Advanced Product Quality Planning 101
APQP is used extensively in a number of industries including the automotive and manufacturing industries as a means to improve product quality. The end-goal is to ensure that the quality of the final product is top-notch by using a number of tools and techniques. For many, it may seem similar to Six Sigma, though only in concept. APQP usually occurs in 5 stages.
1 - Plan and Define
The first step aims to conceptualize your product by outlining what it is, how it is to be made and defining resource and other parameters.
2 - Designing and Developing the Product
The design for the product, as well as the outline of its manufacturing is detailed and a prototype is usually created using computer model generation. Each component is analyzed to ensure that quality is maximized and that no area can cause dissatisfaction. For example, a nut that may wear out within 6 months may have to be redesigned to ensure it works efficiently for years.
3 - Designing and Developing the Manufacturing Process
During this stage, every element of the manufacturing process is analyzed, along with any areas where compromise on quality might occur. This not only ensures quality in the process but efficiency as well.
4 - Validation of Step 2 and 3 with Feedback
The above 2 steps are validated to ensure that they are feasible and acceptable. Feedback from production is usually used in conjunction with computer models to ensure viability of the product and process under various manufacturing conditions.
5 - Implementation, Evaluation and Corrective Control
Finally, they are implemented and monitored closely, with the design and/or process evaluated and changes made where required.
Evidently, the biggest benefit to APQP is the improved quality of production. By planning each stage and eliminating possible hindrances within the product’s design and manufacturing, higher quality products can be produced with significantly lower margins of error.
More than just product quality, APQP helps improve the communication between the supplier and their customers. By engaging their customers on a new level, customer and supplier expectations can run parallel and ensure project efficiency and faster PPAP.
By identifying and isolating resource wastage and potential faults in manufacturing and design at an early stage, suppliers can reduce their costs. This reduction is carried over into customer savings, driving higher customer satisfaction.
Product Part Approval Process (PPAP) helps build confidence in a supplier’s engineering practices by proving the consistency of a product’s quality. However, the process for acquiring approval can take some time. Fortunately, the value of APQP is increased in that its streamlined nature helps facilitate faster PPAP.
At each of the 5 stages, Advanced Product Quality Planning provides multiple benefits to both the supplier and customer. Not only does it inherently improve quality, it lowers costs and ensures a streamlined - more efficient - manufacturing process. This translates into better customer satisfaction and increased revenue generation.
If you need more information on the benefits your company receives with APQP, or require more information on the topic, contact an Akko Fastener representative by clicking here and completing our contact form.
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