(APQP) Advanced Product Quality Planning

There’s a new APQP (Advanced Product Quality Planning) manual coming. The new version is more than a methodology; it's a commitment to excellence, ensuring that every product not only meets but exceeds customer expectations. Updated for Industry 4.0, higher automation, autonomous driving, electrification and the expanding definition of mobility, the updated standard provides steps and tools, to avert quality issues, elevate customer satisfaction, and foster an environment of continuous improvement.

Decoupling the two documents will also facilitate more timely updates as systems evolve and emphasizes the importance of Control Plans in product development.

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Looking for APQP 3rd Edition and/or Control Plan 1st Edition?

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This two-day “transitioning” training – intended for current APQP practitioners, managers, and auditors – focuses on updates and changes in the APQP 3rd Edition to facilitate a better understanding of how your APQP program will be impacted, provide examples of new elements, and explore the managerial side of APQP in more detail.

Focusing on both the managerial and technical aspects of APQP, this three-day course includes case studies for practical analysis, along with various other techniques successful practitioners have used over the years. If you’re looking for a comprehensive APQP training to move above and beyond conformance, this course is for you.

Looking for a comprehensive training on Control Plans, covering everything from development to maintenance? Designed for a variety of learners (and particularly geared toward beginners), this one-day course focuses on certain areas that are often overlooked, along with best practices for monitoring your Control Plan.

Designed to provide an overview of the new APQP 3rd Edition, this one-day course covers both the technical and managerial aspects of APQP to help you gain a more well-rounded understanding of program management. Course content focuses on general expectations for APQP tasks and the higher system level of phases, along with using new APQP tools in real-world contexts, and more.

Achieve Certification

Certification by AIAG in APQP/PPAP verifies an individual's proficiency in product quality planning and control plan guidelines, and PPAP submittal requirements as defined in the APQP and PPAP reference manuals.

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Gaining a proficiency in APQP demonstrates an individual’s understanding of world class product quality planning and control plan guidelines. AIAG’s APQP training class takes you step-by-step through the automakers’ common requirements and what you need to do to achieve compliance.

Through group activities and hands-on coaching, AIAG’s Understanding and Implementing APQP with PPAP training helps you put it all together. To gain the maximum benefit to your quality management system, you must understand how these two Core Tools work in tandem, by developing flow charts, process instructions, and control plans all the way to PPAP submission.

For quality managers, team leaders, or auditors searching for a mastery level understanding of the quality planning process, check out AIAG”s Implementing APQP, Control Plan and PPAP e-learning module.

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Want to make sure that the learning sticks? Keep AIAG’s APQP manual on hand as a reference guideline. The manual covers the majority of situations that occur in early planning, design, or process analysis phases. Discontinuing soon!

What are the steps in APQP?

Understanding APQP’s steps properly requires comprehensive and detailed training. For this basic guide, we’ll provide a general overview of APQP’s steps without going into great detail. Please refer to AIAG’s training resources for more information. 

  • Plan and Define Program - Define the product and process requirements, identify the key stakeholders, and develop a plan for the APQP process.
  • Product Design and Development - Design + develop the product (with design reviews and validation testing).
  • Process Design and Development - Create the production process: process flow diagrams, FMEA, and control plans.
  • Product and Process Validation - Validate the product and process through testing and pilot production.
  • Feedback Assessment and Corrective Action - Collect feedback on the product and process, identify any issues or deviations, and implement corrective actions.
  • Production Launch - Launch the product into full production.
  • Ongoing Monitoring and Feedback - Continuously monitor and collect feedback on the product and process and implement continuous improvement actions, as necessary.

APQP is a continuous improvement process engaging cross-functional teams, including engineering, quality, and production, throughout the product development and production cycle. 

How do I implement APQP?

Implementing APQP requires a systematic and structured approach, and typically involves the following steps:

  • Develop a plan - What are the goals of the APQP process? This step helps you outline what you’re looking to achieve along with the steps, responsibilities, and stakeholders involved. 
  • Assemble a team - Once you know what you need to do and who will be involved, you can create cross-functional teams across all your relevant departments - quality, engineering, production, and more - and set responsibilities. 
  • Establish a timeline - Establish a timeline for the APQP process, including key milestones and deadlines.
  • Conduct a risk assessment - The best way to prevent mistakes is to identify them before they happen. The “risk assessment” phase in APQP allows you to identify those potential quality issues and determine how they can be mitigated. 
  • Use the core tools - The core tools we discussed earlier in the article (FMEA, PPAP, MSA, SPC) can be used in combination with the APQP process to improve every step here - from design to production, measurement systems, and more. 
  • Validate the product and process - One of the main goals of APQP is to meet and exceed the customer’s expectations and requirements. Setting up rigorous testing and pilot productions allows you to validate both your product and the process it requires to accomplish exactly that. 
  • Monitor and collect feedback - As you progress through the APQP process, you should collect and assess feedback on the product and process to identify/implement improvements proactively. 
  • Continuously improve - Your organization’s needs and requirements are likely to change over time. The final step of the APQP process is to monitor these changing needs and make changes to ensure all your work stays relevant and effective.

Key benefits of APQP include:

  • Improved product quality - APQP’s rigorous risk assessments, design and process FMEAs (Failure Mode Effects Analysis), Control Plans, and production trials prevent a host of quality problems before parts are mass produced.
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction - To put it simply, higher quality products result in greater customer satisfaction and happiness. When customers are satisfied, their relationships with manufacturers and suppliers improve.
  • Increased efficiency - Quality problems in the development and manufacturing process hinder efficiency and time-to-market. APQP provides a reliable framework to catch and address these problems early to reduce the need for reworks.
  • Reduced costs - Quality problems, hangups in the development and manufacturing process, reworks, product returns, warranty claims, and more all result in greater costs to the manufacturer. APQP drastically reduces these issues to save significant costs.
  • Improved supplier relations - By factoring in a detailed understanding of customer requirements and expectations, APQP allows suppliers to better understand their customers which leads to improved customer/supplier relationships and a more collaborative working relationship.
  • Better risk management - APQP’s risk assessment processes allow suppliers and manufacturers to identify, address, and develop measures to mitigate potential quality issues early.
  • Improved process control - the combined methodologies outlined above in combination with APQP’s statistical process control (SPC) processes allow suppliers and manufacturers to monitor/control the production process in even greater detail.

Transform your product development journey with the new APQP. It's not just a methodology; it's a pathway to excellence in quality, efficiency, and customer satisfaction.

Free Resources

Watch APQP and Control Plan Webinar
"What you need to know to be ready"

Available in Spanish

New AIAG APQP CP - What You Need to Know to Be Ready

Watch Scott Trantham - Global Supplier Quality Manager (General Motors) - talk about the new APQP and Control Plan.

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Program Management: Quality Team - (248) 358-3570