Manufacturing products involves a complex interaction between suppliers, personnel, equipment, materials and processes. A well defined manufacturing process along with the proper control plans enable these elements to repeatedly produce products which meet the customer performance specifications. Well defined processes are critical in ensuring an efficient and effective operation. One way to evaluate if these process elements are being followed is through a process audit.
What Is a Process Audit?
A manufacturing process audit is a method of verifying how well the written procedures, standards and instructions of an organization support manufacturing the desired product. It also aims to confirm the reliability of the process and whether actual practices match up with documentation and training practices.
A process audit is very goal-oriented. It examines what aspects affect the success of the product, how well procedures are being followed and how the goal is being measured and assessed.
Some of the factors that are assessed during an audit include:
- Manufacturing / Job Instructions: Are complete and approved job instructions released for the manufacturing order?
- Materials: Are materials readily available when they’re needed? Do they have their material certifications? Is there an excess or delay of materials that could lead to inefficiency?
- Special Processes: Has the material received the proper special process (Heat Treat, Chemical Process, Coatings, Welding, NDT) at the requisite timing / order according to the manufacturing instructions?
- Movements: Are there any unnecessary movements involved in the process? What is the plan for inventory management; E.g. First In First Out (FIFO), First In Last Out (FILO) or Last In First Out (LIFO).
- Inspection check points: Are proper product verification points outlined in the manufacture process to identify is a process is within or going out of the control limits? Are the workers capturing these data points and reporting the results properly?
- Documentation and training: Can workers easily access updated and accurate instructions for the job order?
Do I Need a Process Audit?
Process audits can provide significant benefits for any operation. They contribute to viewing the process as a whole rather than as smaller, individual tasks and components. They can help you:
- Improve queue time and process flow: Make sure the different steps of a process work together and don’t impede each other.
- Boost efficiency: An process audit will evaluate the adherence of the manufacturing processes, reduce waste and speed up production.
- Meet product specification requirements: By verifying adherence to the defined manufacturing process, you can better prevent errors that would lead to product nonconformance.
- Increase customer satisfaction: Customers don’t want products that don’t meet the purchase order requirements. Their value added processes require that your products are correct and delivered on time. An process audit can verify that the approved manufacturing process is being followed. If the process is not being followed, then there are opportunities which can be captured for better adherence and/or process controls. If the processes are being followed but the resulting product is not producing a conformal product, then their exist opportunities for process improvements.
NTS Unitek’s Process Auditing Services
NTS Unitek can conduct process auditing services at your facility or out in your supply base. Getting an outside perspective can be incredibly valuable when it comes to process audits, especially when that perspective comes from experts in their fields. NTS Unitek has a robust team full of experienced professionals specializing in various subjects, including Quality and Supply Chain Management.
We can conduct the process audit itself and offer a wide range of related services to help you improve your operation based on the results.
Learn More Today
To speak with an expert and learn more about how a process audit can boost your results, reach out to a representative today.