Pre-launch Control Plan

Pre-launch Control Plan is one of the IATF standard requirements used during new projects implementation in the automotive industry. Its main purpose is to increase the quality assurance for the delivered product by the controls increasing.

Introduction

The main goal of implementing this plan is to assume that production processes in the company are definitively not standardized during new launches. As a result, there may be more failures and non-conforming products shipped to client comparing to current production. Additionally, it is used to:

  • validation of the supplier’s Control Plan applied in current production
  • ensure the quick identification, control and correction of any quality problems that may arise in the production plant of the organization.

We have to mention also that implementation of the Pre-Launch Control Plan is included in the IATF standard in requirement 8.5.1.1. Control plan. In addition to this phase, this requirement normally mentions series production and prototypes.

Pre-launch Control Plan in relation to Customer Specific Requirements

In addition to the IATF standard requirement, we must remember that Customer Specific Requirements have big impact in the automotive industry. Each of OEM’s (Oryginal Equipment Manufacturer) will define this document according to its own nomenclature. A few of them are presented below:

Ford. It refers to it as the Pre-Launch Control Plan. It should be used from the TT phase until final process capability approval is obtained

– GM. It refers to it as Early Production Containment (EPC). Previously, the GP12 wording was used – currently no longer applicable

– Stellantis ex-PSA. It refers to it as GP12.

Stellantis ex-FCA. It defines it as Safe Launch Plan and previously as Strenghetenes Control Plan.

As we can see, the leaders in defining additional requirements are companies that belong to the big three American companies (GM, Ford, Chrysler bought out by FIAT). On the other hand, approach of German customers is more pragmatic. They assume that regardless of whether it is a pre-launch phase or ongoing production – the delivered products must be of the same quality level.

In such a situation, the organization defines the Pre-lanuch Control Plan according to internal procedures to meet IATF requirements.

Pre-launch Control Plan – implementation phases

When preparing to validate this document, we must bear in mind what it will contain. What I mean? It must take into account all known criticalities of the product and process as well as for the Control Plan in current production.

In addition, the approval should not relieve the organization of its responsibility to include in the plan all characteristics that it considers relevant basing of its knowledge of the production process, i.e. its know-how. For example, the supplier of the front insulation may additionally define the measurement of the weight for finished product. It does this by correlating it with the appropriate, acceptable level of acoustics – even though the customer’s drawing does not include such a requirement.

However, referring to the Customer Specific Requirements, it is worth checking whether it doesn’t have to be approved by the customer’s representative and whether it does not have to be extended regarding components from sub-suppliers.

The standard duration for this activity begins with the first parts production intended for the production of pre-launch cars. Regarding closing date, we have several strategies:

  • 90 days after SOP, i.e. after the official Start of Production, when the customer’s engineering gives, based on defined indicators, the “green light” to the plant to build cars intended for sale
  • Defined based on the quantity of produced parts. This is an important strategy in the case of supplying optional parts (en. low volume), i.e. sunroof, automatic gearbox, 4×4.
  • Until final approval of process capability, used by FORD, as mentioned earlier.
The Pre-lauch Control Plan is one of the three documents required by the IATF standard.
The Pre-lauch Control Plan is one of the three documents required by the IATF standard.

Normally, a specific station must also be defined, which should be off-line, separate and independent from the normal production process. It can also be at the end of the production line.

What are the exit criteria?

We already know how long the Pre-launch Control Plan should be valid. However, to make it possible, certain criteria must be met. These include, among others:

  • no notifications from the client’s plant within the time limit provided for in the “duration”
  • if a nonconformity is found, the defined control is maintained for a further period of time. Another scenario relates to the quantity of parts produced, after the implementation of corrective actions or until the end of the period agreed at the beginning. Of course, depending on which of the events occurs last.
  • if the customer plant finds a NOK part during such control, the supplier may be informed to initiate an additional escalation e.g. 3CPR ex-CSL-2/CL ect.

Just pre-launch phase?

Pre-launch Control Plan is not limited to this phase only. If our product has undergone significant modifications in current production, a scenario for launching this activity should be considered based on internal risk assessment. Such a request may additionally be made by our client.

The second scenario when it makes sense to restart reinforced control is downtime. I mean both downtimes resulting from planned summer breaks and the scenario when the downtime results from the lack of customer orders for a long time.

What else is worth remembering?

The control of pre-launch production request the implementation of appropriate identification. Customers may require, for example, a green round sticker to be sticked on finished products. This is done to distinguish that this product has reinforced control comparing to parts dedicated for current production.

Additional requirements may relate to the correct “writing” of the Pre-launch Control Plan. We are talking here about the identification of the stations for which this control is carried out and the appropriate colors of the lines in the document.

You can download an automatic, editable Excel form for free on the Free Quality Tools

Document name: Control Plan – Excel form

Dariusz Kowalczyk

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