What is an APQP Checklist?

September 15, 2023

Imagine developing a new product, only to discover that it doesn't meet customer expectations or quality standards. Frustrating, isn't it? Enter: the Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) checklist. This game-changing tool is designed to ensure products meet customer requirements and quality standards throughout the development process. While in this blog post, we'll explore what an APQP checklist is, its importance, and how to create one to help you stay on track and deliver high-quality products, don't forget to read what is apqp in manufacturing blog post.

Creating an APQP Checklist for New Product Development

A diagram of the advanced product quality planning process

Advanced Product Quality Planning checklists are essential tools for navigating new product development. A well-structured checklist guarantees that products meet customer requirements and industry standards at every stage of the product and process design and development process. Cross-functional teams (CFTs), consisting of members from different departments, are responsible for utilizing the APQP checklist during the process validation phase.

Creating an APQP checklist involves identifying tasks to be completed, establishing checkpoints, and setting a timeline for each task, including manufacturing processes. Referring to a preexisting checklist can be helpful when constructing a new one. Moreover, regularly revising the checklist ensures its accuracy, especially during the development apqp phase.

Understanding APQP and Its Importance

A diagram of the APQP process and its importance

Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) is a structured approach to product development that concentrates on customer satisfaction, cost reduction, and quality improvement. By fostering the production of a product that adheres to the customer's quality standards, APQP reduces costs and enhances quality. APQP is most commonly utilized in the automotive industry but has also been adopted by other manufacturing sectors such as aerospace, defense, medical, and pharmaceutical.

Cross-functional teams (CFTs) are at the heart of APQP. They are composed of professionals representing:

  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Quality
  • Procurement
  • Distribution

They work together to make sure that products meet or even surpass customers expectations. The International Automotive Task Force (IATF) 16949:2016 standard specifies the requirements for a quality management system within the automotive industry.

What is the main purpose of an APQP checklist?

The main purpose of an APQP checklist is to ensure quality requirements are met, tasks are completed effectively, and products are developed in a timely manner.

This checklist helps to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to create a quality product that meets customer expectations. It also helps to ensure that the product is developed in a timely manner, so that it can be released to the market as soon as possible.

Components of an Effective APQP Checklist

A diagram of the components of an effective APQP checklist

An effective APQP checklist comprises various components, such as product and process validation, production control plans, and automotive quality management systems. We'll explore these components in detail in the following subsections, discussing their significance and how they contribute to a successful quality program.

Product and process validation are essential for ensuring that the product meets customer requirements. Production control plans help with production control plans.

Product and Process Validation

Product and process validation is critical for ensuring that products meet specifications and performance requirements before market release. It involves collecting and evaluating data from the process design stage through commercial production to ensure that the manufacturing process is capable of producing the product as intended with accuracy and precision. Product and process validation is essential in regulated industries such as MedTech and pharmaceuticals to guarantee the quality and dependability of the manufacturing process.

The steps involved in product and process validation include:

  • Collecting and assessing data from the process design stage through commercial production.
  • Ensuring process capability for producing the intended product.
  • Verifying that the product meets the specified requirements.

These are the primary challenges associated with product and process validation.

Production Control Plan

Production control plans outline the steps and procedures necessary to maintain product quality during manufacturing. These plans are documents that delineate the steps and procedures that must be adhered to in order to manufacture a product or service. By establishing quality control standards, implementing quality control processes, monitoring production processes, and conducting regular inspections, production control plans ensure product quality throughout the manufacturing process.

The significance of production control plans lies in their ability to guarantee that products are created to the highest quality standards and comply with customer specifications. They also aid in cost reduction by ensuring that production processes are efficient and any flaws are identified and remedied swiftly. Examples of production control plans include process flow diagrams, quality control plans, and inspection plans.

Automotive Quality Management Systems

Automotive quality management systems provide a framework for implementing APQP in the automotive industry. These systems, which are governed by standards such as IATF 16949, help organizations optimize efficiency and customer satisfaction.

An effective Automotive Quality Management System includes product and process validation, production control plans, identification of customer requirements, establishment of a product quality planning team, and implementation of continuous improvement. Examples of Automotive Quality Management Systems include ISO/TS 16949, ISO 9001, and ISO 14001.

Building Your APQP Checklist: A Step-by-Step Guide

A diagram of the steps to build an APQP checklist

Let's dive into a step-by-step guide to building an APQP checklist. This guide includes identifying customer requirements, establishing a product quality planning team, and implementing continuous improvement.

By following these steps, you can create a customized APQP checklist tailored to your specific product and process, as the APQP process consists of various elements that can be adapted to your needs.

Identifying Customer Requirements

Identifying customer requirements is a crucial step in the APQP and PPAP process. It involves gathering feedback and understanding their expectations for the product. Customer feedback can be obtained through various methods such as:

  • Engineering
  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Other techniques

Understanding customer expectations and engineering specifications is important in order to develop a product that meets or exceeds customer requirements. By identifying customer requirements, you can ensure that your product design and development process aligns with customer needs. This can ultimately lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as a reduction in costly product revisions and returns.

Establishing a Product Quality Planning Team

Establishing a product quality planning team is crucial in the development process. This team ensures that all necessary stakeholders are involved in the development process, guaranteeing that the product satisfies customer requirements and is of superior quality. A product quality planning team is a cross-functional group engaged in the APQP process, consisting of members from:

  • Marketing
  • Product design
  • Procurement
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution

The responsibilities of the product quality planning team include creating a product quality plan, guaranteeing customer requirements are fulfilled, and overseeing product quality throughout the development process. Establishing a product quality planning team not only enhances product quality but also heightens customer satisfaction and minimizes costs associated with product development and manufacturing.

Implementing Continuous Improvement

Implementing continuous improvement is essential for maintaining the quality of your product and the efficiency of the APQP process. Continuous improvement involves:

  • Actively seeking opportunities for improvement
  • Making small modifications over time Regularly reviewing and updating the APQP checklist is crucial to ensure that:
  • The product complies with customer expectations
  • The quality of the product is preserved

By making incremental improvements to the APQP checklist, you can identify areas for enhancement and verify that the product is in line with the most current industry standards. Continuous improvement not only keeps your APQP process up-to-date, but also helps you stay ahead of the competition by consistently delivering high-quality products.

Overcoming Common Challenges in APQP Implementation

A diagram of the common challenges in APQP implementation

Implementing APQP may encounter challenges such as:

  • Lack of management support
  • Insufficient knowledge of APQP processes
  • Difficulty in coordinating with stakeholders
  • Complexity of the project
  • Inadequate allocation of resources
  • Lack of standardization

To address these challenges, it is important to employ strategies such as proper planning, communication, and resource allocation.

Utilizing APQP checklist examples and templates ensures that all essential steps are taken during the product development process, and that the product complies with customer requirements. These examples and templates can also help streamline the process and minimize the risk of mistakes, ultimately leading to a more efficient and effective APQP process.

Utilizing Net-Inspect's APQP software for APQP Management

An image of a digital APQP checklist being filled out on a computer screen for efficient APQP management.

Digital tools, such as APQP project management software, can help streamline the APQP process and improve overall efficiency.

In addition to streamlining the APQP process, digital tools can facilitate routine compliance checks, assign corrective actions, and store records in the cloud.


In conclusion, APQP checklists are invaluable tools for ensuring the success of new product development. By understanding the importance of APQP, creating a customized checklist, and utilizing digital tools for management, you can significantly improve the efficiency of your product development process and deliver high-quality products that meet customer requirements. Don't let product development challenges hold you back; embrace the power of APQP checklists and start creating products that exceed expectations.

By leveraging software, you can ensure a more efficient and effective APQP process. Contact our sales team today if you are interested in learning more about Net-Inspect's APQP solution.