What is APQP? APQP Phases | APQP Checklist

APQPAdvanced Product Quality Planning is a structured approach that is used to design and develop the product and process to meet customer needs and expectations.

Advanced Product Quality Planning tool is extensively used by automotive industries to assure quality and performance through effective planning.

APQP is one of the important tools among the five core tools of the IATF 16949:2016 standard.

Apart from Advanced Product Quality Planning, the other automotive quality core tools are:

APQP-Advanced Product Quality Planning Objectives

Advanced Product Quality Planning objective is to :

  • Facilitate effective communication with everyone involved in the APQP process.
  • Timely Completion of all required steps.
  • No or minimal quality complaints.
  • Assure product and process quality and performance.
  • Meeting customer’s requirements, needs, and expectations.

APQP Phases | APQP Phases Input and Output

There are five phases in the APQP process :

  • Phase – 1: Plan & Define Program
  • Phase – 2: Product Design & Development
  • Phase – 3: Process Design & Development
  • Phase – 4: Product & Process Validation
  • Phase – 5: Feedback & Corrective Action

Phase – 1 : Plan & define program

The purpose of this phase is to ensure that customer’s needs and expectations are clearly understood.

In planning and defining a quality program it is essential to do all work with the end customer in mind.


  • Understand the Voice of the customer
    • Market research
    • Historical warranty & quality information
    • Team experience
  • Business plan/marketing strategy
  • Product/process Benchmark data
  • Product and process assumptions
  • Product reliability studies
  • Customer inputs-such as product identification & traceability, special quality characteristics, and packaging requirements, etc.


  • Design goals
  • Reliability & quality goals
  • Preliminary bill of material-BOM
  • Preliminary process flow chart-PFC
  • A preliminary listing of special product & process quality characteristics
  • Product Quality Assurance plan
  • Management support

Phase – 2: Product design & development

The purpose of this phase is to develop design features into nearly the final form of the product.

The NPD team or product quality planning team considers all design factors in the planning process to ensure that the final product must meet the customer’s expectations.

The design factors must be taken into consideration even if the responsibility for design is owned by the customer.


Inputs are derived from the outputs of phase – 1 (See Phase-1 outputs)


  • DFMEA – Design Failure Mode & Effects Analysis
  • DFMA or DMA – Design for Manufacturability & Assembly
  • Design Verification Plan and Report
    • Design Verification through Prototype Model
    • Design verification through Product Testing
  • Prototype control plan
  • Engineering drawings review 
  • Engineering specifications review
  • Material specifications review
  • Drawing & specification changes
  • Target setting for Productivity and Process capability
  • Gauge /testing equipment requirements
  • New tooling/equipment and facilities requirement review
  • Team feasibility commitment sign off

Phase – 3: Process Design and Development

The purpose of this phase is to develop an effective management system to assure that customer’s needs and expectations are met.

In this phase, the manufacturing system/processes, PFMEA, and control plans are developed to achieve the right quality products.


Derived from the output of phase -2  (See Phase-2 outputs)


Phase – 4: Product and Process Validation

The purpose of this phase is to validate the manufacturing process through a production trial run and to finalize the Production control plan.

During the production trial run process, the product quality planning team verify that the control plan and process flow chart are being followed strictly and assures that the manufactured products meet the customer’s requirements.


Derived from the output of phase -3  (See Phase-3 outputs)


Phase – 5: Feedback, Assessment & Corrective Action

The aim of this phase is to make continual improvements in the product and process to enhance customer satisfaction level.

The outcomes of the production trial run are evaluated in this phase to ensure that the products satisfy the customer requirements.


Derived from the output of phase – 4 (See Phase-4 outputs)


Activities includes in this phase to enhance customer satisfaction are:

  • Evaluation of Effectiveness of APQP efforts based on customer feedback.
  • Making the necessary changes to correct non-conformance/deficiencies.
  • Continuation of Customer and Supplier partnership.
  • Organization participation in problem solving and continual improvement activities.

Benefits of APQP

  • Increase customer satisfaction level.
  • Early identification of required changes.
  • Changes after product launch are avoided.
  • Variation reduction.
  • On-time delivery of quality product with competitive price.
  • Improved service performance.

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