What is APQP? Advanced Product Quality Planning
Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) clearly highlights project issues quickly when they are relatively easy and inexpensive to resolve. APQP provides a defined pathway for all project stakeholders to work towards throughout the project life cycle. Clear measures of achievement offer an early indication of project health and potential risks.
This effective quality planning tool can be applied to any low volume process like product, service development or bid processes.
APQP offers many key benefits
- Focuses the team on specific project tasks and goals
- Improved communication between customers, project teams and suppliers.
- Avoid design and product quality problems at the earliest possible time.
APQP is used within the automotive industry
Developed by Ford, GM and Chrysler, Advanced Product Quality Planning provides a framework to control the development of a product or service that will satisfy the customer.
Deming's Plan, Do, Check and Act (PDCA) is a four-step management method used in business for the control and continuous improvement of processes and products. The first three stages are devoted to the up-front development and planning. Lastly, Act is the implementation phase - focusing on customer satisfaction and continual improvement. APQP practically applies PDCA to the project management process.
There are professional APQP tools available to download from the internet which offer the APQP framework and automated project risk and achievement measures. APQP Tollgate Pro from Adaptive BMS is an excellent example of a 'ready to use' APQP based product development tool:
APQP provides a single ‘one sheet’ measure of project health for all stakeholders, making it a very portable and usable tool. Ideal for reporting project status up and down the supply chain and throughout your business. This ‘fact and data’ driven approach develops project buy-in from all key stakeholders.
Typical APQP workflow (product development)
Phase 1 — Plan and Define the Program
- Identify design intent: life and quality goals.
- Preliminary Bill of Materials (BOM).
- Initial process defined.
- Initial critical product and process characteristics.
- Initial product assurance plan and signed-off management support statement.
Phase 2 — Product/Service Design and Development
- Design/service Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA).
- Design for successful execution of the manufacturing, assembly of service path.
- Design/service validation.
- Preliminary control plans for early prototype/service trail phase.
- Engineering documentation and proofs.
- Engineering/service specifications.
Phase 3. Process/Service Design and Development
- Process Failure Mode Effect Analysis (PFMEA).
- Product/process quality system review.
- System layout.
- Characteristics matrix (CTQs).
- Process/service flow chart.
- Beta control plan prior to first run.
- Packaging and delivery standards.
- Process/service instructions.
Phase 4. Product/Process and Service System Validation
- Trial runs.
- Initial capability analysis.
- Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA) and validation.
- Production Part Approval Process (PPAP).
- Production control plan.
- Packaging validation: quality planning sign-off and management presentation.
Phase 5. Feedback, Assessment and Improvement Action
- Reduce unwanted variation.
- Confirm customer satisfaction or delight.
- Delivery and service requirements have been met.
APQP allows your project teams to define specific goals and then check that they have been done correctly and at the right time. If for example the FMEA above had reported a major design problem, the APQP report is the place where this would be highlighted.
APQP makes your project team faster and more effective
APQP is an excellent project quality tool for both manufacturers and service providers. The APQP process is easily adaptable to almost any type of application or industry where effective and timely project management is needed.
Organizations interested in using APQP may consider using a professional APQP tool like APQP Tollgate Pro from Adaptive BMS:
This highly customizable tool offers a simple and effective way to get started with APQP in your organization.