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Advanced product quality planning (or APQP) is a framework of procedures and techniques used to develop products in industry, particularly the automotive industry. It is quite similar to the concept of Design for Six Sigma (DFSS).

It is a defined process for a product development system for General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and their suppliers. According to the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), the purpose of APQP is "to produce a product quality plan which will support development of a product or service that will satisfy the customer.

APQP serves as a guide in the development process and also a standard way to share results between suppliers and automotive companies. APQP specifies three phases: Development, Industrialization and Product Launch. Through these phases 23 main topics will be monitored. These 23 topics will be all completed before the production is started. They cover such aspects as: design robustness, design testing and specification compliance, production process design, quality inspection standards, process capability, production capacity, product packaging, product testing and operator training plan, among other items.

APQP focuses on:

  • Up-front quality planning
  • Determining if customers are satisfied by evaluating the output and supporting continual improvement

APQP consists of five phases:

  • Plan and Define Program
  • Product and Development Verification
  • Process and Development Verification
  • Product and Process Validation and Production Feedback
  • Launch, Assessment & Corrective Action

There are five major activities:

  • Planning
  • Product and Development
  • Process and Development
  • Product and Process Validation
  • Production

The APQP process has seven major elements:

  • Understanding the needs of the customer
  • Proactive feedback and corrective action
  • Designing within the process capabilities
  • Analyzing and mitigating failure modes
  • Verification and validation
  • Design reviews
  • Control special/critical characteristics.

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