Many industrial companies require that their parts providers utilize PPAP, or the Production Part Approval Process. It is used by almost every industry that produces and services part commodities and is the standard that ensures quality and efficiency with regard to part production. This is also an effective monitor of financial prudence, as its audits include the measurement of performance, the analysis of the return on investment and the business case analysis for the production process.
In 1982 the management staff of General Motors, Chrysler and Ford Motors founded the Automotive Industry Action Group. This group then created the Advanced Product Quality Planning standards system. PPAP is a part of these standards, formalizing standard and defined step-by-step processes to provide quality parts for the end customer.
Primarily, the automotive and semiconductor industries utilize PPAP standards and processes. However, any industry that implements the International Organization for Standardization technical specification of 16949 also uses PPAP standards. ISO/TS 16949 is connected to the application of ISO 9000 standard sets, which are required for the legal international distribution of various parts.
Ultimately the PPAP being utilized is required so that the customer can expect a zero-defects part. This is accomplished by production tooling analysis prior to actual mass part production. By using the PPAP, process testing reports are generated with every product, and the customer is ensured that their expectations are met every time, even though massive orders, constant transactions and global exchange complicate the parts business.
During the phase of production for quality planning, a process flow chart is created. From this chart, a Process Failure Mode and Effects Analysis is established. A control plan is then drawn up based upon this analysis. The control plan details how processes are controlled and how any issues with noncompliance are handled. (Manufacturing process audits require control plans as a main portion of the documentation requirements.) A Gauge Repeatability and Reproducibility Analysis is then necessary. Next, a sample manufacturing run proves out the processes. The results of this run are then analyzed and documented statistically to complete the PPAP.
Training and Certification
The Automotive Industry Action Group offers accredited PPAP training. As of 2014, its overview course costs $175 for members and $225 for nonmembers. It also incorporates PPAP training in some of its Advanced Product Quality Planning courses. These courses teach documentation, parts production and quality control processes and requirements. The organization manages supply chain certification, including an APQP/PPAP credential. This requires a knowledge and application exam.
Alicia Crowder is a full-time freelance writer. Her portfolio includes work for Free Press Houston, Nevermore magazine, Public News and online content. She has published one non-fiction book and written book reviews for multiple sites. Crowder also has experience as a technical writer of construction project specifications and computer software user manuals.