PPAP can we say waiver? A bureaucratic, non value-added mess


Steven Sulkin

PPAP is really turning out to be a bureaucratic, non value-added mess. Don’t get me wrong, I think PPAP is a valuable concept. But these automotive guys are nuts!!!

I want to avoid requesting waivers from our customers all the time. For example, we need waiver of level 3 submittal for insigificant changes, we need waivers for submittal of 2 samples, we need waiver for retention of a sample part.

We are not in a mass production environment. For us, retention of parts would be a franchise buster. I believe this boils down to the interpretation of part versus bulk material. I would consider our part bulk material. However, it doesnt meet QS9000's definition which is that it is formed into a solid shape. A matter of descrimination against solids? This is not just a little problem. Our parts can cost 150K a piece. We have to retain "parts" we would add huge inventory costs. If we disagree with the requirement we must seek a waiver.

Process changes require qualification, which means you get shut off until the customer gets around to qualifying you. Meanwhile your competitors are eating your lunch.

I would like to submit for only significant changes. I would like to interpret our part as bulk material. I would like to avoid sending warrants and requesting waivers from customers who have never heard of QS9000 and are likely to pull our product fro 6 months until they get around to qualifying us.

Help!!! Can we take advantage of the fact that we do not supply to the big three to get ourselves out of all these waivers?



[This message has been edited by Steven Sulkin (edited 11 October 1999).]
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Hunkered Down for the Duration
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That is not always the case. For example, Steve says:
Our parts can cost 150K a piece.
It is obvious we are not talking about a standard high run production part like, say, a motor or dash board or switch. That said, it is highly unlikely that there would be a requirement to 'keep one part' per the PPAP as it's obvious that what ever Steve makes doesn't go on a car. Hence, my question - what do you make, Steve?

As an asides, as I understand it only tier 1 have to PPAP. Those tier 1's can request whatever they want from their suppliers as long as they are doing 'supplier development' with the base being QS9000. Most tier 1's and tier 2's have simply passed the requirements on down to their suppliers by saying to their suppliers "Get registered".

Steve, you should visit your contract review procedure and see what is looked at there. If your parts really do cost as much as US$150K I would make sure early in the game what the customer's expectations are in these matters. Hell, if they want 5 parts you factor the costs into your quotes, you can give them 5 parts.

I will say that automotive is tough. If you want to 'play the game', you have to be ready for some tough competition.
Meanwhile your competitors are eating your lunch.
If this is what's happening, you're doing something wrong. Saying 'we can't compete' doesn't cut ice. And if you can't compete - well, we all know the answer to this 'IF' statement.
In my industry, customers punish vendors who change their process.
Well, now, I'm not so sure that punishment is the correct word. I see value in addressing issues arising from process changes, observed or theoretical.

Are you having trouble getting appropriate waivers?

There's more to this but we need some specifics. Tell us more about the situation.


PPAP is a must. The manual says two samples or as agreed to the control plan. This means that you can make a deal with your customers. The samples are to be retained by you. If the customers don't want to get it, there's no need to submit to them.
For changing in the process, I'm not sure what kind of change. Let me say like this, by the first time you submit PPAP you can submit not only the process you are using. What you need to do is getting the samples from all process you have, collect the data, ..., and submit all of the records and documents as first PPAP. I hope this can help .

Steven Sulkin

My apologies, I should have been clear from the start. You are correct Marc. Our part does not go into a car. I dont want to identify my employer while I am airing the laundry, but I will do my best to explain. We produce a raw material that is fabricated into a solid part. Our customers use the part in a production process.

I should also mention that the value we add to the part is in the material itself. Thus, retention of the material should be sufficient. Our part challenges the definition used by QS9000. I would consider it bulk material rather than a "part."

As I said before, we do not sell to automotive. We have hundred of customers who do not understand, nor have they ever heard of QS9000. Of course, I am being sarcastic when I say, punish. My point is that the qualification process is costly and can take forever.

This is not an ideal quality environment, but we want to do the best we can. I want to avoid requesting 300 waivers and sending 300 warrants every time we make a change. Some customers are less sensitive then others, but the result is still chaotic.

Steven Sulkin

Let me add a little more information to move this along....

The PPAP is valueable to use because it forces us to retain all the records of the change. It is also a valuable service to our customers -notifying them of significant changes. Just like everyone else, we dont want to be burned, or have our customers burned.

We do not have a large volume production line. We are a low volume plant with thousands of parts and hundreds of customers. Almost a job shop environment. We are aggressively pursuing process development and trying to improve product consistency, so we are constantly making "changes."

My question, can we limit our interpretation of change? We saw some discussions earlier about how interpretations can vary from a particular press to presses in general. ( http://Elsmar.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000193.html ). That is what I am asking here.

Does anyone else interpret change as being significant (form, fit, function) and insignificant?


When to submit PPAP is defined in PPAP manual page no.2. The first three situations are noted to be done, but the other 8 situations are under the paragraph of customer waives.
You can ask the customer to waive for some situations or even PPAP for that particular customer.
Steven, Check with your customer for a determination of bulk material, (ref PPAP Glossary)
Also, since you do not sell to automotive, I would question the need for a request for PPAP from your customer.

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
it seems to me that your customer may not understand the requirement and is just passing along his pain .....it flows down hill... :)

You need to understand the requirement in order to "help the customer" understand his own needs

Steven Sulkin

I want to pursue something brought out in the last two postings. Not sure if we have something here or not.

From Sam....
since you do not sell to automotive, I would question the need for a request for PPAP from your customer.

and from Barb...
it seems to me that your customer may not understand the requirement and is just passing along his pain .....it flows down hill... :)

None of our customers require a PPAP. They have never heard of it. Some require notification of change, but none require a PPAP. We are very happy to retain records of change. Its a benefit for us to do so, but do we have to get approval from the customer who doesnt require it?
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