Since the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturers have suffered from a lack of competent engineering resources. Those that have good engineers often have them doing redundant paperwork fighting fires instead of engaging in proactive APQP activities to ensure good launches and continuous improvement projects.
The fight to attract engineering resources will continue in the future. In the meantime, managers and owners can do things to help improve project management planning and launches to create smooth operations in their engineering department. Each APQP project has five main forms, which need to be updated and managed every time there is a change in design or process.
- Digitalize your APQP
- Part Drawings and 3D Models
- Control Plans
- Process Failure Mode and Effects Analysis
- Design Failure Mode and Effects Analysis
- Inspection Report
Many managers underestimate the time it takes their team to complete these forms in Excel® format (still the most prevalent since their inception 30 years ago!). Every time there is a design change, every single one of these forms needs to be updated.
Additionally, these forms must be shared with tool shops, customers, Tier II suppliers, production teams, and sales teams. Whether you like it or not, your engineers are spending a lot of their precious time doing these frivolous activities.
While there are many other remedies, one immediate solution is to look for a robust, cloud-based APQP system that can be configured to meet your unique process and requirements.
This software should:
- Be easy to use for all stakeholders.
- Store all relevant information about the product and project
- Allow communication and share all relevant forms and data down to shift leads, production operators, and CNC machinists
- Enable upstream and outside communications with Tooling vendors, Secondary process partners, and Sales and New Products team members.
This investment should allow engineers to spend time on the most important activities of communicating with customers and production teams, running optimizations, ensuring quality robustness, ensuring safe launches, and, finally, engaging in continuous improvement tasks.
MESH Works and many competitors offer intuitive software to manage APQP right out of the box. It was developed by engineers with experience in successfully managing projects in the automotive, agriculture, automotive, aerospace, and industrial markets. The MESH system has been utilized to launch over 5500 components to various customers over the last seven years.
Are you ready to improve your APQP and make the lives of your engineers easier? Contact us to learn more or book a demo.