Customer satisfaction is always on the top of every business’s priority list. As someone who runs the business, It’s your job to ensure your customer is happy with your products or services. However, complex products and supply chains can potentially present possibilities for failure, especially when launching a new product.
Fortunately, there’s a solution to these issues: Advanced Product Quality Planning – better known by its abbreviation, APQP. This article will talk about Advanced Product Quality Planning and why it’s essential. That way, you will know why it’s important to incorporate one for your business.
What is APQP?
Advanced Product Quality Planning is a framework that provides a structured approach for developing and launching new products. The main goal of APQP is to ensure that the product meets the customer’s expectations in terms of quality. In turn, it provides customer satisfaction with new processes or products.
APQP has been in practice for decades, initially referred to as Advanced Quality Planning (AQP). Most progressive companies use APQP to ensure quality and performance through keen and systematic planning. Most household companies use the Advanced Product Quality Planning handbook for product development.
The primary goal of APQP is to facilitate the production of a new product that meets or exceeds the customer’s expectations. The process begins with identifying the customer’s needs and ends with feedback from the customer after receiving the product to achieve this goal.
APQP also supports early identification of change, both incidental and intentional. These fundamental changes can result in exciting innovation supporting customer satisfaction and business success. If you don’t manage your APQP correctly, it can translate to the opposite of your goal: product failure and customer dissatisfaction.
Why Implement APQP?
Advanced Product Quality Planning benefits both businesses and customers. We’ve already talked about how it can result in customer satisfaction, but there are other benefits.
Synchronized Quality Standards
One of the most essential benefits is establishing a common language for quality across the organization – from engineers to production workers. This way, everyone is on the same page regarding quality assurance. Additionally, it provides a framework for measuring progress and quality. This is important because it allows businesses to track their progress, identify potential problems early on, and make necessary changes.
Prevent Costly Reworks
Another benefit of APQP is that it helps businesses avoid rework. Rework can be costly, not just in terms of money but also in time. Using APQP, businesses can prevent rework by identifying and addressing potential problems early on. This saves time and money and results in a better product.
Keep Up with the Competition
Last but not least, APQP helps businesses become more competitive. To stay competitive, companies need to innovate and produce new products continuously. Using APQP, businesses can ensure that their products are of the highest quality and meet customer expectations. This not only helps businesses stay competitive but also ensures customer satisfaction.
The 5 Phases of APQP
Advanced Product Quality Planning is a framework that has five phases. The five phases are as follows:
Phase I: Plan
In the planning phase, the team sets the foundations for the project by defining the objectives, scope, and schedule. Key activities during this phase include identifying customer needs, establishing quality goals, and defining the project timeline. The planning phase also includes a risk assessment to identify potential issues impacting the project’s success.
Phase II: Product Design & Development
In this phase, the team works on the product design based on the customer requirements identified in the planning phase. This phase involves creating and testing prototypes, reviewing design documents and specifications, and validating the product design. This phase aims to ensure that the product design meets customer needs and expectations.
Phase III: Process Design & Development
Once the product design is finalized, the team moves to the process design and development phase. The focus here is on defining and optimizing the manufacturing process to ensure product quality and efficiency. This phase involves the development of process flow charts, process instructions, and quality control plans, followed by process validation.
Phase IV: Product Feedback and Corrective Action
In this phase, the team conducts product and process validation tests to ensure that the product meets all quality and performance requirements. Feedback from these tests is used to make necessary corrections and improvements before full-scale production begins. This phase is critical for preventing issues that could lead to product recalls or customer dissatisfaction.
Phase V: Launch
The final phase of APQP is the product launch. In this phase, the product goes into full-scale production and is released to the market. The team continues to monitor the product’s performance and customer feedback to ensure that the product meets the quality goals established at the beginning of the project. Any issues identified post-launch are addressed through corrective actions to ensure continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.
As you can see, Advanced Product Quality Planning is a comprehensive framework covering all quality assurance aspects. Therefore, using APQP, businesses can ensure that the products they offer their customers are of the highest quality based on their company’s standards. Additionally, APQP helps businesses avoid rework, save time and money, and stay competitive.
Why is APQP Important?
As you may already know, APQP is quite a big deal in the business world. It’s important because it helps businesses produce products that meet customer expectations in terms of quality. If you’re an OEM that’s dealing with multiple suppliers and their sub-tier suppliers, APQP provides the following:
- Product conformity across the board.
- Faster product time to market.
- Elimination of customer-facing quality issues and returns.
- Reduced number of engineering changes post-launch, thus faster time to market for said changes.
- Able to hold suppliers accountable with clear expectations upfront.
- Mitigates supplier manufacturing process failures (reducing scrap/rework).
- Visibility into supplier process capability and potential improvement areas.
- Supplier performance measurement over the product life cycle.
- Compliance with customer requirements (and any regulatory agencies).
If you’re an OEM supplier, your customers are likely already mandating that you have an APQP in place—and if you don’t, they will be soon.
Manage APQP Using The DataMyte QPS Cloud
If you plan to incorporate Advanced Product Quality Planning into your business operations, it’s best to use online software to help you get things going. DataMyte’s Quality Planning Studio is a comprehensive analysis software that integrates APQP. This premiere cloud-based quality planning studio provides tools and features for planning, documentation, and controlling your overall quality requirements.
The DataMyte QPS cloud integrates the core quality tools and adheres to fundamental process flow steps. This single, integrated software tool is ideal for managing and executing your quality plan while meeting customer requirements.
Other Alternatives: DataMyte Digital Clipboard
The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is a low-code workflow automation software with a checklist and smart form builder. This tool lets you create a comprehensive APQP workflow and makes collecting data from the field easier. It also allows you to automate routine tasks, such as supplier process audit questionnaires or customer feedback surveys.
To create a checklist or form template using DATAMYTE, follow these steps:
- Log in to the DATAMYTE software and navigate to the ‘Checklist’ module.
- Click “Create Checklist.”
- Add a title to your checklist or template; select the category where it belongs.
- Start adding items to the checklist or template by clicking “Add Item.”
- Define the description of each item, what type of answer it requires, and other relevant specifications (e.g., reference documents, acceptance criteria, limits).
- Assign a team member responsible for inspecting using the checklist or template.
- Add signature fields for approvals (e.g., supervisors, quality assurance personnel).
- Save the checklist or template—you can now access it anywhere, and it will be available on any device.
DATAMYTE also lets you conduct layered process audits, a high-frequency evaluation of critical process steps, focusing on areas with the highest failure risk or non-compliance. Conducting LPA with DATAMYTE lets you effectively identify and correct potential defects before they become major quality issues.
With DATAMYTE, you have an all-in-one solution for creating and implementing Advanced Product Quality Planning. Book a demo now to learn how DATAMYTE can help you streamline your quality processes.
If you’re looking to improve the quality of your products, then Advanced Product Quality Planning is the way to go. It gives your business the edge it needs to produce products that meet customer expectations in terms of quality. Again, if you need any help getting started with your APQP, the DataMyte QPS Cloud will gladly assist you.