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Implementation of a "Layered process audit" tool (eLPA)

Mühlacker, Germany - A first-class product quality is easier to achieve if the proprietary processes function smoothly. Layered process audits are a proven tool for verifying the consistent implementation of process standards. But what can be done if there is already a sticking point in the process for controlling the processes? 
An Interview with Daniel Zimmermann from MAHLE Behr GmbH & Co. KG, Head of Quality Management at the plant in Mühlacker.
MAHLE is a leading international development partner and supplier to the automotive industry, as well as a pioneer and technology driver for the mobility of tomorrow. MAHLE products are installed in at least every second vehicle worldwide. 
THINGS AREN‘T GOOD BECAUSE THEY‘VE ALWAYS BEEN DONE THIS WAY.  
USUALLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE."
Daniel Zimmermann, Head of Quality Management Plant Mühlacker
MAHLE Behr GmbH & Co. KG
 
As a globally active corporate group, MAHLE is essentially structured into the following four divisions: Engine Systems and Components, Filtration and Engine Peripherals, Thermal Management, and Aftermarket. Around 78,000 employees at 170 production sites manufacture a product portfolio based on a broad systems expertise that covers all key issues along the drive train and in air-conditioning technology. Its trendsetting know-how for electrical and electronic components and systems makes MAHLE a provider of integrated system solutions for electromobility.

Interview

Mr. Zimmermann, please begin by giving us an insight into the production activities at your plant.
Around 1,500 employees at our site in Mühlacker manufacture numerous products for the worldwide needs of various car and commercial vehicle manufacturers (OEM). Among other things, we produce heat exchangers and exhaust heat exchangers, cooling modules, as well as pipes, stamped parts, various plastic parts and thermostats.
Even before the introduction of the electronic LPA system, as a company with multiple certifications you regularly conducted process controls – so why the need for a new solution? 
Layered process audits as a paper variant are simply an extremely time-consuming affair. Alongside the great manual planning effort with Excel spreadsheets, the manual maintenance of action lists, the printing of audit cards, and the manual evaluation in Excel, consumed valuable capacities which we urgently required for other tasks. Another problem concerned the regular updating of the paper notices in the production halls. It was high time for a modern solution.
Understandable. And what does the solution look like?
The entire system is based on a standard questionnaire which can be adapted to specific circumstances at the factory. Questions concerning occupational safety, order and cleanliness, labelling, product conformity, process conformity and qualification, for example, are defined and prioritized with regard to their relevance. The electronic layered process audit system (eLPA) covers six direct production areas and four further indirect areas, among them the logistics and facility management.
A key user is responsible for the audit planning in each area; for the implementation, we have defined three layers from the plant employee up to the plant management. The implementation now takes place completely digitally on mobile devices such as tablet PCs and smartphones, for which the system relies on a high degree of transparency. The audit plans and implementation status are automatically updated  and can be viewed by everyone on monitors. By the way, the system also handles calendar entries and email notifications.
If you consider the new eLPA solution:
What do you like, what bothers you about it?
The only thing that bothers me is that we didn‘t switch to eLPA much sooner (laughs). Otherwise, the advantages are obvious: The manual planning effort has been drastically reduced, evaluations and changes are updated directly and immediately available at any time. Apart from that, it is much easier to use the tablets, and everyone even has fun doing so. That‘s a great side effect, which also brings with it the necessary acceptance of the LPA methodology, so to speak at the press of a button.

IT CAN EVEN BE FUN BREAKING NEW GROUND

Departing from familiar working practices is easier if the right incentives are offered! As part of the new eLPA system, MAHLE acquired an equipment park that is really fun to use: iPad minis, modern monitors, and prominent 43“ flat screens not only intuitively provide the required work surfaces and information, but also offer the user a lot more comfort and working enjoyment.

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Contact

Andreas May
Sales Manager
+49 (0) 2631 999 88-0

Download

SCIIL Image-Magazin "PROCEED"
(PDF 2,3 MB)
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