What are Layered Audits?

What are layered audits? They are a system of audits performed by multiple levels of management, from supervisors up to top management. The intent is to frequently audit key process characteristics to verify process conformity.

Layered audits have proved so valuable, DaimlerChrysler requires their suppliers of production parts and components to conduct these audits on all manufacturing and assembly lines. The purpose is to ensure ongoing conformity, thereby improving process stability and first-time through capability.

There are two types of layered audits: 1) Process Control audits and 2) Error and Mistake Proofing Verification audits. Supervisors conduct process control audits once per shift. Plant management performs process control audits once per week. Delegation of this responsibility is not acceptable except in unusual circumstances.

Error and mistake proofing verification audits are conducted once per shift by qualified employees. Set-up and maintenance personnel, as well as, quality auditors, are typically viewed as qualified.

Layered audits consider multiple topics, e.g., documentation, process parameters, product quality, safety, and housekeeping. And, it is expected that people audit their own work and that their managers audit that work.

For more information on DaimlerChrysler’s requirements for Layered Audits, see section 4.2.9.1 in their Customer-Specific Requirements for use with ISO/TS 16949.