5 Ways to Save Time by Automating APQP

5 Ways to Save Time by Automating APQP

A reliable, effective APQP process involves its own exacting levels of reporting and accountability for every customer. Every company requires a different set of reports, which drives up the time it takes to comply, and eats away at profits. In this APQP series, we’re looking at the potential time savings that can be gained through automation.

Establishing the consistent ability to meet your client’s APQP process is a key factor in maximizing profitability for any project. The less time you spend trying to meet APQP requirements the more profit will be realized. Schedule lags in the early stage design process have downstream implications, and come with their own cost and schedule impacts. APQP processes follow a common timeline across customers, but every APQP program is unique, with its own specialized requirements. Manually per-forming these processes is a tedious task. All too often product design teams get caught short with a quick customer audit deadline and then have to spend time back-tracking reporting requirements on things done long ago. This is both ineffective and inefficient.

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Let’s look at 5 ways a design engineering team can save time by automating APQP processes:

  1. FIND: Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to find a design document quickly and effi-ciently? One story we heard from a project lead on a team of 15 engineers is that they can spend up to 40 hours per week just looking for files and documents. The savings time in that alone by automating and tagging documents appropriately can accelerate the time to complete work just by eliminating this arduous task.
  2. TRACK: One of the more powerful ways to save time in managing design programs is by connecting and centralizing issue management. On a complex project, the team lead can spend almost all of their time tracking issues. This makes sense because when a team develops a product it is only natural that the issues will be owned by multiple different people on the team. Unfortunately, open issue tracking is usually done on a centralized spreadsheet. Wouldn’t it make sense of individual issue owners could update status in a place where everyone else could see those results, without having to take turns passing the spreadsheet around through email?
  3. SHARE: Collaborate without friction. Beyond finding files and tracking issues, there is an easier way to collaborate information and updates across your de-sign engineering team that will save you tons of time and energy. Engineers are not the most effective documentation clerks. Reduce the amount of time they need to document, and provide easier ways to share and centralize infor-mation for any given project. This will certainly add value and potentially reduce schedule time.
  4. DELIVER: What we mean by this is to automate APQP deliverables. Template-tize everything where you can, and then adapt form headers and footers by customer. If 80% of the tracking forms are the same, then make it easier to adapt and update using templates. Automate repetitive tasks as much as possible and eliminate busy work from doing everything manually.
  5. RECORD: Capture how decisions got made and when they got made in the process. For example, perhaps a new material needed to be selected due to changes in the design or perhaps you needed to choose a different vendor based on geography. Whatever the reasons are for changes in course, automa-tion can provide a way to document those choices and provide back up for when those moments come about again in a separate project.

Learn more about how to best automate APQP practices with this recorded webinar with speaker Jonathan Scott from June 10th.