Production Part Approval Process (PPAP)


When searching for a potential supplier for critical components, such as a bearings or bushings, it is important to ensure that the supplier is capable of conducting the Production Part Approval Process (PPAP). A supplier that has a proven record of fulfilling the requirements of the PPAP is going to be a more reliable and trustworthy partner.

What is a PPAP?

The PPAP is a critical risk identification and mitigation process used to ensure the supplier is capable of meeting customer’s supply and quality demands. The PPAP is designed to identify and correct any potential issues to the product or process before they occur.

The PPAP process allows the manufacturer to communicate and approve the production designs and processes before, during, and after manufacture. The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) has developed a common PPAP standard as part of the Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) that is generally accepted.

A new PPAP is presented and approved by the customer whenever:

  • A new part is required
  • An existing part is changed
  • There is a change in the manufacturing process
  • The manufacturer’s location changes
  • A change in the supply chain is made

PPAP Levels

There are five distinct PPAP levels (level 1 – level 5) which each have a different set of requirements. Based on the level, there are 19 elements (documents) that may or may not be included in a PPAP (see list of PPAP elements below).

In every PPAP level, the Part Submission Warrant (PSW) is required. The PSW document simply summarizes the contents of the PPAP package and must be approved by both parties.

A Level 3 PPAP is the most common as it is the most robust of the five levels. A Level 3 PPAP requires the PSW to be submitted along with product samples and complete supporting data. A Level 3 PPAP is often required when working with a new supplier and/or changing to a new part.

The Bottom Line

The PPAP is a vital first step in establishing a sound and reliable relationship with a supplier. It allows both parties to set the groundwork for what is expected in the partnership. A supplier who can complete the PPAP is much more likely to meet the quality requirements for the critical components. These components, the bearings, bushings, assemblies, etc. must all be of highest quality to ensure that friends and families can travel safely in their vehicles.

List of PPAP Elements

  1. Design Records
  2. Authorized Engineering Change Documents
  3. Engineering Approval
  4. Design Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (DFMEA)
  5. Process Flow Diagrams
  6. Process Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (PFMEA)
  7. Control plan
  8. Measurement System Analysis Studies (MSA)
  9. Dimensional Results
  10. Records of Material / Performance Tests
  11. Initial Sample Inspection Report
  12. Initial Process Studies
  13. Qualified Laboratory Documentation
  14. Appearance Approval Report (AAR)
  15. Sample Product Parts
  16. Master Sample
  17. Checking Aids
  18. Customer-Specific Requirements
  19. Part Submission Warrant (PSW)