$ saved using APQP - Can anyone share with me a success story?


Roger Eastin

Can anyone share with me a success story using an APQP approach with emphasis on $ saved? I have a management team that has philosophically bought an APQP approach, but is having trouble staying away from the temptation of "shotgunning" projects(I am assuming that the APQP approach is compared to the "shotgun" project management approach!)
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Kevin Mader

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I work for an organization that has been using a design program (it mirrors Fords design program) which was what the APQP is, to my knowledge, based upon. When I joined the organization, it was the first time I had seen the FMEA process being performed. Systems, Process, and Design FMEAs are performed ritually. Have I a specific dollar amount? Not really, but I can say that often times the FMEA process, and the associated verification and validation, has spared this organization several costly tooling design changes late in the program. Above that, what did we save in the cost of a dissatisfied customer? What did we gain by discovering something missing or wrong early in the Customer's eyes. We don't catch all of our opportunities, but the process really does help. Combined with the other aspects of the design model, virtually anyone involved with design process will see how the program has saved. Design Review periodically through the program is a real check and balance and keeps the program focus and closer to a time plan. Hope this helps.

Howard Atkins

Forum Administrator
I heared a story today that in the late 1970's there was a scare as with the 2K bug because in those days the computers worked on one digit. There were problems, I am sure some of you remember this better than I.
If they had performed FMEA then on the process and used APQP techniques to solve the problem then the 2k bug would not be here.

Roger Eastin

I appreciate the replies, but if anyone has some dollars that have been saved using an APQP approach, I would appreciate hearing them. I do agree with Deming that most "lost" costs are unknown and unknowable, such as lost customer satisfaction. However, in our indicator-based industry, it would be helpful to hear a story or two of how APQP helped the bottom line.

Christian Lupo

APQP = concurrent engineering

IEEE Spectrum, July 1991 "special report on concurrent engineering (CE)"

John Deere & co used CE to cut 30 % off the cost of developing new construction equipment and 60 % off development time

Hewlett-packard decided to improve the quality of its products by 1000 percent in 5 years -- and succeeded! For example, on one product the devgelopment team for an oscilloscope developed the product from idea to finished product in 1/3 the time it took to develop similar products.

AT & T adopted CE and reduced the time it took to develop a new switching system by 50 %.

Institute for defense analysis (Wenner et al 1988) benefits of Ce included:

40 -60 percent reduction in developpment time
30-40 percent reduction in development costs
50 percent reduction in engineering changes
75 percent reduction in rework and scrap

There are other metrics similar to this in "Concurrent engineering effectiveness" by Mitchell Fleischer and Jeffery Liker. I highly recommend it!


Fully vaccinated are you?
Looks like what we so often find - Few people can really break out costs and savings.


While I cannot give you definitive numbers I can tell you a story about a tasked missed. APQP is a risk management tool that The OEM's (Primarily) force their suppliers to use to ensure all steps and tasks are performed and on time. When company's rush programs, corners are cut. When corners are cut steps are eliminated and the potential for problems multiplies. I took a program over about a year ago that had just entered production. It was a low volume program and really was not my number 1 priority. After about a month of production I gathered all the previous Program Manager;s APQP documents to review. When I was comparing production drawings to the tooling drawings I noticed a major difference on a pipe location. I started doing some digging and found out to save some time the previous PM had released prints to the tooling suppliers before getting them signed off or at least a E-364 from the customer. (GM) I brought this up to my Management and eventually GM and we had to replace every system out there. Luckily in the year of production there were only about 600 parts produced. The money lost includeds the price to produce 600 new parts, the cost to modify the tooling, and the potential lost business this situation had garnered. We now are also dealing with a company blackeye and now GM's insistance that we perform a back to basics review of every GM program we have. the point is if you can identify a program that ensures compliabnce to customer specs than go for it. APQP is a tool and like any tool will only work if properly used.



Fully vaccinated are you?
I don't have a problem with APQP - I think it is a very good 'process', actually - but it comes under the heading of Good Business Practices to me. I was doing some work with a company which had gone through some serious program failures, and which also has multiple business units. Of the several business units, only one is automotive. As is happening in a lot of sectors outsdide of automotiver these days, APQP is now being required by several of their non-automotive customers. Of course, each has it's own 'process' defined each of which is essentially a regurgitation of the AIAG's APQP manual including forms and such.

I saw a similar thing with a client who has Otis Elevator as a customer and a few years ago Otis even had a couple of supplier seminars on APQP. My client declined to participate. As they are one of the few suppliers of a low volume product Otis needs, Otis finally agreed to ISO 9001 registration. But - If you looked at my client's processes they did everything in the APQP process which was applicable to them. I have to say the ISO 9001 implementation process was valuable to them - They identified problems in their work stream and some issues in general that they were not 'aware' of. They also looked at their customer complaints more closely and started to better address failure modes starting with the most common ones.

Like I said, though, I think it would be relatively difficult for most companies to be able to put a number on savings due to using an APQP process.
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