Before we go any further with this discussion, if you are new to automotive you should know that the APQP and Control Plan manual is a ‘reference’ manual. It is a part of Ford, GM and Chrysler’s QS-9000 ‘quality’ systems requirements. QS-9000 is a ‘standard’ but not in the usual sense. When I think of what I call a standard I think of something more or less world wide. Bottom line it is a ‘standard’ containing ‘quality’ system requirements of Ford, GM and Chrysler which was derived from their individual requirements. GM’s old Targets for Excellence, for example, included their GP’s (General Procedures - now called the GM-9000) and general quality systems requirements for suppliers. Ford has their Q1. Chrysler had their PentaStar requirements. This discussion is focused on one support manual of this system - the APQP and Control Plan manual. Note that the FMEA, MSA, and SPC support manuals are ‘sub-’ manuals of the APQP manual in that they further define output parameters (e.g.: your MSA analysis has to include analysis of Bias, linearity and R&R as a minimum).
As much as anything else, the APQP manual is a set of data requirements. Proof your process is capable. Proof (through an FMEA) that you have made certain risk evaluations. Proof you know you can actually produce a part and in the expected quantities. Proof you have assessed ‘all’ customer requirements.
The QS-9000 ‘Quality’ System
GM’s Targets for Excellence
Ford, GM and Chrysler’s ‘Mutual Needs’
QS-9000 Support manuals
APQP & Control Plan
Potential Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA)
Statistical Process Control (SPC)
Production Part Approval Process
NOTE: GM, Ford and Chrysler each have their own additional requirements!