The Product Part Approval Process or PPAP was developed to establish a “standard method” by the Automotive Industry Action Group (IAIG) in 1993. It is a branch of the Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) process. It promotes the utilization of the common production engineering principles, requirements, forms, and terminologies for the documentation of the project from conception through full-out production.
Particularly, it was developed to give objective evidence to make sure that the supplier of the parts has made their process in compliance with the customer’s specifications and requirements. This is ultimately to eliminate or reduce the prospect of product failure.
Today the manufacturing industry is very competitive and the Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) is an important tool to ensure the trust of the customers in the components and the process of production. Controlling costs and keeping a top-level quality output is vital to achieving the company’s goals. Many of the production’s required components are being outsourced because of the rise in cost in equipment, labor, and materials. These conditions are already taking its toll on the lead time so it’s imperative that these parts arrive already compliant with the customer’s requirements.
Obstacles with PPAP
Although APQP/PPAP is an effective way to ensure the quality of parts coming in from suppliers there are a number of issues that the process inherently brings. This includes lead time cost, mismatched process flows, missed opportunity for fault detection, and documentation management. These problems become prevalent when you have many suppliers. However, there are reliable APQP software available to help ease and streamline your process. The relevant documentation can be processed, edited, and tracked electronically from a single location. These will help you eliminate or reduce clutter with printed documents and they also allow you to keep your records in a single, organized database. The app is a cost-effective way to manage multiple suppliers as well as it makes it easier for manufacturers to manage varied requirements from different customers.
Purpose and Importance of PPAP
1. Quality Control Tool For Ordered Parts
PPAP has the main benefit of reporting to the customers that the process prevents unapproved parts to be used or distributed in the production. It also makes it easy for customers to identify issues early on, which can be addressed immediately. This ultimately reduces cost and save time with early detection. It also helps suppliers build the customer’s confidence and gain their trust, thus improve their relationship. They can maintain their integrity as well as help their customers in reviewing and making alterations in the process effectively.
2. Documentation of Specifications
The report also serves as proof or evidence that the suppliers or manufacturers have met the standards set by the customers in their products. The documents may include the design specifications and engineering drawings that must be fulfilled by the suppliers.
3. Compliance of Suppliers’ Process
The PPAP is also important in the production process of the parts. The documents will allow the customers to assess that the subsystems and components they have received from their suppliers are compliant with the process established. This will establish trust with the supplier’s capacity in their management systems.
4. Clear Understanding
The report also serves as a confirmation from the supplier to the customer that they have understood the specifications and engineering drawing which they must comply with. It also verifies and validates that the process has the capacity to deliver parts or subsystems consistently in compliance with the design requirements. So this will confirm that the supplier can deliver the specified part consistently at the quoted rate in the negotiations.
5. Used For Negotiation
It is advisable to prepare the PPAP during the negotiation phase of the contract. Because it can be extremely difficult to address questions when production is already in full swing to reach the delivery date. PPAP reports are not always identical. The varying elements and requirements must be agreed upon by both parties – the supplier and customer. The agreed parameters will serve as agreed-upon expectations between the two parties.
It is also important to note that PPAP is an extra cost of doing business, so the process must be justified when implementing this measure. The added costs may include charging, keeping, and organizing these documents. But the value of keeping the quality of the parts coming in is vital as well as having proofs and evidence.
The importance of PPAP mainly aimed at making the final output meet the standards of the customers or end-users while mitigating risk factors, particularly costs. It is a documented communication tool between two parties on how the product should be per the customer’s requirements. In today’s globalized market, the supply chain of components is in need of a clear direction and specification so as to avoid costs ensuing a product failure.
Interesting related article: “What is Quality Control?“