Advanced Product-Quality Planning (APQP): Planning Quality in Advance

Predictive quality management can significantly reduce product-development costs. However, to achieve this, companies must overcome issues such as low transparency surrounding risk, or silo mentality when the departments involved have to collaborate. Advanced product-quality planning can solve these challenges.

What Is APQP?

APQP is a structured approach that combines a number of proven actions and methods for planning quality ahead of time. Originally developed in the automotive sector, today it is also used in industries such as aviation or medical technology.

APQP mainly aims to safeguard the quality of the product being made starting in its definition and development stages. The product-development process is divided into five phases. In each of them, multifunctional teams with know-how from all relevant departments (design, production, purchasing, etc.) work toward realizing key business deliverables (KBDs) in a timely manner.

Key business deliverables are instruments that companies can use to perform their advanced product-quality planning. They include design and process FMEAs or production-preparation planning (PPP), for example. Numerous KBDs may be used during the five APQP phases. Managers make a fresh decision about which KBDs are useful by assessing the product requirements before each project.

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APQP: Consolidating Knowledge, Avoiding Errors, Lowering Development Costs

Advanced product-quality planning (APQP) is a systematic methodology for planning quality ahead of time. The methodology creates a product-quality plan that you can use to develop your products faster, more cost-effectively, and more reliably. The knowledge and experience (“lessons learned”) from all relevant departments are consolidated into one pool to close off sources of errors and lower development costs. It usually does not require any elaborate implementation process. Instead, all it needs are isolated adjustments that, in our experience, pay off very quickly.

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What Benefits Does APQP Have for Your Company?

The individual phases are not performed sequentially. Rather, parts of them are deliberately done in parallel. This enables the APQP team to see all relevant perspectives right from the (pre-)design stage. For example, it can factor in requirements for a product’s industrialization. This produces a new form of transparency surrounding the consequences that could arise due to errors in the product design or process design. Based on it, there is the chance during an early phase to massively reduce risks that can negatively impact the product-development process and cause immense consequential costs.

APQP creates the basis for error-free product design and efficient production processes to match it. It enables a transformation of the collaboration between departments and across companies, as advanced product-quality planning consistently includes all product and process stakeholders through one multifunctional team. This structured form of communication leads to more-reliable products that are developed more efficiently, resulting in higher satisfaction for customers.

How Can You Use APQP in Projects?

Companies that implement advanced product-quality planning usually use proven instruments and processes and the knowledge gained from experience (their “lessons learned”). APQP does not reinvent the wheel. The challenge is to apply the approach right from the beginning of a development project without any disruption and to select the right KBDs.

We ourselves rely on a pragmatic approach when implementing APQP. Using a gap analysis, we identify the holes that need to be filled in the company before APQP can start being used. Once the necessary conditions are in place, our experienced APQP team guides the client through all phases for taking the required actions. This approach ensures safe, disruption-free, and targeted implementation.

Michael Schoppol

Dr.-Ing. Michael Schoppol

Manager Industry
Phone: +49 731 93680 229

Herbert Allisat

Herbert Allisat

Director Center of Competence, Senior Project Engineer
Phone: +1.408.402.1303

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