Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP)
is a quality framework used for developing new products in the automotive
industry. It can be applied to any industry and is similar in many respects to
the concept of design for six sigma (DFSS).
The APQP process is described in AIAG manual 810-358-3003.
Its purpose is "to produce a product quality plan which will support
development of a product or service that will satisfy the customer."
It does this by focusing on:
- Up-front quality planning
- Evaluating the output to determine if customers are satisfied &
support continual improvement
The Advanced Product Quality Planning process consists of four phases and
five major activities along with ongoing feedback assessment and
corrective action as shown below.
A further indication of the APQP process is to
examine the process outputs by phase. This is shown in the table below:
The APQP process involves these major elements:
The Advanced Product Quality Planning process is supported by our
Product Development Toolkit.
- Understand customer needs . This is done using voice of the
customer techniques to determine customer needs and using
quality function deployment to organize those needs and
translate them into product characteristics/requirements.
- Proactive feedback & corrective action. The
advance quality planning process provides feedback from other similar projects
with the objective of developing counter-measures on the current project. Other
mechanisms with verification and validation, design reviews, analysis of customer
feedback and warranty data also satisfy this objective.
- Design within process capabilities.
This objective assumes that the company has brought
processes under statistical control, has determined its
process capability and has communicated
it process capability to its development personnel. Once this is done, development personnel
need to formally determine that critical or special characteristics are within the enterprise's
process capability or initiate action to improve the process or acquire more capable equipment.
- Analyze & mitigate failure modes. This is done using techniques such as
failure modes and effects analysis or
anticipatory failure determination.
- Verification & validation. Design verification is testing to
assure that the design outputs meet design input requirements. Design verification may include
activities such as: design reviews, performing alternate calculations, understanding
tests and demonstrations, and review of design documents before release. Validation is
the process of ensuring that the product conforms to defined user needs, requirements, and/or
specifications under defined operating conditions. Design validation is performed on
the final product design with parts that meet design intent. Production validation
is performed on the final product design with parts that meet design intent produced production
processes intended for normal production.
- Design reviews . Design reviews are formal reviews conducted during the development
of a product to assure that the requirements, concept, product or process satisfies
the requirements of that stage of development, the issues are understood, the risks
are being managed, and there is a good business case for development. Typical
design reviews include: requirements review, concept/preliminary design review, final
design review, and a production readiness/launch review.
- Control special/critical characteristics.
Special/critical characteristics are identified
through quality function deployment or other similar structured method.
Once these characteristics are understood, and there is an assessment that the process is capable
of meeting these characteristics (and their tolerances), the process must be controlled. A
control plan is prepared to indicate how this will be achieved. Control Plans provide a
written description of systems used in minimizing product and process variation
including equipment, equipment set-up, processing, tooling, fixtures, material,
preventative maintenance and methods.