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Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) Checklist

Catch product defects early with an Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) checklist! Read about the five most common challenges that quality managers face when implementing the APQP method and meet product specifications before they hit the market. Try it all out for free with the Lumiform app!

What is Advanced Product Quality Planning?

APQP stands for Advanced Product Quality Planning. It is a structured procedure that is used when a new product is introduced or when changes are made to the product. The APQP is based on the provisions of the standard IATF 16949 and its rules and regulations.

The APQP is a very complex approach to advance quality planning. In this case, a checklist helps to check and monitor the individual processes.

An APQP checklist can be used to track all the steps and activities that need to be carried out for a product before production starts. The time sequence, execution of each step, and application of methods (FMEA, quality management plan, etc.) can vary. The result of the APQP checklist serves as the basis for the creation of a QM plan.

Typically, a cross-functional team consisting of design, manufacturing, quality, procurement, marketing, and sales professionals conducts an APQP using a checklist to ensure that products meet or exceed customer requirements.

This article briefly explains:

1. Activities within the scope of an APQP checklist

2. 5 common APQP challenges

3. Typical implementation issues

4. Create an efficient checklists with an app

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What are the Steps in an APQP?

An APQP process consists of preplanning, designing, developing, validating, launching, and evaluating the product and process with the sights set on continuous improvement. Advance quality planning was initially used primarily in the automotive industry.

Due to its proven effectiveness, the APQP checklist is now used in other manufacturing sectors such as aerospace, defense, and pharmaceuticals. Your use of an APQP checklist will ensure on-time production of quality products at the lowest possible cost with the added bonus of increasing customer satisfaction.

Creating and performing an APQP checklist is accompanied by a number of activities for the interdisciplinary team. This primarily involves clarifying and distributing tasks and performing the techniques necessary for APQP:

  1. Development and definition of special characteristics in the production (key characteristics). This may also include the definition of special process control measures, such as FMEA.
  2. Execution and documentation of a feasibility analysis together with the supplier.
  3. Performance of process FMEAs to avoid errors in production at an early stage.
  4. Develop QM plans for the individual phases (prototype, pre-series, series) as well as at the level of assemblies, sub-assemblies, and individual parts.

What are teh 5 common Challenges of an APQP Checklist

Making products based on APQP requirements is definitely a challenge. However, for producers and the entire supply chain, it is an opportunity to achieve long-term, high returns.

The following explains how the five most common challenges can be proactively addressed with a checklist:

1. Check Compliance

The international standard IATF 16949:2016 is used for automotive quality management systems. Compliance with the IATF standard requires proper documentation of the implemented processes, the performed inspections, and the actions taken in the event of nonconformity.

In other industries, standards are based on which audits should be regularly conducted using a digital checklist. Routine compliance audits should be scheduled early to identify problems and initiate corrective actions.

2. Clear Assignment of Responsibilities

Based on the company’s quality policy, management should oversee the advanced quality planning process. APQP checklists make it easier for project managers to communicate and collaborate among cross-functional teams because priorities can be easily managed. This ensures the completion of all deliverables from pre-planning through production.

3. Sufficient Knowledge of Resources

Engineering, manufacturing, and quality personnel should know and understand APQP requirements. This includes the following 3 most common APQP tools for developing, designing, and validating products and processes, which are found in almost every APQP checklist:

4. Time Management

For accurate data, it is important to ensure that all inspections and tests are recorded and analyzed. Based on this, corrective and preventive actions can be developed and implemented. This can be easily mapped via a digital APQP checklist. Automated workflows save project managers time and effort. In addition, reporting procedures, especially visual inspections and risk assessments, can be handled more easily.

5. Team Responsibility

The interdisciplinary team should meet regularly to review APQP priorities using a checklist. In addition to a list of open issues, risk and opportunity lists should also be maintained and presented to management. This allows the entire quality planning process to be reviewed and tracked.

What are Typical Implementation Problems Encounterd in the APQP Method?

When the APQP method is mastered and properly implemented, it is a helpful tool for reliable and error-free production. However, the large number of required tools, some of which are very complex, unfortunately, leads to problems with the implementation of APQP time and again.

1. Problem: Misunderstandings

APQP is often misunderstood because the core elements are too simplified. To prevent this from happening, the rulebook and reference manual must be studied thoroughly.

2. Problem: Wrong Framework

In order for the APQP process to be used purposefully in the company and to develop its full effect, certain framework conditions must be met. This includes, among other things, providing the necessary resources, identifying competence bearers, forming an interdisciplinary team, and consistently documenting reports.

3. Problem: High Complexity

Due to its variety of methods, the APQP process is very complex. This is also evident in project management, which not only has to be goal-oriented but also has to take quality aspects into account. Here, a checklist-based approach helps to master the complexity and improve project management.

4. Problem: Variety of Plans

Creating plans aligning with the requirements of the APQP process is not always easy. Therefore, it’s important to clearly separator your plans into distinct “implementing” and “documenting” phases so nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

5. Problem: Not Enough Feedback

If the “Lessons Learned,” “Feedback Assessment, and “Corrective Action” phase of the APQP is not intensively pursued, you’ll find the process to be in a state of suspension where no one knows what corrective actions to take because they lack the necessary feedback. For this reason, each step of the APQP must be evaluated immediately upon completion.

advanced product quality planning during the manufacturing process

Powerful app for an efficient APQP checklist

With Lumiform’s mobile app, you can streamline APQP processes, ensure on-time production of quality products at low cost, and increase customer satisfaction. Each APQP checklist is easily completed using a tablet or smartphone – online or offline. With the desktop software, you can create checklists and evaluate the data collected on-site. This significantly reduces the risk of quality losses, accidents at work, documentation errors, and damage to your reputation.

The digital tool allows you to report problems in no time at all and quickly assign corrective actions to responsible colleagues. Easy communication with all team members and third parties enables you to improve internal processes and solve incidents up to four times faster. Digitize your APQP checklists and internal processes with Lumiform:

  • The flexible form construction kit helps you to convert any individual paper list into digital checklists within minutes.
  • Lumiform offers more than 9,000 ready-made templates so that you can quickly and securely get started digitally.
  • Generate real-time data via internal processes. This makes quality and security measurable, and you can use the data to continuously optimize processes.
  • Get an overview of everything that’s going on on site.
  • Reports are created automatically – this saves you time on postprocessing.
  • The very simple operation offers no margin for error for inspectors on site. The app offers less complexity in documenting or filling out checklists than complicated paper or Excel sheets.
  • Business operations with the help of a APQP checklists are carried out, depending on the application, approximately 30%-50% faster.

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