Tuesday 09 August 2022

Quality One Australia

APQP - Advanced Product Quality Planning

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APQP from Quality One

APQP Introduction Introduction to APQP
What is APQP What Is APQP
Why Implement APQP Why Implement APQP
When to Apply APQP When To Apply APQP
How to Implement APQP How To Implement APQP

APQP Top Introduction To APQP

Complex products and supply chains present numerous possibilities for failure, particularly as new products are being launched. Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) is a structured process aimed at ensuring customer satisfaction with new products or processes. APQP has exists in many forms, procedures and practices. Originally referred to as Advanced Quality Planning (AQP), APQP is used by progressive companies to assure quality and performance of new and updated products and processes through planning.

Ford Motor Company published the first Advanced Quality Planning handbook for suppliers in the early 1980’s. APQP helped Ford suppliers develop appropriate prevention and detection controls for new and updated products supporting the corporate quality effort. With lessons learned from Ford AQP, the North American Automotive OEM’s collectively created the APQP process in 1994 and then later updated in 2008.

APQP is intended to aggregate the common planning activities all automotive OEM’s require into one process. Suppliers utilize APQP to bring new and updated products and processes to successful validation and drive continuous improvement in collaboration with the OEM.

There are numerous tools and techniques described within APQP. Each tool has potential value when applied in the correct timing and with correct robustness. Tools that have the greatest impact on product and process success are called the Core Tools. The Core Tools are expected to be used for compliance to IATF 16949. There are five basic Core Tools detailed in separate guideline handbooks, including Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP).

The other Core Tools are:



APQP is a structured approach to product and process design. This framework is a standardized set of quality requirements that enable suppliers to design a product that satisfies the customer. The primary goal of product quality planning is to facilitate communication and collaboration between engineering activities.

A Cross Functional Team (CFT), involving marketing, product design, procurement, manufacturing and distribution, is used in the APQP process. APQP ensures the Voice of the Customer (VOC) is clearly understood, translated into requirements, technical specifications and special characteristics. The product or process benefits are designed in through prevention.

APQP supports the early identification of change, both intentional and incidental. These changes can result in exciting new innovation supporting customer delight. When not managed well they translate to failure and customer dissatisfaction. The focus of APQP is utilization of tools and methods for mitigating the risks associated with change in the new product or process.

APQP Late Failure Mode Discovery  APQP Early Failure Mode Discovery

APQP Top Why Implement APQP

APQP supports the never ending pursuit of continuous improvement. The first three sections of APQP focus on planning and prevention and make up 80% of the APQP process. The fourth and fifth sections support the remaining 20% of APQP and focus on validation and evidence. The fifth section specifically allows an organization to communicate learnings and provide feedback to develop standard work and processes.

A list of APQP benefits are:

  • Directing resources by defining the vital few items from the trivial many
  • Promote early identification of change
  • Intentional (what is being changed on purpose to bring value to the customer)
  • Incidental (environments, customer usage, degradation and interfaces)
  • Avoid late changes (post release) by anticipating failure and preventing it
  • Fewer design and process changes later in the product development process
  • On-time quality product at lowest cost
  • Multiple options for mitigating the risk when found earlier
  • Higher capability of verification and validation of a change
  • Improved collaboration between Design of the Product and Process
  • Improved Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFM/A)
  • Lower cost solutions selected earlier in the process
  • Legacy capture and reuse, advancement of Tribal Knowledge and standard work creation and utilization

APQP Concurrent Process

APQP Top When To Apply APQP

APQP facilitates communication between the supply chain and the organization / customer. Requirements that translate into more detailed specifications are clarified and decomposed to more detail as the process continues. APQP is used in 2 ways:

1. New Product Introduction (NPI) Support:

APQP supplements product development processes by adding a focus on risk as a substitute for failure. This allows the team to take action on the risk instead of having to wait for failure to occur in testing or worse, in the hands of the customer. APQP utilizes risk based tools that focus on all aspects of product and process design, service, process quality control, packaging and continuous improvement. Each application of APQP may be unique to a previous application because of the percentage of new content, changes to current off-the-shelf technology or past failure history.

2. Product or Process Change (Post Release):

APQP follows a product or process change outside of Product Development and assures the risk of change is managed successfully by preventing problems created by the change.

APQP Top How To Implement APQP

APQP Plan Do Study Act Cycle

APQP is comprised of one pre-planning stage and five concurrent phases. Once begun, the process never ends and is often illustrated in the Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) cycle. PDSA was made famous by W. Edwards Deming. Each section is aligned with analytical risk discovery tools and techniques. Finding risk in product and process development is more desirable than finding late failure. The APQP Sections are defined below:

Section 0: Pre-Planning

APQP begins with assumptions, concepts and past knowledge. Bookshelf knowledge and standard work practices are listed as well as areas where significant change is expected. Each section of APQP depends on risk information that has previously been discovered from previous programs and previous APQP sections. The information sharing assures a flow of logical risk discovery and mitigation.

This section compiles the inputs into Section 1 – Plan and Define.

Section 1: Plan and Define

Section 1 links customer expectations, wants, needs and desires to requirements. Plan Development will assure the output of this section is satisfactory product quality. Resource planning, process and product assumptions are made. A list of preliminary special characteristics and design / reliability goals are also established.

Inputs into Section 1

  • Voice of the Customer
    • Market research
    • Historical issues
    • Team experience
  • Business Plan and Marketing Plan
  • Product and Process Benchmark
  • Product and Process Assumptions
  • Product Reliability Studies
  • Customer Inputs as applicable
Outputs of Section 1 (Inputs to Section 2):
  • Design Goals
  • Reliability and Quality Goals
  • Preliminary Bill of Material (BOM)
  • Preliminary Process Flow
  • Preliminary list of Special Characteristics
  • Product Assurance Plan
  • Gateway approval

Section 2: Product Design and Development

The focus in Section 2 is on product design and development. Geometry, design features, details, tolerances and refinement of special characteristics are all reviewed in a formal Design Review. Design verification through prototypes and testing are also part of this section. Tools which typically provide great benefit in this section are DFM/A, Design Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (DFMEA) and Design Verification Plan and Report (DVP&R).

Outputs of Section 2 (Inputs to Section 3):

  • Design FMEA (DFMEA)
  • Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFM/A)
  • Design Verification
  • Design Review
  • Prototype Control Plan
  • Engineering Drawings CAD the Master
  • Engineering Specifications
  • Material Specifications
  • Change Control for Drawings
  • New Equipment, Tooling and Facilities Requirements
  • Special Product and Process Characteristics
  • Gages / Testing Equipment Requirements
  • Team Feasibility Commitment and Gateway approval

Section 3: Process Design and Development

Section 3 explores manufacturing techniques and measurement methods that will be used to bring the design engineer’s vision into reality. Process Flow Charts, Process Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (PFMEA) and Control Plan Methodology are examples of tools used in this section.

Outputs of Section 3 (Inputs to Section 4):

  • Packaging Standards and Specifications
  • Quality System Review
  • Process Flow Chart
  • Floor Plan Layout
  • Characteristics Matrix
  • Process FMEA (PFMEA)
  • Pre-Launch Control Plan
  • Process Instructions
  • Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA) Plan
  • Preliminary Process Capability Plan
  • Gateway Approval

Section 4: Product and Process Validation

Validation of the process quality and volume capabilities is the focus of Section 4. Statistical Process Control (SPC), Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA) and Process Capability Studies are introduced in this section. Product Part Approval Process (PPAP) is ready for submission and production begins upon approval.

Outputs of Section 4 (Inputs to Section 5):

  • Significant Production Run
  • MSA Results
  • Process Capability Studies
  • Production Part Approval Process (PPAP)
  • Production Validation Testing
  • Packaging Evaluation
  • Production Control Plan
  • Quality Planning Sign-Off and Gateway approval

Section 5: Feedback Assessment and Corrective Action

Section 5 explores learnings from the ongoing manufacturing process, RPN/risk reduction, corrective actions (both internal and external), Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving (8D) and the capture of information pertinent for future use in derivations of current products and introduction of new products using known legacy.

Outputs of Section 5 (Inputs into Future Programs):

  • Reduced Variation
  • Improved Customer Satisfaction
  • Improved Delivery Performance
  • Effective Use of Lessons Learned

APQP Implementation requires adherence to the requirements of each section. Training, procedural implementation and systems and tools integration need to be considered when attaining the APQP process, product development and feedback loops.

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