PPAP is the Quality System

By Wally Stegall and Jon M. Quigley

The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) has developed the Production PART Approval Process (PPAP) standard as part of advanced product quality planning (APQP).

The PPAP documentation; is thought by many as just a collection of documents and sign-off to allow a supplier to start manufacturing. That is not the case. The PPAP documents provide a demonstration of diligence from the respective areas of product development.  These documents provide evidence that Engineering, Product Evaluation (test), Production and Quality have performed necessary actions to secure the product.  The specific documents included are:


  • Part submission warrant
  • Design records and drawings
  • Engineering change documents
  • Design Failure Mode Effects Analysis (DFMEA)
  • Process flow diagram
  • Process Failure Mode Effects Analysis (PMEA)
  • Dimensional results
  • Material/performance test results
  • Initial process study
  • Measurement system assessment (MSA) studies
  • Qualified laboratory documentation
  • Prelaunch control plan
  • Appearance approval report
  • Process control plan
  • Bulk material checklist
  • Product sample
  • Checking aids (Gauge R&R)
  • Master sample
  • Customer specific requirements

The PPAP captures in its elements the evolution and change during the life of the product. PPAP has to be a living part of the quality systems as time and issues pass over the life of a product. Over time everything that affects a product changes at a supplier including a company’s procedures, manufacturing technology, product requirements and organizational structure/ people change. The challenges of the product itself influence the products life and manufacturing.

 PPAP is the tool by which a supplier insures requirements are being meet at the start of production. Most people understand that. PPAP is also the means by which the supplier insures requirements are being meet throughout the product life. Suppliers must integrate the elements of the PPAP into the quality systems and ensure that the PPAP and it elements are updated throughout the life of the product. The PPAP needs to be as required a living document between the supplier and the OEM.

I sometimes wonder if organization’s fear using PPAP as a living tooling for a product or is it simple an oversight because other “internal” documentation drives metrics. Whatever the reason the PPAP is sometimes dissociated from the product; it a problem that does not need to happen. The tool is there for the supplier and the OEM to provide evidence of diligence and communication.

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