(APQP) Advanced Product Quality Planning

Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) and Control Plans reduce the complexity of product quality planning for customers and suppliers by allowing customers to easily communicate their product quality planning requirements to their suppliers. Suppliers gain an understanding of basic industry requirements for achieving part approval from their customer. 
Control Plans summarize the identified process and product parameters required to maintain product conformity. These tools are applicable throughout the supply base in all customer/supplier relationships.

Now the standard across many manufacturing sectors, APQP defines the required inputs and outputs of each stage of the product development process.

Sign Up For Training Now

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.

Once you’ve received a good overview of the tools, procedures, and reporting requirements, AIAG’s APQP How-To Workshop crystallizes the relationship and flow between the processes.

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.

Publications - Order Today

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.

APQP 3rd Edition

The new APQP and Control Plan are coming soon...sign up to be the first to know when the presale starts!

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.

APQP Work Group

The APQP work group is working on a new APQP 3rd edition that will split the current APQP and Control Plan Second Edition into separate manuals. Decoupling of the two will facilitate more timely updates as systems evolve.

Factors driving the need for this update include:

  • Changes to other references necessitate updates for APQP to remain relevant. For example, new terminology and concepts consistent with IATF 16949, AIAG & VDA FMEA Handbook and other Stellantis, Ford and General Motors core tool manuals.
  • The due diligence for APQP is being strengthened to avoid pitfalls from known risk factors.
  • Incorporating lessons learned from past projects and problems.
  • Applications of APQP are changing to meet demands imposed by higher automation and ultimately autonomous driving, electrification and the expanding definition of mobility.

Supplier input is being actively solicited and incorporated wherever possible. The new manual will continue to provide general guidelines for ensuring that Advanced Product Quality Planning is implemented in accordance with the requirements of the customer.

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.

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

Looking to participate or inquire for more information about the APQP work group? E‑mail us!