APQP: New Product Development: Planning (Phase 1)

APQP: New Product Development: Planning (Phase 1)


“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable” ―Dwight D Eisenhower


A ship sailing in the sea will reach nowhere without planning. Imagine the fate of an Aeroplan which is flying without proper planning. What will be the end date of a bullet train project if there is no systematic planning? Planning is key to the success of any person or process. Especially in the design process, systematic and correct planning will lead to the success of any project.


In design and development planning process, the key objective is to understand the end result in terms of Quality, Cost and Delivery (QCD) & design the entire development process accordingly. Once the organization has effectively planned the design and development stages and captured all the relevant input requirements, the possibility of achieving the desired target enhances.


As per IATF 16949, clause 3.0, following are some of the key definitions related to the Planning Process.

Advanced product quality planning (APQP): product quality planning process that supports the development of a product or service that will satisfy customer requirements; APQP serves as a guide in the development process and also a standard way to share results between organizations and their customers; APQP covers design robustness, design testing and specification compliance, production process design, quality inspection standards, process capability, production capacity, product packaging, product testing and operator training plan, among other items.

Customer-Specific requirements (CSRs): interpretations of or supplemental requirements linked to a specific clause(s) of this Automotive QMS Standard.

Customer requirements: all requirements specified by the customer (e.g., technical, commercial, product and manufacturing process-related requirements, general terms and conditions, customer-specific requirements, etc.)

IATF subscribing OEM CSR

Following are their key requirements


Special Characteristics: MBST 13/18, section 5, paragraph 3 + 7

PPAP: MBST 13/18 complete Production Process and Product Approval (PPA)

Design and development changes – supplemental: MBST 13/18, section 4 MBST 13/18, section 5


Design & Development: SQ.00010 Advance Quality Planning (AQP) and PPAP

Embedded Software: assessment of software process capability/maturity: as per CS.00187


PPAP: GM 1927-03 Quality SOR        

Detailed Information

As per IATF 16949, Clause 8.3 and APQP manual (Advance Product Quality Planning- 2nd edition, July 2008), there are 5 key phases. They are

  1. Plan and define the program
  2. Product design and development verification
  3. Process design and development verification
  4. Product and process validation
  5. Feedback, assessment and corrective action

In design and development planning process (phase 1), the key intent is to understand the end objective in terms of Quality, Cost and Time (QCD) & design the entire development process accordingly. Once the organization has effectively planned the design and development stages, the possibility of achieving the desired target augments.

Some of the key preparation for the planning phase include

  • Understand the complexity, nature and duration of the project
  • Creating a cross-function team (Design, Production, Sales, Quality, Purchase, Maintenance, Supplier etc.) which will work together until the result is achieved
  • Identify the leader for CFT (Cross-Functional Team)
  • Required documentation to ensure compliance and effective review when needed
  • Defining responsibilities and authorities for each CFT member
  • Creating a communication channel within CFT, customer and other relevant stakeholders    

The inputs and outputs in this phase will vary depending upon the customer and organizations expectations. As per APQP manual, for some, all the key inputs and outputs will be relevant, for many only few.

Based on the feasibility review of customer inputs, capacity, capability and cost analysis, the organization can decide to go ahead with the project and is kicked off for the next 5 phases. The output of the feasibility process (Phase 0) becomes the key inputs for the planning process (Phase 1).

  • Voice of the customer: During the new product development process, the customer shares some input based on the previous experience for the same kind of product/process or from the competitor. It also includes customer and market survey about the product like its
    • customer expectation (productivity, process capability, timing, cost)
    • feedback of a similar product from other markets etc.
    • warranty and recall data from a similar kind of product and customer
    • learning from previous development (from the same supplier or competitors too)
    • possible size of the market & sales potential
  • Business Plan and Marketing strategy: The customer business plan and marketing strategy will set the framework for the product quality plan. Example: The strategy of the customer may be to entre EV (Electric Vehicle) market or focus only on the Gasoline engine. Based on the inputs from the customer, the organization can devise their own strategy so that they can fulfil the expectation of the customer. The new investment, spending on Research & Development, product positioning etc. will depend upon the customer’s strategy.
  • Product and process benchmark: Understanding the present and future market expectation is important so that benchmarking of existing and future products can be done. Example: up-gradation from Euro IV to Euro VI emission norms or designing hybrid cars to meet changing government regulations. For that organization can understand their,
    • present status
    • the expectation of the market
    • analyse the gap
    • take actions to fill it so that market expectations can be met.
  • Product and Process assumptions: While planning for the new product and process development, expectation from the customer and other relevant stakeholders have to be understood. The intent is to understand not only the existing concepts but possible assumptions. Example: Use of Magnesium for diecasting instead of Aluminum.
  • Product reliability studies: One of the key expectations of the customer is related to the reliability of the product. In the present times, the cost of repair or replacement is high and also it impacts the reputation of the organization. Example: Endurance testing is done on the Tyre to assess its performance on the actual road condition.
  • Embedded Software Requirement: Depending upon the functionality of the product, one of the important inputs during the planning phase is related to embedded software. Example: Majority of the 2-wheeler and 4-Wheeler have embedded software like ECU (Electronic Control Unit) which is generally used for managing the Engine system and other functions of the vehicle.  
  • Applicable statutory and regulatory requirements: With the increase in the customer requirements, the compliance requirement for safety is also increasing. To fulfil all the legal requirements, statutory and regulatory requirements are one of the key inputs. Example: Emission norm, safety norms like a seat-belt, airbag.
  • Targets for conformity to product requirements: Preservation, reliability, durability, serviceability, health, safety, environmental, development timing, and cost;
  • Identification, traceability and packaging
  • Product specifications
  • Other data: Previous design projects, competitor product analysis (benchmarking), supplier feedback. internal input, field data, and other relevant sources for current and future projects of a similar nature

Some of the key output in the planning process includes

  • Design Goals: These goals are nothing but the voice of the customer. By understanding them, the organization can develop design objectives accordingly. The design goals can be related to visual, sensory experience, compatibility, performance, durability etc.
  • Reliability and Quality Goals: They are also the voice of the customer wherein customer specifies the key objectives related to reliability and quality of the products like Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF), rejection target in ppm, fulfilling legal requirements, no recall etc.
  • Preliminary Bill of Material: An initial list of components required for the assembly of a product is listed. It helps to identify potential suppliers as well as possible special characteristics which may need special attention. Also, it helps the organization to estimate the cost of developing a new product, new supplier selection etc.
  • Preliminary Process Flow Chart: A flowchart is a picture of the separate steps of a process in sequential order. It is a generic tool that can be prepared for a wide variety of purposes and can be used to describe various processes, such as a manufacturing process. It can be prepared by taking inputs from the preliminary bill of material and assumptions related to product and process.       
  • Preliminary identification of special characteristics related to products and processes: Based on the past experience, performance for a similar product/process and voice of the customer, reliability and design goals, special characteristics at this stage can be identified.
  • Product Assurance Plan: Based on the key output related to design, reliability and quality goals, an organization can prepare a document which will have data related to special characteristics, statutory and regulatory requirements, key design goals for preparing DFMEA, the timeline for programming etc. The organization can use any template for accumulating this data.  
  • Management Support: The success of the design and development process depends on the keen involvement of top management. They should be updated about every phase of the program and where needed; it can be more frequent too. In the end, it is the top management, who is responsible for the success of the design and development process.

Possible Benefits:

  • Once the planning is done effectively, the development process becomes smooth
  • Clarity about the target for Quality, Cost and Time
  • Customer and relevant stakeholders will be satisfied
  • Understanding of the customer requirements enhance
  • Relationship and trust with the customer will improve

Present Challenges:

  • How often competent CFT is defined and work is done as a team during development?
  • How often regular and updated feedback is shared with top management as management review input?
  • Systematic identification and understanding of the voice of the customer are not always effective.


ISO 9000: 2015

ISO 9001: 2015

IATF 16949: 2016

APQP 2nd Edition

This is the 75th article of this Quality Management series. Every weekend, you will find useful information that will make your Management System journey Productive. Please share it with your colleagues too.

Your genuine feedback and response are extremely valuable. Please suggest topics for the coming weeks.

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Prasad Jogi
Prasad Jogi
3 years ago

??❤️ honestly it’s rough topic…….but sir u make it really very interesting topic

Kshitij kamble
Kshitij kamble
11 months ago

Sir the way you presented this topic is very easy to understand also for new in NPD.