Advanced Product Quality Planning, or APQP for short, creates a roadmap for developing new products complete with time-based milestones and decision points along the way.
A major objective of Advanced Product Quality Planning is to provide a vehicle for suppliers and customers to work together when developing a new product.
Comprehensive APQP planning assures on-time delivery of high added-value products. Successful New Product Introductions (NPIs) follow the principles of the Advanced Product Quality Planning.
Five Phases of an APQP
APQP has five formal phases. Each phase connects to and triggers the next. The Advanced Product Quality Planning Process is not a “use what I like and ignore the rest” approach. The five phases represent a continuum where each phase builds upon the previous. Consequently, the entire process suffers when early phases are incomplete.
Two “Unofficial” Phases
Some organizations add additional phases to their APQP processes. While these aren’t required phases, they include important start-up and on-going improvement activities that contribute to the long-term success of an APQP. They are:
- Phase 0 – APQP Preparation and Team Formation
- Phase 6 – Control Plan
A Little Background
APQP was introduced in 1994 by the AIAG or Automotive Industry Action Group. Before then, the requirements of OEMs (in the automotive sector) were at times confusing and conflicting. The process provides a common platform for planning, developing and producing a product or providing a service.
The original 1994 version was a collaborative effort involving Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation. In the intervening years, AIAG membership has grown to include OEMs such as Caterpillar, Daimler, Honda, International Truck, Nissan, Toyota and many automotive sector part suppliers and service suppliers.
Today, Advanced Product Quality Planning has extended to many organizations beyond the automotive sector.