Advanced Product Quality Planning is a structured approach used in the automotive sector to ensure that new products and processes meet customer expectations. APQP allows customers to easily communicate the requirements to suppliers, which also reduces the complexity of product quality planning. The product development process requires many inputs and outputs in each stage to meet customer specifications.
The History of APQP
In the1980s, experts like Ford, GM, and Chrysler saw the need of coming together to create a common core of product quality-planning principles, which is now called advanced product quality planning. In the late 1980s, APQP became a major part of the automotive industry and standardized protocols and formats were established for each component, so as to meet customer requirements. Furthermore, guidelines were established in the early 1990s for consistency, these guidelines then gained momentum and adoption among manufacturers across a wide range of industries.
Comparison of APQP, PPAP, and DFSS
The Product Part Approval Process (PPAP) mainly emphasizes the evidence, or the proof gathered during the APQP process. Validated results from the first trial run confirm that quality of delivery is expected. The trial run must replicate the production environment with all proper equipment, processes, machines, employees and other factors that affect part quality. Both APQP and PPAP are inextricably linked because PPAP documents are the outcome of APQP. PPAP serves as a proof that APQP was completed successfully.
Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) is also an approach to new product or process which is primarily used to re-design a product or process. DFSS is a laser like concentration on needs and specifications. APQP has a greater scope than DFSS and may be scaled to the level of risk that each supplier, design or process poses on program success.