How to Get the Most Out of Your PPAP Documentation

Learn how to get the most return from your PPAP documentation.

Since its inception, the automotive industry has faced the problem of managing suppliers efficiently. From the engine and transmission to seatbelts and windshield wipers, there are many different parts that go into manufacturing a vehicle. In response to supply chain inefficiencies, the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) developed a production part approval process (PPAP) as a quality management tool to ease supply chain woes.

If your company has yet to implement thorough PPAP documentation, you may be missing out on a huge opportunity to lower supplier defect rates alongside improved cost of quality control. When it comes to managing an extended, global supply chain however, implementing and integrating PPAP protocols across various manufacturing facilities can create unforeseen challenges regarding document control.

Below, we’ve outlined what PPAP entails and how you can get the most return from your PPAP documentation.

What is PPAP?

PPAP is the industry standard for defining the approval process for new or revised parts. Simply put, PPAP documentation helps original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their suppliers ensure that each party understands what is required of them to consistently create parts and components to the customers’ specifications.

The AIAG provides a PPAP manual that’s an excellent resource for automotive companies to leverage to address the many different pain points of managing multiple tiers of suppliers. Because of its success in the automotive industry, the adoption of PPAP is growing across other industries, such as aerospace and defense and manufacturing, as an indispensable quality management tool.

Related: What’s Driving Cross-Industry Adoption of the Production Part Approval Process (PPAP)?

How to Perform a PPAP

When you implement a PPAP, you’ll be able to collect critical supplier data on engineering change documents, failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA), control plans, lab documentation, verification testing, product samples, and more, based on the requirements for each level of submission. The process includes a collection of key elements that must be completed to ensure that the production process will result in a quality product. Follow these guidelines when any new part is submitted or when any changes are implemented to any existing part or process.

PPAP Levels of Submission

PPAP requirements for suppliers typically vary by the level of submission:

  • Level 1: Part Submission Warrant (PSW) 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 with other requirements as defined by the customer.
  • Level 5: PSW with product

PPAP Elements List

AIAG’s minimum requirements for PPAP documentation have been standardized by the automotive industry, but the basic minimum elements of PPAP are the same when using PPAP in other industries. While the list below may seem overwhelming, keep in mind that this is just a list of quality documents that every “good” supplier should already have.

Here are the 18 elements to include in your approval process of production-level parts:

  • Design Documentation
  • Engineering Change Documentation
  • Customer Engineering Approval
  • Design Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (DFMEA)
  • Process Flow Diagram
  • Process Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (PFMEA)
  • Control Plan
  • Measurement System Analysis (MSA)
  • Dimensional Results
  • Records of Material and Performance Tests
  • Initial Process Studies
  • Quality Laboratory Documentation
  • Appearance Approval Report (AAR)
  • Sample Production Parts
  • Master Sample
  • Checking Aids
  • Customer Specific Requirements
  • Part Submission Warrant (PSW)

What are the benefits of PPAP documentation?

PPAP documentation allows you to improve quality by communicating changes to suppliers as efficiently as possible. The key to successful PPAP is ensuring that all parties see eye to eye.

Benefits of PPAP include:

  • Consistent part approval process – a PPAP holds each part to the same standards of quality as your complete product.
  • Quality assurance for suppliers – the PPAP also holds each supplier to the same standards of quality.
  • Improved on-time delivery – by holding suppliers to your quality standards, they’ll be more likely to ensure parts are delivered on time.
  • Controls parts and process changes – by having documented changes, you can ensure that both the customer and supplier are on the same page regarding the part and revision.
  • Reduced supplier defect rates. LNS Research found that PPAP can lead to a reduction in supplier defect rates by as much as 13 percent.

PPAP Documentation Software Solutions

PPAP documentation is an indispensable quality management tool that puts manufacturers and suppliers on the same page. When you take everything into consideration, PPAP management coincides with document control and change management.

To get the most out of your PPAP documentation, you’ll need to be able to track PPAP data and documentation changes in real-time, which is unachievable with a manual, paper-based system. However, by implementing an integrated quality management solution, you’ll be able to manage all elements of planning, production, and execution in one place.

Cority’s Quality Cloud provides an enterprise-wide platform for managing all PPAP documentation. With this integrated approach, manufacturers will be able to consolidate PPAP documentation into one system that your employees, customers, and suppliers will all be able to access in real-time to reduce the risk of nonconforming products and supplier delays. As a result, you’ll benefit from a streamlined approval process as well as lower production and warranty costs, as you’ll be able to identify pre-production problems more quickly and efficiently.