The 2019 Quarter 2 issue of Impact includes articles on the following topics:

  • Layered Process Audits
  • Feature on TDK Corporation
  • Feature on Amerline Enterprises
  • Feature on the BRC Auditor of the Year Award recipient

Layered Process Audits

Layered Process Audits (LPAs) are a useful tool for any management system type (EHS, Quality, Food, etc.).  The basics are that different levels of management do manufacturing audits at various frequencies.  
Typically, the direct supervisor level does an audit of something every day, his or her manager would do one every week, the next level up does one every month, and so on.  Even the plant manager would do them at some frequency.  

Typically, the layered audit is a checklist type of document that takes only 10-15 minutes to complete, but it brings focus to whatever management deems important during that time.  One of the keys is to keep the questions fresh.  You don’t want to go around every day for months on end asking if the operator at station 10 is qualified.  People lose interest and will start pencil whipping the form.  The way LPAs should be used is by taking results from customer complaints, internal audits, regulatory findings, etc. and map those into LPA questions.  

We tell customers quite often that they can use LPAs to change a culture.  This is because you go and ask the same questions over and over and check to make something is happening every day that you expect to see happen.  So, let’s say a company wants to start a 5S program (Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain).  Certainly, it takes an initial effort for the first 4 S’s, but the Sustain aspect can be a part of an LPA.  You look at it every day to make sure.  A common theory is that if you do something for 28 straight days, it becomes a habit.  LPAs can drive new habits, and when they’re properly designed and implemented, they can offer many valuable benefits, such as reducing customer complaints and lowering rework costs. 

TDK Corporate Celebration

With its Quality Management (QM) system and within the scope of its zero-defect strategy, TDK Corporation is continually improving both its processes and the control of these processes, and thus also its products and services. Customers’ appreciation of this strict commitment to quality is attested by the numerous awards the company has received. TDK is certified to several Industry and regulatory standards including but not limited to ISO 9001:2015, IATF 16949, ISO 13485, ISO 14001 and many more.  

“Throughout the eight decades since the company’s founding, and bolstered by our strong foundation in magnetics technology derived from ferrite, TDK has been steadfastly pursuing the development of products that have true value. Keeping alive the venture spirit that defined our beginnings, we have taken up the challenge of exploring new technologies while maintaining a strong dedication to craftsmanship as embodied in the Japanese Monozukuri concept— a dedication to quality and a new era of electronic craftsmanship. This enabled us to create an ongoing succession of innovative and valuable products.” said  company President and CEO Mr. Shigenao Ishiguro 
TDK Corporation is a leading electronics company based in Tokyo, Japan. It was established in 1935 to commercialize ferrite, a key material in electronic and magnetic products. TDK’s comprehensive portfolio features passive components such as ceramic, aluminum electrolytic and film capacitors, as well as magnetics, high-frequency, and piezo and protection devices. The product spectrum also includes sensors and sensor systems such as temperature and pressure, magnetic, and MEMS sensors. In addition, TDK provides power supplies and energy devices, magnetic heads and more. These products are marketed under the product brands TDK, EPCOS, InvenSense, Micronas, Tronics and TDK-Lambda. TDK focuses on demanding markets in the areas of information and communication technology and automotive, industrial and consumer electronics. The company has a network of design and manufacturing locations and sales offices in Asia, Europe, and in North and South America. In fiscal 2019, TDK posted total sales of USD 12.5 billion and employed about 105,000 people worldwide. 

TDK and the future go hand in hand. 

TDK technologies and processes are the leading the way for technologies for the future.  For example, TDK MEMS motion sensors can support the cars of the future, which drive autonomously, use electricity and offer a high degree of safety and comfort. TDK sensors for medical applications support the well-being of individuals by enabling an easier, non-invasive diagnosis for example. TDK’s 7-Axis MEMS motion and pressure sensors help medical drones to fly stably to supply medicine for patients in crisis regions. TDK MEMS microphones facilitate human-robot interactions. TDK’s capacitors enable the realization and further growth of green energy by realizing energy generation of off-shore windmills. TDK’s radio-frequency components support the realization of 5G, enabling for example real-time broadcasting of sports events to millions of mobile devices around the globe. TDK’s MEMS ultrasonic time-of-flight sensors help realizing a truly immersive AR/VR experience. 

BRC Auditor of the Year

At Food Safety Americas last month, Nadia Narine was name BRCGS Auditor of the Year. She is a Lead Auditor for DQS for BRC and SQF. 

Some of the requirements for the award include items such as: 

  • Positive feedback from witness audits and calibration sessions
  • High scoring results from customer satisfaction surveys
  • Letters of reference 

When she was young and realized her original dream of becoming a family physician wasn’t in the books, she decided her passion for the sciences, which would lead her to studying industrial microbiology. While in school, she had an internship at Cadbury chocolate and had her first full-time job post-school in the dairy industry as a Quality Control Technician. In this position, she performed GMP checks of line employees to ensure compliance and implemented corrective actions with management and staff when required. She also conducted microtesting of finished and in-process product to ensure they adhered to food safety standards. 

She continued to work in the industry with positions such as HACCP Coordinator and Food Safety Supervisor before moving on to auditing. At the end of each audit, she encourages sites to complete the feedback surveys to help her improve as an auditor and improve the audit process. She has received positive feedback, such as the below: 

“Nadia was open minded and polite during questioning of staff, was observant during the entire site tour. A systematic and logical approach was taken to the site tour ensuring that site and specific production area break times were considered when planning the inspection to ensure all processes were observed. This included an early start on the second day to observe the cleaning validation process and approval to start-up.” 

She was the recipient of the 2017 Approved Training Partner and Consultant of the year for BRC, and most recently the recipient of the 2018 Alumnus of Distinction Award at Centennial College.

“What I find the most rewarding in auditing is being able to objectively audit sites to a set standard and to see how the site embraces them,” Narine said. 
She went on to say how she enjoys “seeing how sites within the same industry embrace the standard and incorporate it as part of their food safety management system in their own unique way.”

DQS wants to send a big Congratulations to Nadia! It is a pleasure to work with you on the continued mutual goal of food safety. 


Amerline Enterprises

Established in 1980, Amerline Enterprises has become a market leader in the area of Ordnance & Inter-Vehicle connectors and accessories. They are a UL listed wire harness manufacturer and produce a series of UL approved connectors. Amerline also designs and manufactures ordnance and commercial electrical connectors used in military vehicular wire harnesses and industrial electrical assemblies.  

What sets Amerline apart from their competitors is an ability to listen and respond to customers’ specific needs. Their ability to quickly design, customize or adapt a product to meet customer’s specific requirements is unsurpassed. 

Nowhere was this more evident than their recent response to the US Military’s up armoring program. The US Military desperately needed a unique robust series of connectors which fit into very confined spaces and required extremely high dependability requirements due to their importance to the unique application. None of the major connector manufacturers the US Military approached could provide them a connector which met their expectations. 

It was immediately obvious to Amerline their requirements were far beyond that of what normal off the shelf type connectors could provide. Amerline accepted the challenge and their team immediately went to work. They listened to their customers’ needs, the critical dimensional requirements, load capacities, environmental performance expectations and cost goals. Just days after the initial contact by the US Military, Amerline had produced an entirely new series of custom connectors which not only met their requirements, but surpassed their expectations for endurance, reliability, quality and low cost.   

Recently, the results of audits conducted on Amerline’s QMS by both DQS and major OEMs to the US Military have highlighted their Product Development Processes as a major strength within their QMS programs. This comes as no surprise to Amerline’s Management Team because they heavily focus on this process to ensure every customer requirement is clearly understood, documented, addressed and verified compliant long before the product ever reaches the customers hands.       

Amerline chose DQS as their registrar because of a shared dedication to excellence and total customer satisfaction. Employees of Amerline Enterprises take pride in their certification to the ISO 9001 standard. The team’s dedication to excellence is easily seen in the established departmental goals and their aggressive progress towards achieving them. 

Internal communications are a key part of Amerline’s success. This is why input from representatives of every department is taken into consideration on every project. This allows them to quickly focus on and expedite customer requests throughout our organization and processes. They think that is what makes Amerline truly unique and adds to their continued success. Amerline’s customers receive a complete team effort from the start of a project throughout its lifecycle. 

If you have a unique application which requires a custom connector or wire harness, or if you’re experiencing quality or delivery problems with industry standard off the shelf connectors, give Amerline Enterprises a call at 847-671-6554, or visit them online at 

Sara Gulo

Sara Gulo is the Marketing Specialist for DQS Inc. in the USA. She's been with DQS for 10 years in various roles, including Verification and Customer Service Professional.