpose and in full operation.

As an example IATF 16949 requires us to conduct Internal Audits at system, Manufacturing process and Product levels covered in the following clauses:-.

  • Quality System Audits
  • Manufacturing Process Audits
  • Product Audits.

In addition IATF Annex B: Bibliography – supplemental automotive then breaks the audit process down into different approaches including Layered Process Audits.

Layered Process Audits (LPA)

LPAs are not just confined to the Quality Department, but also involve employees at all levels in the auditing process. Supervisors conduct frequent process audits in their own area, while higher-level of management can conduct the same audits less frequently and over a broader range of areas. These audits also would also typically include integrated corrective and preventative actions taken either during, or, immediately after the audit.

A well deployed LPA system drives a culture of accountability, process control and continuous improvement. The result can be this minimises effort and tighter alignment towards organisational goals, these can be the key success in the highly competitive automotive market.

Layered process audits program includes critical things:

  • Top management support:- a single individual from top management should be assigned overall responsibility for the Layered Process Audits.
  • Communication of the value to employees:- auditors  are pulled from across the organization, including all levels of management
  • Impactful Audits;- a set of simple audits, which do not require specialized knowledge to conduct, and have focus on high-risk processes.
  • A system of reporting:- follow-up that exposes problem areas and ensures containment and corrections are put – and held – in place

How Will LPA Benefit the Organisation

When applied effectively LPA audit can provided benefits including some of the following:-

  • Reduce Waste
  • Improve cash flow
  • Improve product quality and customer satisfaction
  • Increase right first time
  • Reduce quality incidents (scrap, rework)
  • Increase the interaction between managers and the operators
  • Reduce the overall cost of poor quality

Metrics for LPA Effectiveness

LPA audits are more effective when there output is monitored and when non conformance’s are detected the corrective actions are effectively implemented. This will help establish ownership and accountability for all those assigned to conduct the audits.

Metrics Measures
Percent of Audit completed on time Implementation of the program and assigned LPA priority
Percentage of Conformity Percent of times checked which were observed to be conforming with the defined standard
Corrective Actions Completed On time completion of all corrective actions
Repeat Non Conformance’s The effectiveness of corrective actions taken


Industry Forum can support in training and developing Layered Process Audits for your business.

If you are interested and would like to find out more then please contact us at [email protected]  

Further information


The Office for National Statistics (ONS) states that, “The average German worker produces more in four days than a British equivalent does in five.” The ONS report pointed out that there has been a nosedive in productivity for every member of the G7 since the financial crisis of the late 2000s, but the impact on the UK has been twice as severe.  It is vital to the success of the UK manufacturing industry long term to commit to improving its competitiveness. 
As such, SMMT Industry Forum will be providing free consulting review and assessment sessions for organisations looking to drive improvement in competitiveness at this years Commercial Vehicle Show (The CV Show) from SMMT stand number: 5E60
The show, which is free to attend, is the largest and most comprehensive road transport and commercial vehicle event in Britain, providing truck and van operators with far greater choice than anywhere else in the UK. The Show, which attracts around 21,000 business visitors, is held at the NEC Birmingham. 
SMMT Industry Forum’s free consulting review sessions will provide organisations with a clear outline of where improvements can be made,  based on a structured discussion of your current processes, application and performance. Our industry experts will be available throughout The CV Show to conduct sessions. Sessions can be booked to review the following capability functions: 
  • Competitive Strategy and Management Systems
  • New Product Introduction
  • Manufacturing Operations
  • Supply Chain Management
Click here to book your slot. We will be in touch to confirm who your appointment will be with. Click here if you would like to pre-arrange a more general discussion with our expert team during the event.
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