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Advanced product quality planning

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."

Advanced product quality planning is a process developed in the late 1980s by a commission of experts gathered around 'Big Three' US automobile industry: Ford, GM and Chrysler. Representatives from the three automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and the Automotive Division of American Society for Quality Control (ASQC) created the Supplier Quality Requirement Task Force for developing a common understanding on topics of mutual interest within the automotive industry.

This commission invested five years to analyze the then-current automotive development and production status in the US, Europe and especially in Japan. At the time, the success of the Japanese automotive companies was starting to be remarkable in the US market.

APQP is utilized today by these three companies and some affiliates. Tier 1 suppliers are typically required to follow APQP procedures and techniques and are also typically required to be audited and registered to ISO/TS 16949. This methodology is now being used in other manufacturing sectors as well.

The basis for the make-up of a process control plan is included in the APQP manual. The APQP process is defined in the AIAG's APQP manual, which is part of a series of interrelated documents that the AIAG controls and publishes. These manuals include:

The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) is a non-profit association of automotive companies founded in 1982.

  • Up-front quality planning
  • Determining if customers are satisfied by evaluating the output and supporting continual improvement
  • Plan and Define Program
  • Product and Development Verification
  • Process and Development Verification
  • Product and Process Validation and Production Feedback
  • Launch, Assessment & Corrective Action
  • Planning
  • Product and Development
  • Process and Development
  • Product and Process Validation
  • Production
  • 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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