How to Use Layered Process Audit Metrics to Improve Customer Satisfaction
If you do what’s easy, things get harder. If you do what’s hard, things get easier.
It’s true in life as much as it is in quality management, where doing the hard work upfront allows you to reap the rewards of that investment later.
Layered process audits (LPAs) are a perfect example of this principle in action. If you take a check-the-box approach with these high-frequency audits, the results will leave customers less than happy. If you work hard on improving your LPA metrics, however, you’ll ultimately see bigger quality improvements—and more satisfied customers.
With that in mind, let’s examine how LPA metrics are a leading indicator of customer satisfaction, what to expect during customer audits, and how LPA software can help.
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LPA Metrics as a Leading Indicator of Customer Satisfaction
LPA metrics are a leading indicator of quality performance. In other words, when LPA KPIs are strong, you should see a corresponding improvement in quality KPIs that impact customer satisfaction.
The reason is that LPAs help reinforce standards, keep corrective actions in place, and improve consistency of processes. As plants do these things better, they should see a downward trend in scrap and customer complaints over time. Delivery performance is also highly dependent on quality, where having to scrap a significant portion of a run can mean shipping delays.
One leading automotive supplier, for example, reported higher than ever customer ratings after successfully reducing PPM by 73% with LPAs, even winning several customer quality awards.
LPA Metrics Matter During Customer Audits
Preparing for customer audits can be a nerve-wracking experience for suppliers, especially for automotive manufacturers whose customers require LPAs. The goal here is to show that your LPAs are effective and that you’re maintaining your LPA system correctly.
In this context, customers may have questions about metrics such as:
- On-time audit completion rate: Are you completing the required audits under your customer-specific requirements?
- Number of open findings: Can you show that your team is promptly closing out findings and resolving issues?
- Continuous improvement: Can you show that you have added new LPA questions to address specific customer quality issues? Does the data show your team is successfully holding the correction in place?
Not being able to show strong performance in these areas can result in customer findings, not to mention added scrutiny on how you’re managing LPAs in general.
Using Mobile Audit Software to Improve LPA Performance
Managing LPAs with pen and paper is inefficient and time-consuming, creating added work without the visibility needed to make meaningful improvements. Companies can use plant floor audit software to improve LPA metrics that matter most to customers with tools that allow them to:
- Increase audit completion rate with automated scheduling and reminders, plus the ability to quickly and easily complete audits from any mobile device
- Sustain the gains by adding new questions to their LPA question library based on recent issues
- Ensure timely follow-up and reduce overdue findings by assigning timelines, action items and escalation steps for non-conformance resolutions
- Rotate checklist questions for broader coverage of standards and identified risks
Showing you can quickly pull up this information during customer audits demonstrates a higher level of care and commitment to quality and greater reliability as a supplier.
There’s no question that many suppliers implement LPAs to meet customer requirements. However, it’s important to remember this essential truth: LPAs shouldn’t be because of the customer—they should be for the customer.
LPAs aren’t a cure-all, but rather part of a holistic approach to improving quality performance. Doing the work of tracking KPIs is fundamental to achieving this goal so that you can reap the rewards of more satisfied customers.
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