Manufacturing System and Process Audits


Stravinskas, Jo M.   (1989, ASQC)   AT&T, Bridgewater, NJ

Annual Quality Congress, Toronto, Ontario, Canada    Vol. 43    No. 0
QICID: 3548    May 1989    pp. 91-94
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Article Abstract

In an effort to improve the quality of products and processes at AT&T Microelectronics manufacturing locations, a manufacturing system and process audit program was developed to redirect Quality Assurance resources from appraisal activities to prevention efforts. The progression from idea to implementation of the manufacturing audit program was via five phases. The five phases are develop, plan, train, implement and enhance. Each of the phases will be detailed in the paper and the highlights of each follow:

  • Develop: A determination was made as to what the manufacturing audits were to achieve. At AT&T Microelectronics, it was to reduce redundant product inspection and redirect those resources to a prevention activity through ongoing system and process audits. With the elimination of redundant product inspection and the improvement in processes and product and future cost saving is anticipated through manpower reductions for product inspections.
  • Plan: To customize the manufacturing audit concept at individual manufacturing facilities as assessment was made of the resources needed to conduct the audits and the particular requirements of the facility. Consideration was given with respect to; who would perform the manufacturing audits, how would manufacturing audit findings be reported, how would audit findings be used to influence inspection efforts, definition of systems audit and process audit findings and what action is required to correct manufacturing audit findings.
  • Train: As individuals were reassigned to the manufacturing audit function, training needs were determined. In general, personnel were previously product inspectors and did not have systems and process audit experience. Training included; quality audit techniques, basic statistical quality control, technical writing courses, interpersonal communication courses, information system training, and manufacturing process education. It is important to note that some initial training will be necessary prior to assigning audit responsibility, however, most training will be obtained on the job and will be ongoing. The benefit of ongoing training is the enhanced proficiency of the individuals and increased effectiveness of the audit program.
  • Implement: The culmination of the development, planning and training efforts is implementation. The manufacturing audit program is staffed, charged with their duties and responsibilities by the quality assurance supervisor and trained. Auditors are responsible for; planning the audit to the schedule, preparing for the audit, conducting the audit, formalizing the audit findings via a report, maintaining independence from the audited organization and enhancing their personal skills, knowledge and proficiency through ongoing study, training and education.
  • Enhancement: The final phase of the program is the continual enhancement of the manufacturing audit program. One manufacturing audit program will not be ideally suited to all manufacturing facilities; especially where technologies, products and personnel differ.
For the most part, some of these factors can be considered in the development and planning phases, however, many will only surface once the manufacturing audits have begun. It is vital that a quality engineer be responsible for overseeing and customizing the manufacturing audit program to make a quality improvement impact.


Quality audit

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