The SAP S/4HANA 2020 on-premise release comes with a new feature for management of the first article inspection for production part approval. This blog post will introduce you to the feature and teach you how to enable it.
Who Can Benefit from This Innovation?
The first article inspection (FIA) for production part approval (PPAP) process is frequently used in industries like automotive, aerospace, nuclear, etc. to ensure comprehensive pre-inspection of products in production by a company. This is done to identify and rectify quality issues prior to the production of remaining products.
FIA for PPA is a relatively new feature available in SAP S/4HANA 2020, and can be set up as long as the necessary customizing, master data, and business processes are put in place to enable effective reporting for timely and informed business decisions. Doing so requires setting up a specific inspection plan for the first article received from the supplier, to control a wide number of characteristics; for example, an inspection plan that contains twenty characteristics to check.
Once the article supplied from the vendor is approved, regular inspections will take place with less strict control; for example, an inspection plan with five characteristics only.
Process Steps for First Article Inspections and Regular Inspections
The figure below shows high-level differences between end-to-end business processes for inspection of the first article for production part approval, and regular inspection after approval of the materials and suppliers in the corresponding plant.
In the business process (1), once the purchase order is linked to the quality info record, and hence relevant for first article approval, the goods receipt will generate an inspection lot of type 01 (Goods Receipt Insp. for Purchase Order) associated to standard inspection plan usage 51 (GR Model Inspection). A quality info record is a one-to-one combination of material and vendor to manage quality aspects of a material that a vendor supplies to a company. The inspection usage (called FAI usage) can be customized in the Control Keys for QM in Procurement (see next figure).
On the other hand, the process in the second line (2) shows the regular procurement process once the parts are approved from the vendor. The system will generate the same inspection lot type as shown before; however, the standard inspection plan usage will be 5 (Goods Receipt).
Let’s analyze the prerequisites in terms of customizing and master data setup before deep diving the process steps.
Define First Article Inspection Plan Usage
The first prerequisite is to define a specific inspection plan usage (FAI usage) for first article inspection in the control key for quality management in procurement. To perform the necessary configuration, follow the menu path SAP IMG > Quality Management > QM in Logistics > QM in Procurement > Define Control Keys for QM in Procurement (see below). Define the FAI plan usage 51 (goods receipt model).
Master Data Settings
Follow these steps to maintain relevant master data.
- Assign the previously created QM control key to the material master (transaction MM01) by selecting the plant and the quality management view.
- In the quality management view of the Material Master, choose Insp. Setup and assign and activate the inspection type 01 (Goods Receipt Insp. for Purchase Order) in the inspection set up data screen.
- Maintain two inspection plans (usage 51 and usage 5) for the material using the transaction QP01 or using the SAP Fiori app Manage Inspection Plans (app ID: F3788) as shown below.
Depending on a company’s business requirements, some additional master data set up may also be needed before the creation of an inspection plan like Master Inspection Characteristic (MIC), such as qualitative or quantitative MICs, sampling procedure, etc.
Now, let’s discuss the process steps for first article inspection with creating a quality info record.
Create Quality Info Record:
Note that the planning of first article inspections for purchase orders can be done exclusively using the Manage Quality Info Records App (app ID: F2256A) as the classical GUI transactions (QI01 or QI02) do not support this feature.
To maintain the quality info record with this app, press the Create button and enter the Material, Plant, Supplier and Release Until data.
The tab Production Part Approval will appear after pressing the Create button (found on the right-hand side of the screen). Press the Enable button to activate the production part approval process for the corresponding quality info record.
Choose the PPAP Level (for example, Warrant Only) and the PPAP status (E.G., In-Process) as shown below.
Click on the Add button to assign the purchase order item relevant for the first article inspection to the quality info record, as shown in the above figure.
The valuation code is indicated as Not valuated (see callout 1 in the figure below); this is because the usage decision is not executed yet for the inspection lot that will be generated when posting the goods receipt of the corresponding purchase order item takes place.
Handling of First Article Inspection Lot After Goods Receipt
Once the goods receipt is posted for the purchase order item relevant for first article inspection (by using the transaction MIGO or the corresponding SAP Fiori app Post Goods Receipt for Purchasing Document [app ID : F0843]), the system takes the FAI Plan usage (51 in this case) and not the inspection plan assigned to inspection type 01 (see below).
To enable the system to ensure that the first article inspection is completed before regular inspection, the system will issue a warning message to ask if the user wants to process the usage decision of regular inspection lots with the same combination of material, supplier, and plant (see the figure below). This warning helps the quality inspector to ensure the results and usage decision of the first article inspection are maintained before proceeding with regular or routing inspection of materials.
Valuation of First Article Inspection Lot
After completing the results recordings and taking the usage decision, the status of the inspection lot will be displayed in the quality info record, and the quality inspector can complete the production part approval process by changing the PPAP Status field to Completed (see below).
Reporting for FAI
To easily access and monitor the first article inspection lots, a quality inspector can use the dynamic selection Created for FAI in the worklist for displaying and processing inspection lots (Transactions QA33 and QA32).
Requalification of the supplier is therefore only possible after making the user decision of the FAI inspection lot, and another purchase order item can be added to the quality info record.
Valuation of Regular Inspection Lot
After validating the first article inspection, the inspection lots created from regular purchase orders will be linked to the inspection plan assigned in the inspection type 01. These inspections are usually less strict than the inspections executed in the first article process (see below).
The first article inspection for production part approval helps companies achieve a better qualification process for parts purchased with the help of the FAI usage. This process supports postings in both the Inventory Management component of SAP Materials Management and in SAP Extended Warehouse Management.
Note that the same process of FAI can also be achieved via the Status Profile for Releasing Supply Relationships; however, this process supports only goods receipt posted in inventory management and quality info records that are created with classical transactions (QI01, QI02) and not the Manage Quality Info Record SAP Fiori app, which offers far greater features, functionality, and innovations compared to classic GUI transactions.