A quality audit provides valuable information for moving production forward, but it can also be highly disruptive. You must balance quality audits that are informative, thorough, and insightful with production’s need to get back to business as usual. Thanks to new technologies and better systems, that dream is now a reality.
Quality audits don’t have to shut down production or take forever. With the right tools and methods for streamlining your preparations and gathering data, you’ll have faster quality audits guaranteed—no need to sacrifice accuracy or rush through what matters most.
Here are our top three ways for you to shorten your quality audit time without sacrificing accuracy or insights. You’ll have a streamlined system designed to deliver the value that you need to ensure compliance in a process that your team won’t dread.
Centralize your data
When each department has its own system and method for reporting, gathering documentation can be tedious and full of missing information, which can add days or even weeks to your audit preparations and make it impossible to pull accurate reports at the last minute.
Instead of siloing your data, you should implement a strategy to bring a cohesive view of your data to the forefront, allowing you to gather reports quickly, whether you have weeks or mere hours to prepare. It’s your single source of truth.
- Use a standard communications hub. Funnel all communications into a streamlined hub so each part of the production pipeline can see the full context of information, receive confirmation that important messages were delivered, and leave a digital paper trail for the chain of responsibility.
- Manage work orders through automation. Details from work orders are part of a trove of vital data. Centralizing your work orders into one system ensures automation for recordkeeping, from quote to invoice.
- Move reporting to a single system. When you pull reports from across departments, information stored in one system reduces the time that you spend chasing down department leads to get relevant, updated, or corrected reports.
- Manage production from the initial quote to the invoice from one dashboard. Specifications, reporting, updates, pivots—everything you need to manage your production is right there.
You’ll be able to pull the reports you need without massive wait times and to provide documentation on the fly if necessary. Segmenting different production departments obscures the data you need and creates issues when different departments can’t access the data that they need. Instead, centralize your data, which makes everyone a data stakeholder and provides transparency when it counts—i.e., your quality audit reporting.
Automate your reporting
If you’ve centralized your data but it is consistently incorrect or missing, your data hub is useless. Human error accounts for most missing, duplicate, or inaccurate information, and part of your audit is to review that information. Automation removes the human element and creates consistent and systemic reporting. You should automate:
- Specifications. Understand what specifications go into a quality product and how those specifications are consistently reached. Any changes move automatically through the pipeline.
- Scheduling. With centralized data, you can automate scheduling to reduce overlap, overbooking, and under-planning.
- Process control. Automating process monitoring allows production systems to pivot continuously and bring those reports alongside.
- Inventory and quality. If you’ve had quality audits in the past or struggled with inventory control, artificial intelligence can bring clarity and focus to both.
Automation makes processes happen faster and funnels all your relevant information into a single point of truth, ready to pull for your next audit—even if it’s a last-minute auditor request. These reports help streamline the process by eliminating missing information and reducing human error or incompatibility between different departmental reporting systems.
Improve overall communications
In general, improving communications reduces quality audit times and builds a better production system overall. With solid communication structures in place, there are fewer surprises and blind spots that could delay a quality audit or cost you a positive one.
To improve communication quality across the board:
- Build an active repository of all previous audits.
- Establish a clear chain of command with a centralized dashboard.
- Use automatic updating for specifications and process control.
- Automate your data collection.
As you improve your communications, future audits can happen more quickly because you’ve made clear steps for addressing past audit issues and you know the chain of responsibility. You’ve reduced or eliminated missing information and data gaps and reduced the chance of human error causing a production—and therefore, an audit—issue. The data from each past audit history is present, and you have a digital paper trail for your production line. Communicating within this centralized hub is the final piece.
Streamline your audits with a comprehensive dashboard
Audits give clear and actionable insights into your production strategy and are a pivotal part of remaining on top of manufacturing’s razor-thin margins. The flip side is allowing audits to derail those margins. Streamlining your process by focusing on these common obstacles to a fast yet accurate quality audit gives you the insights that you need while minimizing disruption.
Your audits can happen faster without sacrificing insights. Automating as many processes as possible and managing your data from a single point of truth ensures that you always have the paperwork, information, and documentation that you need. It’s time to use a system made specifically for the unique needs of manufacturing and move toward a streamlined audit process.
If you’re tired of business being halted for lengthy audit processes and want to see how automation not only cuts your audit times in half but also helps build better relationships with your customers, contact us for a free demo today!