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How to Implement a Layered Process Audit: 12 Steps

Last updated: March 19, 2024

This guide provides a straightforward and insightful resource to understand and implement a Layered Process Audit (LPA). Discover the 12 steps for integrating LPAs into operational frameworks.

What Is a Layered Process Audit?

Layered Process Audits (LPAs) are structured evaluations spanning multiple organizational levels to ensure adherence to established processes and enhance performance. Frontline employees, middle management, and upper management all participate in LPAs. Auditors utilize specific checklists aligned with their authority level to examine diverse workplace areas, standards, and criteria to guarantee compliance.

Steps to Implement a Layered Process Audit

In implementing a Layered Process Audit (LPA), it’s essential to grasp the best practices that underpin its effectiveness. Here are three of the most critical LPA best practices: 

  • Inclusive Engagement: The involvement of employees at all levels, from frontline workers to upper management, builds a collaborative and thorough auditing process.
  • Focus on Prevention: LPAs emphasize identifying and preventing issues before they escalate to reduce the likelihood of defects or errors in the final product.
  • Standardization: Layered Process Audits often involve standardized checklists and procedures to ensure consistency in auditing processes across different levels and areas.

For organizations seeking to implement LPAs, the CQI-8 Layered Process Audit Guideline is a valuable resource. Initially developed by the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), this guideline provides in-depth insights, standardized practices, and a reference point for enhancing the effectiveness of LPAs in the automotive industry and beyond.

To kickstart a Layered Process Audit program, identify key stakeholders and ensure representation from each layer involved in the LPA process. This team should include at least one representative from frontline employees, middle management, and upper management. Assign clear roles and responsibilities, such as program lead, training specialist, documentation or data manager, communication liaison, and more.  

Emphasize the importance of cross-functional collaboration to promote a culture of full organizational participation. A well-structured and collaborative team lays the foundation for the successful execution of the LPA program and gathers insights from all organizational levels to contribute to continuous improvement efforts.

Defining the scope of a Layered Process Audit involves methodically identifying critical processes and requires consideration of essential business functions. By pinpointing these auditable processes, the LPA scope accommodates the specific needs and priorities of the organization.

For instance, auditing the production line, supplier selection, procurement, and inventory management ensures adherence to quality standards while maintaining the supply chain’s integrity. Regular audits of equipment maintenance procedures are crucial to prevent breakdowns, enhance reliability, and sustain consistent production.

A robust Layered Process Audit involves tailored checklists for each auditable area. Preparing thoughtful audit questions is essential. This preparation includes listing various types of questions custom-made to specific audit objectives. Incorporate open-ended questions to encourage detailed responses. By crafting practical questions, your LPA process gains depth and precision in uncovering vital process insights.

For a ready-to-use solution, Tervene offers technological resources to streamline the checklist-building process.

The frequency of Layered Process Audits depends on the organizational level overseeing the audit. Proximity to the audited area influences audit frequency. For instance, line supervisors may conduct daily audits, while plant managers may opt for a monthly cadence.

Moreover, LPA schedules play a pivotal role in implementing Leader Standard Work. Establishing a structured LPA schedule for regular assessments is vital. Auditors can select from daily, weekly, monthly, or custom recurrence options to consistently uphold diligence and meet deadlines. This strategic integration ensures a systematic and efficient approach to audit planning aligned with the principles of Leader Standard Work.

This step highlights the foundational role of a well-structured schedule in the LPA initiative’s success. Leveraging visual tools, such as a Gantt chart, aids in translating this schedule into a dynamic timeline. The Gantt chart provides a clear, intuitive representation of each audit step to promote effective communication and coordination. 

Beyond a chronological display, it strategically enhances transparency, identifies dependencies, and ensures seamless alignment of every facet of the Layered Process Audit with the predetermined schedule.

In assigning auditors across different management layers, articulate a transparent process to build a competent audit team. This selection involves a strategic approach where team leaders may audit frontline operators, managers audit team leaders, and so forth. Following this structured process, each management layer becomes actively involved in the audit cycle.

From upper management to floor staff, delineate the training requirements for auditors and team members. It’s also important to recognize the diverse skill set needed at each level (floor staff might require more training). This exercise must encompass valuable resources and varied training methods tailored for LPA education.

Identify specific support teams and define their roles, then indicate accessible communication channels for reporting and seeking assistance. Clearly outline an issue escalation hierarchy based on severity and complexity and develop a structured communication cascade that facilitates bottom-up and top-down information flow. This proactive approach ensures a resilient and responsive operational framework capable of swiftly addressing challenges.

Executing a Layered Process Audit involves a systematic approach supported by thorough checklist reviews and keen observations. The audit process is structured to ensure comprehensive coverage and emphasize the importance of meticulous examination. This step-by-step execution calls for checklist scrutiny and on-site observations. It is pivotal for uncovering insights and fostering continuous improvement.

Post-audit, the meticulous process begins with documenting findings to record positive observations and areas requiring improvement. These reported results are then systematically analyzed to discern trends, recurring issues, and potential areas for process enhancement.  

Identifying discrepancies lays the foundation for strategic corrective action plans and proactive improvements. This step emphasizes the importance of continuous monitoring and auditing improvement while integrating a dynamic feedback loop.

Layered Process Audit programs must go through an ongoing evolution. This progression involves a reflective examination of the LPA implementation process and incorporating valuable feedback from auditors and stakeholders. The strategic management of corrective and preventive actions when discrepancies are identified is also crucial. 

A robust feedback loop is established to sustain the LPA program when audit results and improvement actions are shared with relevant stakeholders. This commitment to transparency is critical in building awareness and fostering a culture of accountability.

Successful Layered Process Audit Implementation with Tervene

Tap into the full potential of Layered Process Audits (LPAs) through successful implementation with Tervene. Seamlessly integrate your existing LPA processes in the application and benefit from a user-friendly interface. Experience real-time monitoring and reporting capabilities that provide valuable insights for swift decision-making. 

Access comprehensive training and support resources to empower your team and optimize your audit management. For an in-depth exploration and advanced tools, schedule a free demonstration with one of our representatives.

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