Product Inspection

Quality Assurance and PPAP Compliance


Often, we thoroughly research automotive brands for system defects and recalls. While these services are generally unavoidable, a lot goes into ensuring minimal system failures and that a vehicle on the market is safe for public use. Here, we look at how PPAP standards ensure quality and consistency in their product.

In short, PPAP stands for Production Part Approval Process and was developed by the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) to encourage uniformity in terminology and forms on production line vehicles.

A Brief History

To create a standard manufacturing method and streamline the automotive industry, AIAG released the PPAP protocol in 1993. The first PPAP manual was developed in association with Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors.

PPAP guidelines outline standard production elements, including project requirements, engineering principles, common terminology, and standard forms. This automotive supply chain process of approvals works to establish confidence in component suppliers and manufacturers. Updated PPAP documentation maintains a record for engineering design that is mutually understood by both the customer and the manufacturer.

While PPAP is known throughout the automotive industry, other manufacturers, like the aerospace industry, have also adopted this process to ensure that specifications are met. This process, paired with great quality assurance, like that offered by Jonble, can help reduce the risk of a product malfunction or failure.

The PPAP Package

The manufacturer will typically compile a PPAP package, which includes all of the documents needed for a formal certification from the supplier and formal approval from the customer. The package is acceptable whether it is stored and delivered electronically or as a hard copy in a binder.

The PPAP package draws from the Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) process used when developing new vehicles or component systems. The package also includes elements required for obtaining approvals, the customer’s purchase order and submission levels, and any other customer-specific requirements.

PPAP Levels of Submission

When a customer requires PPAP compliance, they usually also note the submission level. The customer will provide the elements that need to be included at each level on the purchase order. The customer can require any of the following levels:

  • 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 and other requirements as defined by the customer
  • Level 5 – PSW with product samples and complete supporting data available for review at the supplier’s manufacturing location

Elements in a PPAP Checklist

The current release of the AIAG PPAP manual is in its fourth revision. There are 18 required documents, which are commonly referred to as the PPAP elements. Both the customer and manufacturer sign the elements package to ensure compliance.

Design Records

The design records include a copy of the final drawing outlining features, like the specifications, print notes, and standard tolerance notes. The customer usually sends the design records with the purchase order (PO).

Authorized Engineering Change Documents

Also known as an Engineering Change Notice, this document details a change. Specific authorized engineering change documents may not always be necessary, as the PO sometimes covers them.

Customer Engineering Approval

Allows the engineering trial to be performed at a customer plant with production parts. Third-party services are also available to audit factories prior to production.

Design Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (DFMEA)

It is reviewing components to identify potential weaknesses or failure modes. The DFMEA must be reviewed and approved by both the customer and the supplier.

Process Flowchart

This chart illustrates the sequence of the process.

Process FMEA

The PFMEA follows the process flowchart to identify what could go wrong when creating or assembling the components. Like with the DFMEA, the PFMEA must be signed off on by both parties.

Control Plan

The Control Plan outlines how potential issues are checked along the process, including the incoming quality, assembly process, or final inspections.

Measurement System Analysis (MSA)

The MSA typically contains the ANOVA gage repeatability and reproducibility (R&R) measurement system analysis technique to confirm that gauges used to measure critical or high impact characteristics are calibrated.

Dimensional Results

A documented list showing product characteristics, specifications, and measurement results – generally noted as “OK” or “Not OK.”

Records of Material and Performance Tests – Design Verification Plan and Report (DVP&R)

This report includes a summary of every test that was performed on the part being reported on.

Initial Process Studies

Provides all Statistical Process Control charts to show the stability of critical characteristics.

Qualified Laboratory Documentation

Each PPAP package requires a copy of all laboratory certifications from the labs that performed the tests.

Appearance Approval Report (AAR)

This report is a copy of the Appearance Approval Inspection (AAI) signed off on by the customer.

Sample Production Parts

This element provides a picture of the sample and where it was stored – either with the customer or the supplier.

Master Sample

The master sample is one that has been signed off by both the customer and the supplier.

Checking Aids

If there are special tools required for checking parts, this section of the PPAP package provides a picture of the tool and its calibration records.

Customer Specific Requirements

Best practices suggest that the supplier talks with the customer before quoting a job to learn what specific requirements they have on the PPAP.

Part Submission Warrant (PSW)

In the final form of the package, the PSW summarizes the entire PPAP package. Any deviations are noted on the warrant.

When is PPAP Needed?

Any significant modification or new component requires a PPAP approval process. The manufacturer is responsible for submitting the paperwork to ensure proper procedure. Generally, a customer or manufacturer should initiate PPAP paperwork after any of the following changes takes place:

  • Using a new material to create a component
  • The material supplier changes
  • A new engineer is hired
  • The manufacturer moves production to a new facility

How Jonble Can Help

Quality Assurance inspection before, during, and after production ensures that PPAP guidelines are followed, including finding product defects and correcting them before they make it to the final product.

Jonble performs tests on a products’ performance, function, durability, and safety before anything is shipped out to the customer. This important step maintains product consistency and reliability during final production.


You can find many websites and businesses that offer PPAP training. However, it is best to look into the PPAP training and certification program created by AIAG. AIAG developed their courses to provide a comprehensive overview of PPAP and prepare you to pass your PPAP certification. Employers will often pay for employees’ PPAP certification since it is beneficial for the company.

Overview Training

AIAG provides an introductory overview of PPAP procedures, reporting requirements, and activities taken from the PPAP manual.


Understand how PPAP and Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) work together to implement them in practice best.

Mastery Level Training

This final training course is recommended for managers, team leads, and auditors looking for an in-depth understanding of the quality planning process.

Final Thoughts

PPAP is a form of checks and balances that ensures consistency in the automotive manufacturing industry. Manufacturers must adhere to the guidelines, called elements, required by the customer and submit the appropriate paperwork to qualify their work.

Despite being relatively recent (less than 30 years old), PPAP manuals have become the Automotive Industry Action Group standard. They are also continuously updated. You can shop with confidence, knowing that the parts that assemble to create your car or truck must pass rigorous testing before they hit the production lines.

Services like those provided by Jonble, ensure the effectiveness of factories and the quality of the products being manufactured before they reach final production. To rest assured that you will be meeting PPAP guidelines, contact us today to see how we can help you with our top of the line quality assurance program.