Quality APQP & PPAP definitions

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Quality APQP & PPAP definitions
Car manufacturers were the first to use APQP and PPAP. (John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

In concise terms, APQP stands for Advanced Product Quality Planning. PPAP refers to Production Part Approval Process. APQP is a planning system for defining and creating the steps in a manufacturing process that ensure a product meets customer expectations. PPAP is a set of documents relating to the supply of parts for a manufacturing process. Both APQP and PPAP are quality management tools.

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APQP is part of a product's development. It allows for changes as a product takes shape. These changes could come from customer, supplier and manufacturing company feedback. An APQP process has at least five phases. These are the planning and definition of the manufacturing programme; the design of the product and its development; the outline of the manufacturing process and its evolution; confirmation that the product and process are valid; and the action that follows feedback.

APQP variations in definition

The practical use of APQP in industry has led to variations in its definition. Some companies regard APQP as a communication tool that identifies and combines 23 different elements of a manufacturing process. These elements cover issues such as setting targets, customer needs, recovery plans and cost agreements. At the same time, APQP combines the quality tools that manufacturers use to achieve each element. In this context, APQP aims to improve communications and meet customer needs.


The goal of PPAP is to ensure consistent quality. This quality applies to the manufactured parts that a supplier provides to a client. The supplier uses PPAP to understand how it must produce a part to meet manufacturing standards of design and specification. A PPAP process for a product has 18 documents. Among these are the details of materials, process and design. With these documents to hand, a supplier can assess a part's quality before passing it to the client.

The three stages of PPAP

PPAP has three stages. At the first stage, a supplier tests a part's prototype using the appropriate tools, processes and production speeds. A client tells a supplier how many prototypes to make. The second stage is the initial submission of parts from a supplier to a client. This is the point at which a client can confirm the effectiveness of a supplier's processes. The final stage confirms that a supplier's part meets all design requirements.

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