What is APQP?

Even if you have a quality management system in place, Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) is worth the effort.

Production processes often have inherent risks, such as process failures. Following the APQP process helps minimize these risks by taking preventative actions that lead to greater quality control and business success.

Get more details on how to take a preventative approach to quality. Watch our webinar How to Implement APQP Right: the Process & the Benefits.

Take a look at the 5 Phases of APQP:

Phase 1

Product Planning and Quality Program Definition

Phase 2

Product Design and Development

Phase 3

Manufacturing Process Design and Development

Phase 4

Process and Product Validation

Phase 5

Launch, Assessments, and Continual Improvement

Listening to the voice of the customer is what APQP is all about. When customers want a new product or an overhaul of an existing one, preliminary planning takes front and center. Planning needs to happen even before discussions of product design or redesign.

In this first APQP phase, planning is directed at understanding the customer’s needs and product expectations.

Planning activities include:

Gathering necessary data to define what the customer wants

Using the information to hash out product characteristics

Defining the quality program needed to create the product as specified

This second phase focuses on completing the product design and assessing product feasibility.

Outcomes from work in this phase include:

A completed design review and verification

Material specifications and equipment requirements

A completed design failure mode and effect analysis to assess failure probabilities

Establishment of control plans for product prototype creation

The third phase focuses on planning the manufacturing process that will produce the new or improved product. The goal is to design and develop the production process while keeping product specifications, product quality, and production costs in mind.

The production process must be able to efficiently produce the quantities needed to meet expected consumer demand.

Outcomes in this phase include:

A completed process flow configuration

A completed process failure mode and effect analysis to identify and deal with risks

Operational process quality specifications

Product-finishing and packaging requirements

The fourth phase tests the validity of the manufacturing process and the final product.

Steps in this phase include:

Confirming the capability and reliability of the manufacturing process and product quality acceptance criteria

Performing production trial runs

Testing product output to confirm the effectiveness of the deployed manufacturing approach

Making necessary adjustments before moving to the next phase

The full-scale production launch occurs in this final phase, with emphasis on evaluating and improving processes. Key objectives of the fifth phase include reducing process variations, identifying issues, and starting corrective actions to support continual improvement.

During this phase, customer feedback and data related to process efficiency and quality planning effectiveness is collected and assessed.

Typical outcomes include:

An improved and consistent manufacturing process

Elevated quality of product delivery and customer service

Improved customer satisfaction

QAD CEBOS APQP software provides a structure for planning, defining, and completing the activities necessary to produce products that meet customer needs and expectations. APQP uses standard quality tools, such as FMEA, SPC, and PPAP, along with comprehensive control plans for effectiveness.

For manufacturers, APQP increases the likelihood of a successful product launch with minimal product and process risks and improved competitiveness.

Talk to an expert at QAD CEBOS about how to improve your company’s approach to quality.