Choosing the right FMEA, Control Plan, and APQP software for your company

Mary Bray, Key Account Manager with QA Assistant discusses the challenges facing Quality teams in choosing the best software for their APQP documentation including Design Failure Modes Effects Analysis ( dFMEA ), Process Failure Modes Effects Analysis ( pFMEA ), Control Plans, Process Flows, and other Advanced Product Quality Planning ( APQP ) documents.

QA Assistant Studio Flex™ APQP Software

Mary joined QA Assistant in September 2011, having previously held roles as Account Manager and Document Controller in some of Ireland's best manufacturing facilities, and is well aware of the challenges facing Quality teams in selecting the best possible software to suit their FMEA , Control Plan, and APQP requirements. This can seem a daunting task for your team, but once the right steps are taken and you develop a good working relationship with your vendor, things can run a lot more smoothly.

So you've come to the conclusion that spreadsheets or your current software is not creating or controlling your APQP documentation the way you would like and things are getting out of control. Your engineers are spending too much time on documentation causing frustration and loss of time and money. It is time for dedicated APQP software.

How do you select the best APQP software package for your team? The key steps to follow are:

  1. Form a search team and select a team leader
  2. Consider your teams' requirements
  3. Evaluate software vendors and select the best for your team
  4. Schedule training

Form a search team and select a team leader

Before the APQP software search begins, form a search team or leader depending on the size of your company. Make sure that key personnel who know the requirements are involved including senior management. Decide on a time frame for introduction and seek budget approval.

Consider your teams' requirements

Decide whether you require the software to be installed on your local server or would you prefer the flexibility of a web based solution. Determine the number of users who would need access. Draw up a wish list - for example, you may desire an APQP software package that is able to link Control Plans, FMEA documents, Process Flows to each other and to specific products to facilitate APQP audit preparation.

Evaluate software vendors and select the best for your team

Choose a software company that specialises in FMEA. The best packages will be powerful enough for your needs but not overly complicated from a user point of view. Request a trial version of their software and ask for quotations. It would also be worth asking about their roadmap for development of the software.

Schedule training

Training users is one of the main challenges a company faces after selecting software. In addition to completing their daily work, users must be trained on the new software and take the time to practice it. Because of their workloads, users very often don't practice as much as they should. In order to assure that training and practice are done on schedule, it's wise to conduct a monthly meeting to monitor progress.

Evaluate software vendors and select the best for your team

As part of our pre-sales support QA Assistant offers potential clients the chance to use the full-featured online version of the software -- enabling use of our software without needing to install any software! Documents may be created, stored, and exported exactly as if you had a fully licensed version of QA Assistant Studio™.

From your first contact with QA Assistant though the purchase of the software license, one of our experienced representatives works with you to help familiarize yourself with the software's features and assist you in selecting the best solution for your company.

Additionally, our potential clients may take advantage of all of the support offered to licensed customers including personal/group training sessions, one-on-one and group conference calls.

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