What Is Automotive Core Tools (APQP, AQP, PPAP, FMEA, SPC, MSA, R&M)?
In a company, the quality management system will always have an important—and crucial—role in how capable and efficient it is in producing high-quality products. And if it is good or not depends entirely on what you do and how you make it improve over the years. After all, owning a business is all about improving in order to make it grow and achieve the goals you have set at the beginning and later on when you continue to move forward.
Therefore, don’t be part of the group of owners, managers, or companies overall that do not pay enough attention to this system in particular. Instead, invest time, resources, and effort in learning about what you can do to make it better and get your company to the next level. Also, to provide better services and products to your clients, which is one of the keys that will lead you to the top.
In the business world, companies have several tools they can use or are even obligated to implement them. Some of them are ISOs, which are normative or standards you need to follow in order to meet specific requirements and parameters. Fortunately, they also bring benefits for your company despite some businesses think about them as limitations for their operations.
Now, for your quality management system, you not only have ISO standards that are aiming for its improvement through a series of requirements. There are core tools that companies from all industries implement in order to boost this system and improve it. The core tools are called in this way due to their importance in building an effective quality system.
Unlike what most people believe, they need to implement certain elements in order to guarantee the best results, and this is the case when you are trying to obtain a better-quality system for either a new company or an old one. Whenever you search for these tools, you can find them by researching for Automotive Core Tools, which takes us to the main question we just replied a few moments ago. In total, there are 7 tools you will find quite useful for different areas of the system, such as the Advanced Product Quality Planning & Control Plan (APQP).
These tools came from the development in the Automotive Industry, but they can be implemented in any company regardless of the industry it is part of. After all, they ended up being suitable for any industry—with certain modifications or after customizing some elements—. However, when it comes to always needing them as almost a rule, Automotive companies are the ones that adapt and implement them. At least, they need to use one of the seven tools.
What are these tools focused on?
As mentioned before, every tool focuses on an area or section of the quality management system of your company. In the case of APQP, it is aiming to reduce the complexity or difficulty of planning the product and its quality for the customer. What it prioritizes is to allow the client to be specific about the expectations, characteristics, and therefore, the quality of the product required.
This allows your company to know how to aim for the final and perfect product depending on the customer, also, to establish some parameters and processes that help to maintain a quality standard.
The rest of the tools are named and defined below:
Production Part Approval Process (PPAP): this is the tool companies use to determine and make sure that products meet all the required standards and parameters for their distribution.
There are specifications for each product or item you fabricate and through this tool, you are able to ensure that the engineering design and the rest of the requirements are met to deliver the desired product to the client.
Failure Mode & Effects Analysis (FMEA): identifying the problems in your production processes and every aspect related to fabricating the product will always be crucial.
But more than identifying them, the goal is to ensure the company has addressed and dealt with each one of them, or at least, it is in the process. Otherwise, it won’t be able to produce high-quality products and items for their distribution and the production and performance will be compromised as well.
Statistical Process Control (SPC): statistical tools are more important than many people think—and companies, of course—.
They can allow the company to analyze the defects and problems of the company and its outputs to determine the actions that need to be taken. There are many elements and objectives of using statistical processes, and you will grow more familiar with it when implementing and using it directly in your company.
Measurement System Analysis (MSA): this analysis is always implemented in all the manufacturing processes of a company to have accurate data of the production and each one of them.
In this way, your company will be able to obtain continuous data about the status of the quality system—if it is getting better or worse—and address the problems with another tool. In simpler words, it is about obtaining the data of your processes and problems, but also to allow you to approach every aspect in a better way. Being able to make the right decisions is also part of growing as a company and improving this system and many others in your business.
What about R&M and AQP?
In the case of AQP, it is directly related to the first tool, APQP, which includes the methodologies and tools the company needs to and will use for the production. It could be to produce only one or two products or an entire lot and series of them.
As for R&M, it has a close relation to not only the Automotive industry but the rest where it has been used, such as the Medical, Aerospace, and defense one. You will get familiar with it when you start using the rest and cross paths since it isn’t completely required like the rest.