Defining The Advanced Product Quality Planning Information Technology Essay

Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) is a structured metho

The quality performance is the foundation stone of all types of industries. The growth of an industry depends on its performance quality. So checking out of the performance quality of an industry is something which is inevitable. SIX SIGMA – The statistical representation, is a process of quality measurement, which helps the organization in the improvement of their quality.

Six Sigma is a systematical process of “quality improvement through the disciplined data-analyzing approach, and by improving the organizational process by eliminating the defects or the obstacles which prevents the organizations to reach the perfection”.

Six sigma points out the total number of the defects that has come across in an organizational performance. Any type of defects, apart from the customer specification, is considered as the defect, according to Six Sigma. With the help of the statistical representation of the Six Sigma, it is easy to find out how a process is performing on quantitatively aspects. A Defect according to Six Sigma is nonconformity of the product or the service of an organization.

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Since the fundamental aim of the Six Sigma is the application of the improvement on the specified process, through a measurement-based strategy, Six Sigma is considered as a registered service mark or the trade mark. Six Sigma has its own rules and methodologies to be applied. In order to achieve this service mark, the process should not produce defects more than 3.4. These numbers of defects are considered as “the rate of the defects in a process should not exceed beyond the rate 3.4 per million opportunities”. Through the Six Sigma calculation the number of defects can be calculated. For this there is a sigma calculator, which helps in the calculation.

Defination of Six Sigma:

Six Sigma stands for Six Standard Deviations (Sigma is the Greek letter used to represent standard deviation in statistics) from mean. Six Sigma methodology provides the techniques and tools to improve the capability and reduce the defects in any process.

A process with “Six Sigma” capability means having 12 standard deviations of process output between the upper & lower specification limits. Essentially, process variation is reduced so that no more than 3.4 parts per million fall outside of the specifications limits. The higher the sigma number, the better.

The “Six Sigma” term also refers to a philosophy, goal and/or methodology utilized to drive out waste and improve the quality, cost and time performance of any business. Six Sigma implementation is achieved through a series of successful projects. Process improvements and variation reduction are achieved through application of Six Sigma improvement projects, which in turn, are executed following either the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) or DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify) methodologies. Black Belts & Green Belts are the key players in execution of Six Sigma improvement projects.

History of six Sigma:

Six Sigma originated as a set of practices designed to improve manufacturing processes and eliminate defects, but its application was subsequently extended to other types of business processes as well. In Six Sigma, a defect is defined as any process output that does not meet customer specifications, or that could lead to creating an output that does not meet customer specifications.

Bill Smith first formulated the particulars of the methodology at Motorola in 1986. Six Sigma was heavily inspired by six preceding decades of quality improvement methodologies such as quality control, TQM, and Zero Defects, based on the work of pioneers such as Shewhart, Deming, Juran, Ishikawa, Taguchi and others.

Like its predecessors, Six Sigma doctrine asserts that:

Continuous efforts to achieve stable and predictable process results (i.e., reduce process variation) are of vital importance to business success.

Manufacturing and business processes have characteristics that can be measured, analyzed, improved and controlled.

Achieving sustained quality improvement requires commitment from the entire organization, particularly from top-level management.

Features that set Six Sigma apart from previous quality improvement initiatives include:

A clear focus on achieving measurable and quantifiable financial returns from any Six Sigma project.

An increased emphasis on strong and passionate management leadership and support.

A special infrastructure of “Champions,” “Master Black Belts,” “Black Belts,” “Yellow Belts”, etc. to lead and implement the Six Sigma approach.

A clear commitment to making decisions on the basis of verifiable data, rather than assumptions and guesswork.

The term “Six Sigma” comes from a field of statistics known as process capability studies. Originally, it referred to the ability of manufacturing processes to produce a very high proportion of output within specification. Processes that operate with “six sigma quality” over the short term are assumed to produce long-term defect levels below 3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO). Six Sigma’s implicit goal is to improve all processes to that level of quality or better.

Six Sigma is a registered service mark and trademark of Motorola Inc. As of 2006[update] Motorola reported over US$17 billion in savings from Six Sigma.

Other early adopters of Six Sigma who achieved well-publicized success include Honeywell (previously known as AlliedSignal) and General Electric, where Jack Welch introduced the method. By the late 1990s, about two-thirds of the Fortune 500 organizations had begun Six Sigma initiatives with the aim of reducing costs and improving quality.

Six Sigma central concepts

First and simply, Six Sigma is a quality improvement methodology.

Six Sigma has also become a generic ‘brand’ for a set of concepts that many organizations have used, and continue to use, to improve quality, and to provide quality and performance improvement services and training.

In this respect Six Sigma has captured corporate imagination. Six Sigma is an immensely popular vehicle for initiating and supporting the process of organizational change. Six Sigma has become an industry in its own right. See the names of some of the major US organizations that have adopted Six Sigma in recent times.

Six Sigma is a very flexible concept: to an statistical engineer Six Sigma might be a production quality metric; to a customer service employee, or a CEO, Six Sigma can represent a corporate culture.

The expression Six Sigma was first used in the context of quality improvement by American Motorola engineers in the mid 1980’s.

Initially within Motorola Six Sigma was purely a quality metric that was used to reduce defects in the production of electronic components.

Six Sigma is therefore a methodology which requires and encourages team leaders and teams to take responsibility for implementing the Six Sigma processes. Significantly these people need to be trained in Six Sigma’s methods – especially the use of the measurement and improvement tools, and in communications and relationship skills, necessary to involve and serve the needs of the internal and external customers and suppliers that form the critical processes of the organization’s delivery chains.

Training is therefore also an essential element of the Six Sigma methodology, and lots of it. Consistent with the sexy pseudo-Japanese ‘Six Sigma’ name (Sigma is in fact Greek, for the letter ‘s’, and a long-standing symbol for a unit of statistical variation measurement), Six Sigma terminology employs sexy names for other elements within the model, for example ‘Black Belts’ and ‘Green Belts’, which denote people with different levels of expertise (and to an extent qualifications), and different responsibilities, for implementing Six Sigma methods.

Six Sigma teams and notably Six Sigma team leaders (‘Black Belts’) use a vast array of tools at each stage of Six Sigma implementation to define, measure, analyse and control variation in process quality, and to manage people, teams and communications.

When an organization decides to implement Six Sigma, first the executive team has to decide the strategy – which might typically be termed an improvement initiative, and this base strategy should focus on the essential processes necessary to meet customer expectations.

This could amount to twenty or thirty business process. At the top level these are the main processes that enable the organization to add value to goods and services and supply them to customers. Implicit within this is an understanding of what the customers – internal and external – actually want and need.


Six Sigma projects follow two project methodologies inspired by Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle. These methodologies, comprising five phases each, bear the acronyms DMAIC and DMADV.

DMAIC is used for projects aimed at improving an existing business process.

DMADV is used for projects aimed at creating new product or process designs.


The DMAIC project methodology has five phases:

Define the problem, the voice of the customer, and the project goals, specifically.

Measure key aspects of the current process and collect relevant data.

Analyze the data to investigate and verify cause-and-effect relationships. Determine what the relationships are, and attempt to ensure that all factors have been considered. Seek out root cause of the defect under investigation.

Improve or optimize the current process based upon data analysis using techniques such as design of experiments, poka yoke or mistake proofing, and standard work to create a new, future state process. Set up pilot runs to establish process capability.

Control the future state process to ensure that any deviations from target are corrected before they result in defects. Control systems are implemented such as statistical process control, production boards, and visual workplaces and the process is continuously monitored.


The DMADV project methodology, also known as DFSS (“Design For Six Sigma”),

features five phases:

Define design goals that are consistent with customer demands and the enterprise strategy.

Measure and identify CTQs (characteristics that are Critical To Quality), product capabilities, production process capability, and risks.

Analyze to develop and design alternatives, create a high-level design and evaluate design capability to select the best design.

Design details, optimize the design, and plan for design verification. This phase may require simulations.

Verify the design, set up pilot runs, implement the production process and hand it over to the process owner(s).

In order to attain the fundamental objectives of Six Sigma, there are Six Sigma methodologies to be implemented. This is done through the application of Six Sigma improvement projects, which is accomplished through the two Six Sigma sub-methodologies. Under the improvement projects came the identification, selection and ranking things according to the importance. The major two sub-divisions of the improvement projects are the Six Sigma DMAIC and the Six Sigma DMADV. These sub-divisions are considered as the processes and the execution of these processes are done through three certifications. The three types of certifications used for the execution of the Six Sigma DMAIC and Six sigma DMADV are:

“Six Sigma Green Belts and Six Sigma Black Belts, which is overseen by Six Sigma Master Black Belts”.

Six Sigma Methodology :

It contains the principles which define Six Sigma as it stands. Understanding these principles can prove to make life very difficult for everyone involved, no matter how serious or trivial the matter may seem at first. If you take the time in your Six Sigma Training to check out practical applications and examples of how Six Sigma has been used or can be used, you’ll likely find many more benefits to the process than if you had gone through the process alone, with only definitions and ideas to rely on. Instead of explaining that Six Sigma offers data analysis and measurement that can lead to better solutions for various industries, you should figure out exactly how that concept could or would work in a specific industry.

For example, in the manufacturing industry, Six Sigma Projects can be created to increase productivity and reduce the number of defects that occur. After all, this is initially what Six Sigma was created to do. However, if you want to take it up a notch, consider Six Sigma Training in relation to customer service. You could use a Six Sigma Process to figure out a better customer flow for your business, as well as a more efficient means of handling customer complaints, or returns if you operate a store.

Six Sigma Training can ultimately be applied to just about any industry out there, as long as the proper rules are set up and the right analysis is done. Obviously you wouldn’t worry about product improvement in an industry that has no product per se, and so on. When it comes to choosing Six Sigma Projects, you shouldn’t just jump right in. You need to determine the problem that you’re trying to solve, and then figure out how that problem affects your company or organization. Once you have done that, you need to determine if a data based factual analysis would help to derive a solution to the aforementioned problem. If it would, then Six Sigma Projects are right for the job. If not, you’ll have to find another problem solving technique to use.

The great thing about the practical application of Six Sigma is that it’s never the same thing twice. Some people only use certain tools or parts of the Six Sigma Process in their process improvement projects, while others will use it by the book on a regular basis to get the most from their process improvement. It does offer a structured answer to process improvement, but it is still flexible enough to be what you need it to be.

Quality management tools and methods used in Six Sigma

Within the individual phases of a DMAIC or DMADV project, Six Sigma utilizes many established quality-management tools that are also used outside of Six Sigma. The following table shows an overview of the main methods used.

5 Whys

Analysis of variance


Axiomatic design

Business Process Mapping

Catapult exercise on variability

Cause & effects diagram (also known as fishbone or Ishikawa diagram)

Chi-square test of independence and fits

Control chart


Cost-benefit analysis

CTQ tree

Quantitative marketing research through use of Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) systems

Design of experiments

Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA)

General linear model



Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

Pareto chart

Pick chart

Process capability

Regression analysis

Root cause analysis

Run charts

SIPOC analysis (Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, Customers)


Taguchi methods

Taguchi Loss Function


The Six Sigma ensures the quality control, total quality management and zero defects. Through the implementation of the Six Sigma it is made sure that the goals are set on the improvement of all processes to reach the level of better quality. “The Six Sigma” shows the organization’s ability of highly capable processing in producing the outputs within the limited specifications. Therefore it can be said that the processes that operates with the Six Sigma quality, is able to produce a quality products at a low rate of defects.When a process attains the certification of Six Sigma quality, it is clear that the organization has attained the standard deviations form the means of the production till the specific limitations, and so can make sure that there is no room for the items to fail to meet the specifications. Altogether we can consider the Six Sigma as the professionalizing of the quality management functions

Symbol used for six sigma ()

Six Sigma is a business management strategy originally developed by Motorola, USA in 1981 As of 2010[update], it enjoys widespread application in many sectors of industry, although its application is not without controversy.

Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. It uses a set of quality management methods, including statistical methods, and creates a special infrastructure of people within the organization (“Black Belts”, “Green Belts”, etc.) who are experts in these methods. Each Six Sigma project carried out within an organization follows a defined sequence of steps and has quantified targets. These targets can be financial (cost reduction or profit increase) or whatever is critical to the customer of that process (cycle time, safety, delivery, etc.).

Sigma levels

A control chart depicting a process that experienced a 1.5 sigma drift in the process mean toward the upper specification limit starting at midnight. Control charts are used to maintain 6 sigma quality by signaling when quality professionals should investigate a process to find and eliminate special-cause variation

To increase your organization’s process-sigma level, you must decrease the amount of variation that occurs. Having less variation gives you the following benefits:

• Greater predictability in the process.

• Less waste and rework, which lowers costs.

• Products and services that perform better and last longer.

• Happier customers who value you as a supplier.

The simple example below illustrates the concept of Six Sigma. Note that the amount of data in this example is limited, but it serves to describe the concept adequately. Two companies deliver pizza to your house. You want to determine which one can better meet your needs.

You always want your pizza delivered at 6 p.m. but are willing to tolerate a delivery anytime between 5:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. In this example, the target is 6 p.m. and the customer specifications are 5:45 p.m. on the low sideand 6:15 p.m. on the high side.

There are several areas in which Lean Six Sigma can be applied to manufacturing operations. Some examples are:

a) Reduce quality defects (scrap/rework) in manufacturing processes.

b) Reduce manufacturing cycle time (time of order to delivery)

c) Improve employee efficiency (productivity)

d) Reduce finished goods inventory levels

e) Improve customer service performance scores

f) Reduce cost of manufacturing & assembly (supplier component costs)

g) Reduce maintenance costs (better processes)

h) Reduce warranty costs for products

i) Improve customer satisfaction scores

j) Reduce the cost of non quality

k) Reduce non-value added activities (manufacturing steps)

l) Improve equipment utilization (improve throughput)

m) Reduce work-in-process inventories between processes

n) Improve inspection procedures (sampling techniques)

o) Reduce time to meet customer requirements

p) Reduce time to develop new products (manufacturing related)

q) Improve workplace organization

r) Improve process stability / control

s) Reduce variation in manufacturing quality

t) Standardize workplace

u) Deploy process flow concepts

v) Improve employee engagement scores

w) Improve product performance by controlling critical features

x) Improve planning & forecasting of demand (supply chain issues)

y) Reduce the amount of obsolete inventory

z) Improve related transactional processes: accounting, human resources, purchasing etc.

Some of these projects are more suited for Six Sigma type projects, others are Lean type projects / processes, and some may require both Lean and Six Sigma toolkits.

To understand the applications of Six Sigma in companies that carry out projects, let us take example of construction industry:

In construction industry, Six Sigma usage can be understood with following points:

Recurring problems exist at each stage of construction. When I say recurring, it means recurring for the company (may not be recurring for individual projects)

If you study a construction project, it comprises of large number of individual processes ranging from soil testing to landscaping to structural designs to foundations, superstructure, interiors and exteriors. There are a whole lot of purchase and logistic processes as well.

A good number of these processes are common to all projects. If processes and their linkages were robust many of the individual problems would not occur at the first place. The remaining can be reduced.

The idea in Six Sigma is about making the processes robust ( so that the results are right the first time, every time)

Not all processes are equally important. Processes that matter are those that relate closely to pain areas (for customers/ management). These processes need improvement.

In each project, individual project managers, site engineers face a whole lot of problems that they solve. These problems do get solved in the project (after they have caused a delay or cost in the specific project). Normally there is no mechanism to aggregate learning from the experiences of these managers and use it for process improvement. Also companies do not have structured mechanism to use tried and tested techniques to eliminate or reduce such issues in future projects.

To be able to study and improve management systems one needs a structured improvement approach provided by Six Sigma

Six Sigma provides tried and tested techniques for a team based approach which converts each problem area into an individual “improvement project”

When processes improve, there is a reduction in problems and defects.

Primary defects in construction industry (and most of the project driven industries) are DELAY, REWORK and COST OVERRUNS and Six Sigma can be used to reduce any of these defects.

Examples of Six Sigma implementation in Finance and Banking

Common Six Sigma projects identified in Finance and Banking are listed below.

Improving customer feedback and response processes

Reducing documentation errors

Improving the reconciliation processes.

Reducing response delays.

Reducing or eliminating invoicing errors

Eliminating the possibility of erroneous data entry

Reducing audit non conformities.

Reducing salary issue turn around time

Control spending over time

Reduce electronic financial transaction costs.

Reducing complaints.

Enhancing (internal or external) customer satisfaction

Example Lean Six Sigma Projects in IT

Lean and Six Sigma can be used in IT in several areas:

a) Improve quality (bug-free) of the IT product/service.

b) Reduce the cost of service (minimize non-value added costs)

c) Improve utilization of servers and other hardware resources

d) Reduce the time to deliver products & services (project management)

e) Improve workplace organization (including emails etc)

f) Improve employee productivity

g) Improve customer satisfaction scores

h) Ensure products are robust to customer usage

i) Improve sales & marketing activities

j) Reduce setup times for product features

Six sigma and quality management glossary

Many of these terms are very specifically related to Six Sigma. Others are used in a general ‘quality management’ context and also in Six Sigma. As already explained, Six Sigma tends to embrace many other methodologies. A few of these terms are quite technical since they occur in the statistical, engineering and mathematical aspects of Six Sigma. The more complex mathematical terms and acronyms are included in this glossary not to provide detailed explanations, but instead to enable initial recognition and a basis for further investigation, if you are so inclined. This small glossary is not exhaustive because it would take about ten years to compile an exhaustive Six Sigma and Quality Management glossary. This is just a few highlights, some points of clarification, words of warning, items of mild amusement, and terms of special note. The really obvious STBO terms have not been included. If you need a more detailed listing try the one on the isixsigma website which could keep you occupied for days. If you wish to nominate an item of Six Sigma or Quality Management terminology for inclusion here – especially an amusing or intriguing example – please send to me. Despite being completely fascinating of course, Six Sigma is possibly is one of the driest subjects I’ve ever encountered and so will benefit from as much light relief as you can suggest.

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acceptance, and acceptable quality level (ACL) – Acceptance has at least two different meanings in Six Sigma terminology, so be careful to understand which one is being referred to. Firstly, acceptance relating to quality is the quality expectation of the customer, internal or external. Acceptable Quality Level (ACL) means the same basically, in more formal Six Sigma-speak, and which will frequently be expressed in terms of percentage defects. Secondly acceptance refers to the buy-in or agreement of people affected by proposed actions and changes, notably stakeholders. While not strictly part of the Six Sigma battery of supporting tools, I can strongly recommend Sharon Drew Morgen’s facilitative communications concepts for anyone struggling with stakeholder acceptance (and wholesale organisational change as well for that matter.)

ANOVA, ANCOVA, MANOVA, MANCOVA – Despite first impressions these are nothing to do with Russion gymnastics or ice-skating moves. ANOVA is an acronym for analysis of variance, a specialised variation calculation method concerned with comparing means and testing hypotheses, best left to engineers and mathematicians. So are the related methods, ANCOVA (analysis of covariance), MANOVA (multiple analysis of variance), and MANCOVA (multiple analysis of covariance). Unless you are an engineer or a mathematician you will almost certainly have better things to do than get to grips with this level of statistical capability. Terms such as these illustrate why we need to work in multi-disciplined teams.

balanced scorecard – A sophisticated strategic analysis and improvement methodology developed by Kaplan and Norton which in its own right can sit outside Six Sigma, but which can be included within Six Sigma methods, and in any event might be used or referenced in the context of quality and performance improvement. black noise/white noise – Technical terms relating to respectively non-random and random causes of variation.

business improvement campaign – A Motorola Six Sigma buzz-phrase, which represents a leadership initiative to improve the business’s ‘big Y’s’.

business process management – A common generic expression in its own right, but also a Six Sigma term for the initial strategic element of Six Sigma. Six Sigma’s strategic first phase is designed to develop management’s commitment to Six Sigma, and also management’s active participation in the Six Sigma process (which suggests why a powerful brand name for the initiative, ie., Six Sigma, is helpful..).

cause-effect diagram – Also known as the fishbone diagram, this is a generally used tool for mapping and analysing causal factors towards an end output, so that contributing factors (and weaknesses can be more easily identified). Used especially in Six Sigma as a team brainstorming analysis tool. Called a fishbone diagram because the diagram plots contributing factors along parallel diagonal lines which each join a central horizontal time-line (like the back-bone) which culminates at one end with the main issue or question.

CTQ – Critical To Quality – An element within a process that has a major influence on the process quality, and typically the quality of a critical process, or it would be unlikely to be receiving Six Sigma attention.

defect – A vital and generic Six Sigma term for any failure in meeting customer expectation (internal and external customers) – any failure within the delivery process.

DFSS – Commonly used abbreviation in Six Sigma activities and communications, it means Design For Six Sigma, and describes the method of using tools, training, measurements, and verification so that products and processes are designed at the outset to meet Six Sigma requirements. A more specific version is DMADV: Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify

frequency distribution/frequency distribution analysis or checksheet – Frequency distribution and the checksheets and other frequency distribution measurement tools form an essential aspect of Six Sigma data analysis. Identifying frequency of variation in processes is central to Six Sigma, since customers are particularly sensitive to variation, arguably even more than isolated failures.

green belt – A Six Sigma team member who has received Green Belt training and who works part-time on Six Sigma projects under the guidance of a Black belt team leader.

just in time (JIT) – Just In Time, commonly abbreviated to JIT, describes operational or production methods based on minimising stock levels, the aim of which is to reduce capital employed in stock, which also has knock-on benefits to reducing storage space, decreasing dependence on logistics, easier supply chain management, and better overall quality. Just In Time is actually a capability arising from improvements within a business operation, rather than a cause of improvement itself.

master black belt – A highly qualified Six Sigma practitioner, typically concerned with overseeing Six Sigma activities from an organizational perspective.

materials requirements planning (MRP) – production quality management methodology focusing on planning stock (materials and components of all sorts) levels and availability according to production schedules.

pareto principle, pareto diagram, pareto analysis – The Pareto Principle is otherwise and more commonly known as the 80:20 rule. The Pareto Principle was named after its originator Vilfredo Pareto, (1848-1923) an Italian economist and professor of political economics at Lausanne University, who first discovered the 80:20 ‘rule’ of ‘predictable imbalance’, that (as far as Six Sigma is concerned) provides a basis for focusing on the 20% of activities that generate 80% of results, or the 20% of failures that are responsible for 80% of the waste, etc. Pareto first made his discovery while analysing wealth distribution among the British, in 1897.


Hence the fundamental aim of the Six Sigma is the application of the improvement on the specified process, through a measurement-based strategy, Six Sigma is considered as a registered service mark or the trade mark. . Six Sigma has its own rules and methodologies to be applied. . Also six sigma ,the statistical representat


d for defining and executing the actions necessary to ensure a product satisfies the customer along with cost and time. APQP is required of all vehicle, system, subsystem and component manufacturing locations.

1.2 Goal

The goal of APQP is to facilitate communication with all persons involved in a programme and ensure that all required steps are completed on time, at acceptable cost and quality levels.

1.3 Purpose

The purpose of this guideline is to establish:

Common APQP expectations for all M&M activities.

Common APQP process metrics.

Common APQP deliverables.

A common programme status-reporting format.

Lead and Support roles and responsibilities for each APQP Element.

1.4 Approach

APQP emphasise on Up-front planning, First three part of the P-D-C-A cycle are devoted to up-front product quality planning through product / Process Validation. The Act of implementation, the fourth part is the stage where the importance of evaluating the output serves two functions; to determine if customers are satisfied, and to support the pursuit of continuous improvement.

This guideline focuses on 23 key APQP elements. Definitions, expectations, and deliverables for these elements are identified in Section 5.0 APQP Element Description of this guideline. The status for these disciplines is summarized on the APQP Status Report. This guideline provides a management tool for follow-up and timely completion of all 23 APQP Elements.

1.5 Applicability

APQP status reporting is a requirement of all M&M activities and must be applied to the following:

New Product launch/ relaunch.

Changed/ modified product launch.

Launch of a new manufacturing site.

Significant process changes (new facilities/ toolings).

High impact suppliers.

Carry over issues.

Part Submission Warrant (PSW) requirement as per the MQS Mahindra Production Part Approval Process Manual.

2.0 APQP Fundamentals

2.1 Teams

The first step in the Advanced Product Quality Planning Process is to assign lead responsibility for every APQP Element. This leader establishes a cross-functional team to complete the element requirements on time. Effective Product Quality Planning requires a cross-functional team including representatives from Product Development, Manufacturing Engineering, Manufacturing Plants, Purchasing, Quality, Field Service, Sales, Suppliers, and Customers, as appropriate.

2.2 Elements

This guideline focuses on 23 Key APQP disciplines, identified as APQP elements. These elements, when summarized and reported, communicate the quality planning status of a programme.

2.3 Adjustments

If the programme is considered to be low risk, the APQP leader may skip certain APQP elements. For example, if the product is carry-over with minor changes, existing control plans can be used and/ or packaging evaluations may not be required. The cross-functional team must agree to all deviations from the APQP process. If the team agrees that an element is not required, the function should write “N/A” for “not applicable” in the remarks section of the APQP Status Report (Annexure 1).

2.4 Roles & Responsibilities

The APQP Lead/Support Responsibilities are documented in Section 5.0 APQP Element Description, of this guideline.

2.5 APQP Elements in MPDS

The alignment of APQP elements is done using the timing plan of the Mahindra Product Development System (MPDS).

2.6 APQP Process Flow

Figure 2 shows the generic APQP Process Flow

Figure 1


MPDS Gateways

SI : Strategic Intent

SC : Strategic Confirmation

PA : Programme Approval

VV: Virtual Validation

PC : Programme Confirmation

PR : Product Readiness

PP : Production Prove-out

SO : Sign Off

LR : Launch Readiness

J1 : Job 1

FS : Final Status


J 1










Figure 2 : Generic Process Flow – APQP




Risk Assessment Y/R




APQP Status G/Y/R

Major Review Meeting including APQP Assessment Results

Start APQP Reporting

Initiate APQP Process


establishes cross-functional team

Criteria for APQP


3.0 The APQP Status Report

3.1 Purpose

The APQP Status Report summarises the status for the 23 APQP elements. The status report facilitates communication between Product Development, Manufacturing Engineering, Manufacturing Plants etc. It also provides a dated record that future programmes for reference.

3.2 Status Reporting Responsibility

For each of the 23 elements, there is a lead responsibility defined. This lead function obtains the necessary input/support from other affected functions and consolidates it into a G/Y/R (Green/Yellow/Red) status (per element) on the APQP status report form.(MQS/APQP/F01)

Reporting Requirements

The Project Team consolidates the APQP status report and present summary to senior management at all major Programme Reviews/ Gateways. Action plan is prepared for all Yellow & Red status.

Ratings and Assessment

4.1 G Y R Status

Green-Yellow-Red status communicates the progress toward the successful project completion of elements by the program need date. Program need date is the last possible date an element can be completed and not adversely affect quality, cost or timing of the program. The “GYR Status” column of the report shows the assessment for each element.Definitions/Risk factors for Red, Yellow, and Green are listed in the table below.






Target dates and/or elements are at risk. A recovery Action Plan is not available and/or implemented, or the Action Plan does not achieve program targets. Late on time.



Target dates and/or elements are at risk, but a recovery Action Plan has been developed to achieve program targets, and has been approved by the appropriate Project Team. Target date can be met with management support.



Target dates and elements are on track and meeting objectives.

Each element shall be supported by relevant documented evidence like reports, circular, filled format, quality documents, scanned signoff copy etc. For this purpose MQS & PQO recommends the use of appropriate softwares like Excel, Word, Power point, MS Project, etc with hyperlinks to the document.

Any item once become red will remain red & Yellow/Green will be superimposed appropriately to show latest status.

4.2 The 8 Focus Elements :

For all 23 elements, quality expectations are defined in this Guideline. Out of the 23 elements, the following 8 elements are considered as Focus Elements :

Design FMEA

Design Verification Plan

Prototype Build Control Plan

Manufacturing Process Flow Chart

Process FMEA

Pre-Launch Control Plan

Operator Process Instructions

Production Control Plan

These elements when completed with Quality and On Time lay the foundation for Programme success.

The 8 Focus Elements are assessed for Quality of Event using Focus Element Rating Checklist.

4.3 Status Report Descriptions :

Build Level : Indicates the level of Build such as Engineering Prototype, Verification Prototype, Production Trial Run, Job # 1, etc.

PIST : Percentage of Inspection points that satisfy Specified Tolerance (all points).

PIPC : Percentage of Indices which are Process Capable (Percentage of Critical & Significant Characteristics with Pp & Ppk greater than or equal to 1.67 for the pre-production phase and Cp and Cpk greater than or equal to 1.33 for production phase).

SC & CC (Special Characteristics) : All products and processes have features described by characteristics which are important and need to be controlled. However, some characteristics called special characteristics require extra efforts to minimise the risk of potential adverse consequences.

Special Characteristics consist of –

1. Critical Characteristics are those product or process requirements that affect compliance with government regulation or safe vehicle/ product function AND which require special actions/ controls.

Product or process requirements can include dimension, specification, tests, processes, assembly sequences, tooling, joints, torques, welds, attatchments, component usage etc.

Symbol :

Severity Rating : 9 or 10 for any occurrence rating.

2. Significant Characteristics are those product, process, and/ or test requirements which are important for customer satisfaction AND for which Quality Planning actions must be summarised on a Control Plan.

Symbol :

Severity Rating : 5 to 8 Occurrence Rating : 5 and above

For further details please refer Charachteristics Classification Guideline,


The 23 APQP Elements

5.0 APQP Element Description Description DescriptionThe following pages include an in-depth view of the 23 APQP elements. Each element is split into six separate areas. These areas are :

Definition – identifies the motivation behind the element.

Expectations – defines the requirements for the element.

Lead Responsibility – identifies the function responsible for lead reporting . Identifies function that all others will support in completion of the element.

Support function – identifies the support functions that will provide input to the Lead Responsibility.

Timing – Identifies the initial and final Gateway timing for the element with respect to Total Project Work Plan (TPWP).

Deliverables – indicates the items that must be completed during time frames specified for the element.


11. Sourcing Decision


Sourcing Decision is a formal customer commitment to work on a timely basis with internal and external suppliers on the programme.


The Sourcing Decision is completed and communicated to internal and external suppliers before the Programme Need Date.

The sourcing need dates for all components, systems and vehicles are established.

Lead Responsibility

Project Team/CFT for in-house sourced components / aggregates.

Material Management.(MM)

Support Functions

Supplier Upgradation

Product Development

Strategic Sourcing

Manufacturing Plant

Manufacturing Engineering


Initiate Milestone < PA >

Finalise Milestone < VV >


Establish a Timing Plan for completion of Sourcing Decisions.

Start communication with potential in-house manufacturers for “make parts” and with suppliers for “buy” parts.

Identify long -lead items (i.e. sourcing for new facilities, implementation of single sourcing strategies for Assembly Plants, etc.)

Evaluate the percent of completion for the Sourcing Decision Element at the beginning of each month between < PA> and .

Sourcing Decision for long-lead items is completed and communicated.

Open issues are identified and agreed upon by Project Team/CFT .

The Soucing Decision is completed and communicated.

22. Customers Input Requirement


The Customer Input Requirements Element is used to initiate the Quality Planning process through identification of design criteria and programme requirements.

Quality Function Deployment, (QFD) is one of the mechanisms to generate the Customer Input Requirements.


Design goals (specified through customer survey) are translated into tentative and measurable design objectives.

The Project Team/CFT must receive initial system and component designs and specifications from R&D Centre including

– Product Assumptions

Functional Performance



Reliability and Quality goals are established based on

Prior model product and process concern history

Customer wants and expectations

Programme objectives

Reliability bench-marks

The reliability and quality goals must include the following:

Useful life Reliability Targets

Warranty Targets ( R/1000)

Incoming quality targets (parts per million, defect levels, scrap rates)

Functional Targets

Note: The above targets should be supplied as appropriate to the system, subsystem, or component.

The Programme Timing Plan is established to meet the customer needs and expectations by identifying the Timing Requirements for the following:




Programme Timing Date must be communicated for the following:

Programme status reviews

APQP Plans

Design Freeze

2Prototype builds

In Plant Dates

Job #1

Affordable cost targets have been communicated for the vehicle, system, sub-system and components.

Capacity Planning volumes have been provided to the supplier (external and internal)

A list for Key Contact Personnel within M&M – the Project Owner, Project Manager, Design Leader, Manufacturing Engineering Leader, Launch Leader, MM Leader, Supplier Upgradation Leader and others as appropriate – is established. The list should include name, location, e-mail address and phone number.

Lead responsibility

Product Development

Support Functions

Manufacturing Engineering

Manufacturing Plants



Project Team/CFT

Assembly Plant assigns a Launch Manager to support all necessary activities at the Milestone and beyond. The Assembly Plant prepares a want list of preferable product and process improvements. The Wants List is prepared based on customer data and manufacturing process capabilities of current running production models. When necessary, quality, cost, and timing data shall be presented to lead activities.


Initiate Milestone

Finalise Milestone


Establish Plans to develop:

Design goals

Reliability and Quality goals

Programme Timing

Cost Targets

Capacity Planning Volume

– Key Contact Personnel

2The Programme Steering Team recognizes and supports the criteria identified in the expectations.

A manufacturing strategy is identified and available.

The preliminary Product and Business Targets are defined in sufficient detail to initiate Engineering projects at the Milestone.

The Programme Core Team is identified.

Resources are identified and committed by all affected functions.

The Total Programme Work Plan (TPWP) is developed and agreed upon by the Programme Core Team including APQP deliverables.

The manufacturing requirements (must/ wants) are available, consolidated and submitted to the Programme Core Team.

Objectives, Targets and Plans for the above desired expectations are completed, confirmed and communicated to all sources and planning activities.

The TPWP (including APQP deliverables) is signed off.

33. Design FMEA


A Design or Concept FMEA is a systematic approach (used by the design responsible team) which assures that potential design failure modes and associated causes are considered and addressed.


DFMEAs are led by Product Engineering, prepared with a cross-functional team, and follow the guidelines laid down in the MQS FMEA Manual.

DFMEAs prepare for new product features, technologies, and product development quality concerns unresolved during the previous model lifetime.

DFMEAs are essential in developing Prototype Build Control Plans and the Manufacturing P/ FMEAs.

Unanticipated failure modes encountered during design verification testing must be addressed in the D/ FMEA.

Potential Special Characteristics & are identified.

Lead Responsibility

Product Development

Support Functions

Manufacturing Engineering

Manufacturing Plants

Customer Care


Initiate Milestone

Finalize Milestone



Establish a list of Concepts, Systems, Sub-systems etc on which DFMEA needs to be conducted and write out a DFMEA Timing Plan.


Review percentage of DFMEA completion at all Milestones between and


100% of the DFMEAs are complete and all necessary actions to minimise quality risks are implemented.

Potential & are identified.

4 Design Reviews


Design Reviews are regularly scheduled meetings led by the design responsible activity and must include any affected areas, such as, Manufacturing Engineering, Plant personnel etc. The review process includes the following:

A series of verification activities that are more than engineering inspection.

An effective method to prevent problems and misunderstandings.

Provide a mechanism to monitor progress and report to the management (including the review of APQP open issues)


The Design Feasibility concerns are resolved in time to support each build In-Plant Date.

Review the progress of the Design Verification Plan and Report (DVP&R)). Unanticipated failure modes encountered during design verification testing must be addressed in the DFMEA.

Review any open APQP issues.

Review the progress toward achieving reliability, quality, cost and timing targets.

Lead Responsibility

Product Development

Support Functions

Manufacturing Engineering

Manufacturing Plants

Customer Care



Initiate Milestone

Finalize Milestone


Develop a Design Review Plan.

Define roles and responsibilities

Develop a Design Review work plan one month prior to the initial Design Review


Evaluate the progress of DVP&Rs

Review the significant and critical characteristics identified in the Engineering Specifications.

Concerns are identified at each Milestone from to

100% of the open design issues are resolved

The Project Team/CFT present the lessons learned from the Programme.

For further details please refer Design Review Guideline,


5Design Verification Plan &Report


The Design Verification Plan & Report (DVP&R) is a document listing the engineering evaluations, tests, and reports required to establish a design fit for use in the intended environment and meets the customer driven objectives and the intent with which the product / process was designed. The design verification plan has a correlation with the Customer Input Requirement.


The DVP&R is a team approach

Identification of specific tests, methods, equipment, acceptance criteria, sample sizes, design level and timing must be contained in the DVP&R.

Tests must include variation within tolerance on team selected product characteristics.

The Design Verification must include:

Test requirements for design, material, or manufacturing process that apply to the production trial.

Tests, which address for the customer usage profile and duty cycle.

Tests which address the useful life of the product.

Tests which address the effects of the external environment (climate, road surface conditions etc)

Tests which address the effects of physical interfaces between components or systems.

Lead Responsibility

Product & Reliability Engineering

Support Functions

Manufacturing Engineering

Manufacturing Plants

Customer Care

Support Functions have skilled personnel assigned to review and confirm the DVP&R results and specification settings for significant and critical characteristics.


Design Verification Plans and Reports are used for the following schedules,

Development Prototypes.

Product Validation.

Product Life Cycle.

5Design Verification Plans and Reports include the following tests

Engineering Development Tests: Performed during product design for functional development, for detecting time dependent failures.

Design Verification Tests : Performed to demonstrate that the design samples meeting production intent environmental, functional, reliability and durability requirements

Production Validation Tests: Performed to demonstrate that the design samples from the production environment meet all requirements similar to Design Verification tests and assure that no adverse variables have been introduced.

Continuous Conformance Tests: Performed on an on going basis to assure contained compliance to all Product &Process requirements.


Initial Gateway

Finalize Gateway


Develop the DVP&R and appropriate review process

The DVP&R is complete and the identified metrics enable comparison with target metrics at Engineering Prototype review.

DVP&R is updated and a draft of the Engineering specification is available as per MPDS Guideline.

The DVP&R is complete in order to support the Verification Prototype (VP) builds.

All Engineering specifications, up to and including job #1 design level are confirmed and released.

All verification and validation tests are completed.

6Subcontractor APQP Status (Tier 1 Supplier)


The Subcontractor APQP Status identifies and reports on the condition of an external Supplier or Subcontractor’s APQP process. It is required of Supplier to cascade APQP requirements to their suppliers or subcontractors and conduct APQP reviews as appropriate. The results of these reviews are summarised on the APQP Status Report.


All suppliers must assess risk and specify the level of their suppliers APQP participation.

Subcontractors that affect significant and critical characteristics must follow all APQP disciplines.

Suppliers will allocate sufficient resources to work with their subcontractors as part of the cross-functional APQP effort.

Suppliers will hold regularly scheduled APQP status reviews with their subcontractors.

Concerns are reported to the customer and action plans are developed for elements that do not meet quality, cost and timing objectives.

Lead Responsibility


Support Function

Supplier Upgradation.


Initiate Gateway

Finalize Gateway


Communicate to all relevant suppliers the expected APQP deliverables in line with Programme Need Dates (In Plant Dates).

Provide a Subcontractor APQP status at each Milestone

100% of approved PSW parts delivered before Gateway

100% of the supplier’s open issues are resolved to support on-going production

7 Facilities, Tools & Gauges


The Facilities, Tools and Gauges element identifies the new, additional, refurbished and relocated resources necessary to manufacture the customer specified product at designated quantity and quality levels.


Facilities, planning approval, drawings and utilities must be included on the Product Timing Plan and funding approval must be complete.

Machinery FMEA needs to be completed before releasing the Design Approved Print (DAP)

SPC & MSA and acceptance criteria must be team approved before sourcing of Facilities, Tools or Gauges can be approved.

Trial runs should occur at the machine builder’s location to qualify all Facilities, Tools and Gauges.

All corrective actions for Facilities, Tools and Gauges not meeting customer requirements must be completed prior to the Production Trial Run.

Facilities, Tools and Gauges must be delivered, installed and approved prior to the Production Trial Run.

Lead Responsibility

Manufacturing Engineering

Support Functions

Manufacturing Plants

Project Engineering

Asset Management


Initiate Gateway

Finalise Gateway


Establish a Manufacturing Strategy.

New Technologies are identified.

Hard points for manufacturing process facilities and complexity are established.

Long lead funding is identified for major Facilities, Tools and Gauges at the Milestone.


Tooling for the VP0 build is confirmed and available before Gateway clearance

Readiness for PP(Production Proveout) assembly is confirmed at before Gateway clearance

Facilities, Tools and Gauges are installed &listed in the Process Sheets.

Equipment safety is verified.

Concerns are resolved.

8Prototype Build Control Plan


Prototype Build Control Plan (PBCP) is a description of the control factors that will be used to manufacture and

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