Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP)

With our work at Camberley Group / Cam Lock complete, we thought we’d share how we implemented Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP), in a little more detail.
Business Case:

Whilst we were preparing the client for a major customer Production Readiness Review, opportunities to improve their process for new product development were identified. Then, following successful completion of the review, our brief changed to helping the client structure, define and implement a business wide strategic plan.

The business case for improvement of the NPD process became overwhelming, as it was key to more effectively converting increased sales opportunities into revenue. This was important as significant sales growth was at the core of their strategic vision and mission.

System Development:

We proposed and agreed to implement a product development system loosely based on Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP). This is a methodology set out by the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), which includes the likes of Ford and General Motors etc.

Through time spent with project team members, product development phases and the activities needed in each phase were outlined. We developed risk assessments that would help to filter out ‘white elephants’ early on in the process, and that would automatically define the number of product development activities required depending on the level of risk. A leadership review process was also implemented to assess progress towards achievement of the activities and to provide approval to proceed with project activities.

Two key sub-processes were then defined in more detail; a Design Review process, and the Production Part Approval Process (PPAP). As these became more complete, the product development activities required were finalised and a phase based activity list compiled.

In parallel with this, we also designed 30+ document templates that were hyperlinked to the activity list. Our aim was to provide a ‘master project folder’ which could be copied and renamed for new projects, whereby the majority of the required documentation would be readily available for use by project team members.

Finally, we created a summary work instruction for the overall process, and work instructions for the Design Review and PPAP processes, before amending and withdrawing a number of Quality Management System procedures and forms. These work instructions and the associated standard documentation were given their own change management process and were assigned to the Project Management Function to own.

Benefits:

Prior to completion of the new process, a number of product development projects had been initiated as pilots. Whilst it make take some time to assess how effective the process is as a whole, the immediate feedback was very positive. Benefits already witnessed during the initial phases include; structured development of business cases for new products, and much improved communication between project team members, and between the project teams and senior management. To summarise, the decision making process during the critical early stages of product development has been enhanced, project direction and progress is clear for all to see, and actions are being taken to address both technical and commercial issues from the off.

In addition to providing an improved process to help meet their sales growth targets, the system will also help the client should they decide to upgrade their ISO9001 certification to meet the aerospace quality management systems standard AS9100. Additional requirements relating to project management, risk management, design verification and validation etc., will already be in place and demonstrable.

Transferable Process:

Whilst APQP was designed specifically for application in the automotive supply chain, the concept and outline structure can be used in any industry to develop products and services. At BizEx, we have also seen, participated in, or led variations of the process applied to major business transitions such as product transfers, business process improvement projects, IT / ERP implementations etc.

If you need a structured process for any of these things, or if you need a project manager to deliver a business transition, contact BizEx – email enquiries@bizex.ltd.uk, or call Rory on 07790 17717107790 177171