APQP is a method for designing products and processes that is standardized. This framework is a collection of standardized quality requirements that enable suppliers to design customer-satisfying products. This is enabled by proper product quality planning.
Product quality planning’s main aim is to make communication and coordination between engineering activities easier. The APQP process employs a Cross-Functional Team (CFT) that includes marketing, product design, sourcing, production, and distribution. The Voice of the Customer (VOC) is translated into criteria, technical specifications, and special characteristics using APQP. The advantages of the product or method are created through prevention.
APQP encourages the early detection of both deliberate and unintentional improvement. These changes can result in exciting new customer-centric innovation. When they are not well handled, they lead to failure and consumer frustration. The use of techniques and methods for reducing the risks associated with the transition in a new product or process is the objective of APQP.
Why Implement Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP)
The APQP encourages a never-ending search for change. The first three parts of the APQP process, which account for 80 percent of the overall process, concentrate on preparation and prevention. The fourth and fifth sections, which concentrate on confirmation and proof, support the remaining 20% of APQP. The fifth section helps a company share lessons learned and receive input to improve standard work and processes. The following is a list of APQP advantages:
- Managing capital by separating the important few from the insignificant many
- Encourage early detection of changes.
- Forethoughtful (what is being changed on purpose to bring value to the customer)
- Surprising (environments, customer usage, degradation, and interfaces)
- By predicting and avoiding failure, you can avoid late changes (post-release).
- Later in the product creation phase, there are fewer designs and process changes.
- On-time delivery of a high-quality commodity at a low price
- When a risk is discovered early on, there are many ways for minimizing it.
- Increased change verification and validation capability.
- Collaboration between product and process design is improved.
- DFM/A (Design for Manufacturing and Assembly) Improvements.
- Earlier in the process, lower-cost options are chosen.
- Legacy preservation and reuse, development of tribal knowledge, and the formation and use of standard work.
When to Apply Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP)
APQP makes it easier for the supply chain and the organization/customer to communicate. As the process progresses, requirements that translate into more complex specifications are explained and decomposed into more detail. APQP can be used in two ways:
1. New Product Introduction (NPI) Support:
Advanced Product Quality Planning adds an emphasis on risk as a proxy for failure to product development processes. Instead of waiting for the danger to manifest itself in testing or, worse, in the hands of the customer, the team should take action beforehand. APQP employs risk-based tools for product and process design, operation, process quality management, packaging, and continuous improvement. Because of the percentage of new material, modifications to current off-the-shelf technology, or prior failure history, each APQP application may be distinct from previous applications.
2. Product or Process Change (Post Release):
Outside of Product Development, APQP monitors a product or process change and ensures that the risk of change is handled effectively by avoiding issues caused by the change.
The 5 Phases of APQP and the Key Elements to Each
Planning and Defining Program –The Voice of the Customer, the Reliability of Quality Targets (i.e. product protection or competitor product reliability benchmarks), and a Product Assurance Plan that gathers all of the design goals for the given product and converts them into design specifications are three main elements that a company looking to succeed with its product should concentrate on during this process.
Product Design and Development –At this stage, the focus shifts to three key elements: a Preliminary Process Flow Chart, which can be helpful in getting a head start on the process flows needed for Phase 3, a Design for Manufacturability, which minimizes potential production impacts such as component assembly complexities or material handling issues, and a Prototype Build, which should be developed through a control plan-type approach to ensure organizational confidence and readiness
Process Design and Development –The following are the three most important factors to consider in process design and development: A Characteristics Matrix, which is frequently ignored during APQP but helps an organization to consider design principles, characteristics, process parameters, and manufacturing locations, and Design Verification, which assesses whether all design criteria are in place. Finally, a Measurement System Analysis (MSA) Plan should be prioritized in the creation of the method to define suitable checking aids.
Product and Process Validation – At this phase, the three key elements that stand out are as follows: The creation of a Floor Plan Layout before production changeover should take into account the appropriateness of inspection points and storage areas, a Preliminary Process Capability Study should be conducted in accordance with relevant customer requirements, and a Quality Planning Sign-Off is the final go/no-go decision that should be accompanied by process flow charts, control plans, process instructions, monitoring and measurement devices in place.
Feedback, Assessment, and Corrective Actions – There are two main elements to concentrate on in this final stage: A Production Control Plan, which should now be a final approved extension of what was previously the Pilot Control Plan and the Pre-Launch Control Plan, as well as Lessons Learned/Best Practices documentation, which is often done during post-launch with the aim of building upon the initial APQP success in future projects.
It’s important to mention that APQP is a fantastic quality tool that’s far more complicated and has a lot more specifications than what’s covered in this post. Each of the five phases listed above has more components and elements that are required to effectively produce the desired results from APQP. Some of the most important features were presented to highlight their significance within each step for the sake of clarification, simplification, and emphasis.