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I’ll be honest, I’d be embarrassed if you ever saw my work shop.  I tend to be one of those people who works around my messes. I don’t normally detect how dirty my workspace is until my husband gently suggests that I might work a bit more efficiently if I cleaned up my work bench before starting on another project.

I believe we are all guilty of looking past what we see on a daily basis.  That is why audits are so important. An outside set of eyes can see areas that we may overlook.  Internal audits can be structured in a number of different ways but must include a system for follow-up. Over my time in manufacturing, I have seen audits implemented in a number of effective ways, including the following:

  • Management Gemba Walk – This can be an effective tool to demonstrate to the workforce a sense of unity within the management team. In addition, when issues are identified, all the managers can collectively decide how to address the issue.
  • Safety Audits – These are typically conducted by members of the EH&S committee and are focused on potential safety or environmental hazards. Getting employees involved in this committee can greatly enhance the effectiveness of these types of audits.
  • Layered Process Audits – LPAs are conducted on specific processes by individuals who don’t work in the department being audited.  This gives a set of eyes that may detect issues that department employees may overlook.  In addition, it provides employees exposure to other departments within the plant.
  • Quality Systems Audit – this audit can be used to make sure the quality system is being followed.  These are typically conducted by personnel trained on the Quality Measurement System and are focused on ensuring conformance to company policies and regulatory requirements.

Regardless of the type of audits that are conducted in your plant, make sure there is a mechanism in place to ensure that identified issues are addressed.  Without this, the audits may lose their intended purpose.

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