APQP software—for Advanced Product Quality Planning—prevents breakdowns in communication between the customer and supplier—to make certain suppliers meet customers’ specifications when developing and putting products into production.
This type of software originated in the auto industry as a means of building quality into products and making certain suppliers met or exceeded quality standards. APQP software now serves many industries and requires suppliers to use a standardized Production Part Approval Process (PPAP).
APQP software provides a communication channel through which customers relay information about their products’ design and specifications to their suppliers. The suppliers in turn review the design and specifications and determine the most appropriate manufacturing processes available to them for producing the product so that it meets or exceeds the customer’s requirements.
In the course of product development the APQP software can be used to discover potential risks in the product design and to find ways to remove the risks and improve the product within the specifications and quality standards.
APQP software sets the parameters for a communication process between the customer and supplier. This keeps all departments involved in the process informed, eliminates confusion and saves time and money.
Through the software the manufacturer involved must show proof that they have evaluated risks in the design and that they have determined that they have the capability and processes for manufacturing the part in the quantities needed and to the specifications provided.
Because it promotes communication, APQP software assures that all departments involved in the process work together as a team throughout the product design and development process to the point that the product has been approved for production. Without APQP software, departments often work independently on their part of the overall process, not staying involved once their part is complete. APQP software, however, keeps all departments in the loop throughout the process so they can remain involved in solving problems and contributing to the overall quality improvement of the product.
As it bridges the gap between the supplier and customer, APQP software provides for a continuous opportunity throughout the process to assure that quality is built into each and every product.