In 2009 the International Aerospace
Quality Group (IAQG) released a revision to AS9100, the quality management system (QMS) standard for the
Aviation, Space and Defense industries. The AS9100 quality standard is based on
ISO 9001, adding requirements specific to Aerospace. The goal of the IAQG is to
improve product quality and on-time delivery of products through the cooperative
implementation of initiatives intended to make significant improvements in quality
and reductions in cost throughout the value stream.
The most recent initiative is the addition of Advance Product Quality Planning (APQP) to the Supply Chain Management Handbook (SCMH). The latest
upload of documentation for this initiative is April 2014 although individual APQP
Phase Checklists were made available in December 2013.
Although other industries (for example, the Automotive industry) have been using
APQP, the needs of the Aerospace industry differs from other industries and the
IAQG has developed guidance material which is tailored to better address these demands.
The Aerospace APQP was developed to foster a proactive and preventative mindset
within the organization. It is a structured approach to product development to guarantee
the new products satisfy customer needs and wants by utilizing cross functional
teams that promote collaboration and communication, thus avoiding the creation of
“functional silos” which tend to act independently. Aerospace APQP should be integrated
into the program / project management to provide effective early warning and to
support on-time and on-quality delivery of the product by monitoring key deliverables
critical to quality.
The Aerospace APQP Model has 3 Pillars
- Organizational Commitment & Management Support
- Full engagement and commitment of top management from project launch is key
- Cross Functional Team
- Ensures effective communication across the entire organization and enables faster
- Effective Project Planning
- Commitment of the project team to Aerospace APQP planning is key to the project
The APQP principles are defined in terms of Phases, Elements and Deliverables.
- The five phases represent the logical steps taken to deliver product from concept
to production. Each phase ends with defined outputs (milestones).
- 46 elements are the discrete activities that need to be completed during a specific
- Deliverables are tangible evidence that an activity has been completed effectively.
The APQP Manual provides an Element Card for each element identifying the Element
Owner, Definition, Deliverables, Necessary Inputs, Resources, Methodology and Reference
Each deliverable has an associated checklist which consists of a set of short, simple,
clear closed questions (designed to deliver Y/N answers). The checklist is used
to assess the quality of the deliverable. The checklist is also used to:
- Document references as evidence and records of deviations;
- Record corrective actions to correct deviations;
- Establish the first level of Red/Yellow/Green rating (based on answers to each questions).
Finally, the Aerospace APQP process includes a Production Part Approval Process
(PPAP). This process, in additional to the FAI process, enables the supplier to
demonstrate that their production process is consistently capable of producing product
that meets customer requirements (see the Element Card example, above).
PPAP has been required by many Aerospace customers for several years now. Just some
of the customers that require PPAP include Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier Aerospace,
Spirit AeroSystems, UTC (UTAS, Pratt-Whitney, Hamilton Sundstrand, etc.), Snecma
and Rolls-Royce) . Now, as part of the Aerospace APQP, PPAP is receiving industry
recognition; however, the specific deliverables are still determined by the customer.
If integrated into the new product development activities as a prevention strategy
rather than a “customer document generation process”, APQP will reduce “Infant Mortality”
costs incurred on a new program. Together with PPAP (Including FAI), APQP will assure—with
evidence—that manufacturing process functions are clearly planned, validated, documented
and communicated that result in:
- Reduced process variation
- Statistically controlled processes
- Enhanced customer confidence in supplier’s capabilities
- Consistent quality and delivery
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