What is APQP? Advanced Product Quality Planning Guide

June 30, 2023

In today's fast-paced, competitive market, ensuring product quality and mitigating risks is more critical than ever. "What is APQP process?" you might ask. Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) has emerged as a powerful tool that allows companies to create high-quality products while minimizing risks and meeting customer requirements. Find out everything about APQP and discover how it can transform your product development process, streamline your workflows, and ultimately lead to greater customer satisfaction through APQP Software.

Why is APQP important?

A diagram showing the Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) process

Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) is crucial in providing a structured approach to the development process, incorporating process design, quality control, and risk management to create products that meet customer requirements and expectations. The APQP process helps achieve quality goals, create a preliminary bill of materials that aligns with the design engineer's vision, and allows for greater quality control in the supply chains.

By identifying potential issues early in the development process, APQP minimizes risks and ensures that products are designed and manufactured with quality in mind. This proactive approach to product quality planning leads to increased customer satisfaction and a more efficient supply chain, ultimately contributing to the overall success of your business.

When is APQP necessary?

An image illustrating the process of Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP), which is a methodology used in the automotive industry to ensure quality and reliability of products. This image helps to understand what is apqp in manufacturing.

APQP is necessary when initiating the development of a new product or when making significant modifications to an existing product. Implementing advanced product quality planning checklist at the start of any product development process ensures that the product complies with customer requirements and industry standards.

Furthermore, APQP is essential for revising product or process changes after release to guarantee that the changes adhere to customer requirements and industry standards.

Understanding APQP Definition and Purpose

What does APQP stand for? What is advanced product quality planning? A diagram showing the relationship between Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) and Product Quality Planning

APQP meaning - Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) is a systematic approach to product quality planning, which focuses on understanding customer requirements by asking questions and assessing risks throughout the product development processes. APQP is part of the 5 Core Tools for quality management, which also include FMEA, MSA, and SPC.

By following a structured method and employing cross-functional teams, APQP ensures that products are designed and manufactured with quality and customer satisfaction in mind.

The Role of APQP in Quality Control

APQP plays a crucial role in quality control by providing a structured framework for product and process design. One of the key components of APQP is the Product Part Approval Process (PPAP), which serves as a proof of evidence that the product development process has been successfully executed and meets customer requirements. By incorporating other product development processes such as Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA), Process Flow Charts (PFC) or Process Flow Diagrams (PFD), Statistical Process Control (SPC), Part Submission Warrant (PSW), APQP ensures that production processes are capable of delivering satisfactory product quality and ongoing manufacturing process improvements.

Comprehensive control plans are essential for guaranteeing that customer specifications are adhered to and potential risks are minimized. Through the implementation of APQP, companies can achieve greater quality control, resulting in increased customer satisfaction and a more efficient product design and development process.

Benefits of Implementing APQP

Implementing APQP offers several benefits, including improved communication between suppliers, consumers, and vendors, reduced potential risks, and increased customer satisfaction. By providing a structured process for design and development, APQP enables better communication between stakeholders, resulting in a more efficient design process.

This ultimately leads to the identification of customer needs and ensures that resources are allocated to meet those needs, fostering greater quality control and increased customer satisfaction.

APQP Process Overview: Five Key Phases

A diagram showing the five key phases of the process and APQP steps

The APQP process steps consists of five sequential phases, each with specific inputs, outputs, and cross-functional team involvement. These APQP phases include Planning and Defining Program, Product Design and Development, Process Design and Development, Product and Process Validation, Feedback, Assessment, and Continuous Improvement.

By following these phases, companies can ensure a successful product development process that meets customer requirements and expectations.

Phase 1: Planning and Defining Program

Phase 1 of the APQP process involves understanding customer requirements and expectations, setting the foundation for the entire APQP process. During this phase, the core team examines the concept design, process and product assumptions, overall objectives of the project, and prior failures.

By recognizing risks early in the planning phase and devising and executing remediation actions, the likelihood of project success is increased.

Phase 2: Product Design and Development

Phase 2 of APQP focuses on product design and development, verifying design viability and adhering to customer specifications. Ensuring design feasibility and customer requirements during this phase is essential to guarantee that the product complies with the customer's expectations and requirements.

This phase sets the stage for a successful and quality-driven product development process, taking into account potential design failure mode considerations and establishing quality goals preliminary bill.

Phase 3: Process Design and Development

Phase 3 of the APQP process deals with process design and development, validating the manufacturing capability and incorporating measurement systems analysis to ensure the accuracy of measurement methods. By creating a competent management system during this phase, companies can ensure that customer requirements and expectations are fulfilled.

This phase is crucial for the overall success of the product development process and the achievement of quality goals.

Phase 4: Product and Process Validation

Phase 4 of the APQP process involves product and process validation, ensuring that the manufacturing process and final product meet customer requirements. In this phase, companies verify the process capability and reliability of the process and product quality acceptance criteria, conduct production trial runs, and assess product output to affirm the efficiency of the implemented manufacturing approach. Process quality control plays a crucial role in achieving these objectives.

The validation process is a critical step in ensuring the quality and consistency of the final product.

Phase 5: Feedback, Assessment, and Continuous Improvement

Phase 5 of the APQP process focuses on feedback, assessment, and continuous improvement, closing the loop and ensuring ongoing quality management. By obtaining feedback, evaluating, and continuously improving the product and processes, companies can maintain a high level of quality throughout the product lifecycle.

This final phase of APQP is essential for ensuring sustained product quality and customer satisfaction.

The Role of Cross-Functional Teams in APQP

Cross-functional teams play a vital role in APQP, bringing together diverse expertise and perspectives to ensure a successful product development process. Comprising members from various departments, backgrounds, and experiences, cross-functional teams contribute to the overall success of the APQP process by fostering collaboration and improving communication between stakeholders.

Their involvement is essential for constructing a successful APQP process and overcoming challenges in cross-functional collaboration.

Building a Successful Cross-Functional Team

Building a successful cross-functional team involves selecting the right members, fostering open communication, and promoting collaboration. By assembling a diverse team and ensuring that each team member possesses the required skills and knowledge to accomplish the project, organizations can maximize their chances of business success.

Open communication, regular meetings, and feedback are essential components for fostering a culture of collaboration and trust within the team. This helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that all team members are working together towards a common goal.

Challenges and Solutions in Cross-Functional Collaboration

Challenges in cross-functional collaboration, such as discrepancies in roles, priorities, communication, and objectives, can be addressed through clear communication, effective leadership, and a shared understanding of goals and objectives. Establishing a culture of inclusion and proactive communication can assist in overcoming these difficulties, ensuring a smooth and successful product development process.

This collaborative approach is key to achieving the full potential of APQP in product development and quality management.

APQP, PPAP, and Core Tools: Understanding the Connections

APQP, PPAP, and Core Tools are interconnected, with PPAP serving as the proof of evidence collected through APQP, and Core Tools providing essential methodologies for effective quality management. The Core Tools, which include APQP, FMEA, MSA, and SPC, are the foundation of an efficient quality management system in manufacturing.

Understanding the connections between these components can help companies streamline their product development process and ensure that products meet customer requirements and industry standards.

The Role of PPAP in APQP

PPAP is an integral part of APQP, as it demonstrates that the product development process has been successfully completed and meets customer requirements. By reviewing 18 requirements such as design records, authorized engineering changes, engineering approval, and more, PPAP ensures that suppliers are capable of producing quality products that meet customer specifications.

The successful implementation of PPAP is vital in ensuring the overall success of the APQP process and maintaining customer satisfaction.

Core Tools for Effective Quality Management

Core Tools, including APQP, are essential for effective quality management, providing a structured approach to product development and risk mitigation. By employing other Core Tools (APQP, PPAP, FMEA, MSA, and SPC), companies can establish a robust quality management system that ensures the production of high-quality products that meet customer requirements and industry standards.

These tools are instrumental in streamlining the product development process and achieving greater quality control, all while bringing a design engineer's vision to life.

Who maintains the APQP standard?

A diagram showing the benefits of digitizing the APQP process

The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) and International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) maintain the APQP standard, with over 4,000 members including automotive giants and OEMs from other sectors. As the organization responsible for upholding the APQP standard, AIAG plays a crucial role in ensuring that product quality planning processes are consistent and effective. Ultimately, this contributes to the overall success of the manufacturing industry.

Digitizing the APQP Process: Benefits and Challenges

Digitizing with APQP offers benefits such as streamlined workflows, time savings, and valuable insights, but also presents challenges that must be overcome for successful digital transformation.

By adopting digital tools and methodologies, companies can optimize their product development process, improve communication between stakeholders, and more effectively manage risks and quality control.

Streamlining the Process with Digital Tools

Digital tools, such as Model-Based Definition (MBD) and ISO Quality Information Framework (QIF), can help streamline the APQP process capability can improve efficiency. These tools offer specialized features tailored specifically for APQP processes, automate manual tasks, reduce errors, and provide a platform for collaboration, data sharing, and project management.

By leveraging these digital tools, companies can enhance their product development process and achieve greater efficiency and quality control.

Overcoming Common Challenges in Digital Transformation

Common challenges in digital transformation, such as resistance to change and data security concerns, can be addressed through effective communication, training, and robust security measures. By communicating the advantages of digital transformation, providing instruction and assistance to personnel, and establishing an atmosphere of innovation, organizations can overcome resistance to change and successfully transition to a digital APQP process.

Additionally, implementing strong security measures, such as encryption, authentication, and access control, can ensure data security and alleviate concerns during the digital transformation process.


In conclusion, Advanced Product Quality Planning is an essential tool for managing product quality and mitigating risks in the product development process. By implementing the APQP process and leveraging cross-functional teams, companies can streamline their workflows, improve communication, and ultimately deliver high-quality products that meet customer requirements and industry standards. As the world continues to evolve and embrace digital transformation, the adoption of digital tools and methodologies in the APQP process will become increasingly important for maintaining a competitive edge and ensuring ongoing success in today's fast-paced, global market.

Net-Inspect offers a dedicated APQP solution integrated within its broader Supply Chain and Quality Management Solution. Companies, both large and small, utilize Net-Inspect's APQP solution to digitally track and manage all APQP/PPAP deliverables and milestones, internally, with customers, and with suppliers. Net-Inspect offers significant time savings over traditional Excel-based processes. Contact us today to learn more and schedule a detailed demonstration.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an APQP process?

Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) is a structured and systematic process for producing quality products that meet customer expectations. The APQP process focuses on understanding customer needs and incorporating feedback from the development process to ensure quality requirements are met.

What is difference between APQP and PPAP?

Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) is a process designed to ensure the successful delivery of customer requirements during product development. It involves defining and verifying quality standards, reviewing the design and test plans, and creating feedback loops for changes.

Product Part Approval Process (PPAP) is a specialized output of APQP that focuses on production components of the development cycle, such as part documentation and samples, ensuring consistent quality in each part.

You can learn more about in depth difference between APQP and PPAP.

What does APQP and PPAP mean?

APQP and PPAP are two important elements of a structured process to ensure quality throughout the product development lifecycle. APQP stands for advanced product quality planning, while PPAP stands for production part approval process.

Both of these methods help guarantee the quality of a product before it is released into the market.

What is the primary purpose of Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP)?

The main aim of APQP is to create an effective advanced quality planning system that ensures the production of products and services which meet customer requirements.

What are the five key phases of APQP?

APQP is a process consisting of five distinct phases, namely Planning, Product Design and Development, Process Design and Development, Product and Process Validation, and Feedback, Assessment, and Continuous Improvement.

Together, these phases provide an integrated framework for the development of new products and processes.