Each company has their own way of defining and tracking an APQP project. A very important part of all this is defining responsibilities. In the example above, a simple Excel spreadsheet is used. Many companies use MS Project or other project management software. An APQP project is just that - a project. There are a number of companies which make APQP project management software (essentially databases). I am not a proponent of ‘canned’ software, but for some companies it has it’s place. Remember, each company is unique in how they assign responsibilities.
Each APQP Team member is representing their department. If you’re from manufacturing, you will be bringing back to your department certain requirements which (depending on how your company and team is structured) will have to be carried out at certain times. Sales is generally in the action arena early in the game and will be providing some information such as contributions to the identification of certain customer requirements. Manufacturing, at some point, will have to do capability studies and a run-off. Typically manufacturing is in up to their necks from the beginning while sales is for the most part out of the picture early on. Design is involved early on and then typically fades back until / unless a problem occurs (we’re all familiar with the trials of an engineering change, are we not?).
Internal (Company) Coordination and Tracking
In this example, you can see the company has defined sequential steps in a spreadsheet. Line items can be broken out and aligned with inputs / outputs of the APQP Phases as defined in the APQP and Control Plan manual. Note that each line item carries a defined responsibility as well as ‘input’, assistance and coordination responsibilities. There is no exact indication of critical path in this example, however in general the line items are sequential.
This said, one should also understand that many of these items will be proceeding in parallel. The design FMEA, the process flow diagram, the process FMEA and the control plan will probably all be ‘in process’ at the same time.
Most of the critical path links are going to be self-evident. For example, you cannot finish your control plan until your process FMEA and Flow diagram are complete. If you do not know why this is true, you may need specialized training.