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Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) is a valuable tool for establishing confidence in component suppliers and their production processes. In today’s competitive manufacturing environment controlling cost and maintaining a high level of quality have become vital to a company’s success. Increasing costs of equipment, materials and labor combined with expanding world markets have resulted in an increase of outsourced parts. 

Many component parts are being outsourced to overseas manufacturers. This often results in longer lead times and larger order quantities. Therefore it has become imperative to provide quality parts that meet the customer’s requirements the first time and every time. Initially PPAP was utilized by the automotive and aerospace industries. PPAP has become popular among several industries to improve communication and provide quality products. 

Within the automotive industry the ultimate resource for PPAP information is the manual published by the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG).

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Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) Defined

PPAP defines the approval process for new or revised parts, or parts produced from new or significantly revised production methods. The PPAP process consists of 18 elements that may be required for approval of production level parts. Not all of the elements are required for every submission. 

There are five generally accepted PPAP submission levels. The resulting PPAP submission provides the evidence that the supplier has met or exceeded the customer’s requirements and the process is capable of consistently reproducing quality parts.


Why Perform Production Part Approval Process (PPAP)

The PPAP process helps in verifying that the supplier understands all customer engineering design specifications and requirements and that the process is capable of consistently producing product meeting those requirements during an actual production run at the quoted production rate. 

PPAP and other quality tools continue to gain more popularity among industries; therefore it is important to gain an understanding of the PPAP requirements to remain competitive as a parts supplier.


When to Perform Production Part Approval Process (PPAP)

A PPAP is required for any new part submission as well as for approval of any change to an existing part or process. The customer may request a PPAP at any time during the product life. 

This requires that the supplier must maintain a quality system that develops and documents all of the requirements of a PPAP submission at any time.

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PPAP Levels of Submission

The PPAP submission requirements are normally divided into five classifications or levels, as follows:

  • Level 1 – Part Submission Warrant (PSW) which is only submitted to the customer.
  • Level 2 – PSW with product samples and limited supporting data.
  • Level 3 – PSW with product samples and complete supporting data.
  • Level 4 – PSW and other requirements as defined by the customer.
  • Level 5 – PSW with product samples and complete supporting data being available for review at the supplier’s manufacturing location.

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About the Author

Adebayo is a thought leader in continuous process improvement and manufacturing excellence. He is a Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt (CSSMBB) Professional and Management Systems Lead Auditor (ISO 9001, 45001, ISO 22000/FSSC 22000 etc.) with strong experience leading various continuous improvement initiative in top manufacturing organizations. 

You can reach him here.

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