While its very design is meant to serve as a framework for success, there are many reasons why businesses may struggle with implementing APQP. But with the right tools, resources, and understanding of the process and the parts that make it what it is, organizations can leverage themselves for success.
Starting with Key Elements to APQP Success
While the Product Quality Plan for each business is (and should be) unique, there are some tools, processes, practices, and techniques that any organization can use to achieve APQP success. Each one serves a purpose in the APQP process, and all of them can be adapted to fit any business in any industry.
1. Making it a Team Effort
One of the most important elements to Advanced Product Quality Planning is the team designed to carry it out and implement it. This team, which should include representatives from each department, is meant to spot and handle potential risks and problems that may arise during the APQP process. And, because of their defined responsibilities, they should be able to fulfill this task both quickly and efficiently. These responsibilities include:
- Selecting a project team leader responsible for overseeing the early phases of the planning process.
- Clearly defining the Roles and Responsibilities of each department represented on the team.
- Identifying expectations and/or requirements of internal and/or external customers.
- Assessing feasibility of any and all proposed designs through careful consideration of the requirements and manufacturing process required to create said product.
2. Effective Communication
Without communication, APQP wouldn’t be so successful. In fact, it is this element – the facilitated communication between suppliers, organizations, and customers – that ensures products and services either meet or exceed customer expectations, wants, and needs.
3. Top-Notch Training
Organizations that want employees to comply with APQP must first teach and clearly demonstrate the expectations, requirements, and skills needed.
4. Defining Parameters with Control Plans
Control plans are crucial to ensuring that the parts and processes needed to complete a project are clearly defined and recorded. One should exist for each phase of the development.
5. A Different Kind of Resolution
Hitches and glitches are to be expected with any new project, but with APQP, there is a specific method for dealing with such issues. Analytical techniques and disciplines, mapped out on a matrix system by a pre-assigned representative, should be used to resolve complex issues with APQP.
Finding Your Way with APQP
There are a number of methodologies that fall within the scope of APQP. From A3 thinking to Work Flow, and beyond, each is systemic in their approach and geared to helping businesses achieve APQP success. But it’s important for each organization to determine which APQP process will best suit their individual needs.
To choose a methodology for your organization, consider what your long-term goals are. Determine just how in-depth you need the planning, production, testing, analysis, and corrective actions to be. And always be open to making changes or improvements along the way.