APA Quality Services
The trademarks of APA – The Engineered Wood Association appear only on products manufactured by client mills and are the manufacturers' assurance that the products conform to the standard shown on the trademark. That standard may be a(n):
- APA Performance Standard
- Voluntary Product Standard PS 1-09 for Structural Plywood
- Voluntary Product Standard PS 2-10 for Wood-Based Structural-Use Panels
Engineered wood products are manufactured in accordance with an APA or a national standard such as ANSI Standard A190.1, American National Standard for Structural Glued Laminated Timber. APA Standards for EWS products include:
Quality auditing is an integral part of APA's mission. APA has a staff of experienced auditors, and additional work is carried out at its research center in Tacoma, Washington. APA auditors make unannounced visits to client mills to verify compliance with defined technical criteria for certified manufacturers.
APA Quality Management System
Traditional approaches to structural wood products quality assurance have centered on testing and inspection of the finished product for such critical attributes as bending strength and stiffness, dimensional stability, bond durability, impact resistance, etc. Test results are compared with established minimum performance criteria as set forth in performance standards or product specifications.
Today's mills, however, are high-speed, high-volume marvels compared to those of just a few years ago. The manufacturing innovations going into existing and new mills, together with widening raw material variations and the diversity of manufacturing "recipes", are placing new demands on quality control methods.
The QMS Approach
Under a program called APA QMS (Quality Management System), APA and its client mills have implemented an updated method of third-party certification. The APA QMS places emphasis on mill quality control programs rather than relying on testing and inspection of the finished product. This approach, which was developed in conjunction with APA clients and is based on ISO 9000, has been applied with considerable success in other industries, including the automotive, steel and consumer electronics fields.
Benefits of QMS
There are compelling benefits associated with the QMS approach. It provides clients greater flexibility in designing and conducting a quality assurance program tailored to specific needs, including opportunities for incorporating proprietary quality initiatives. It offers the potential to lower the cost of the quality function itself; and, most importantly, it provides a more effective means to assure that the product in the marketplace performs to consumer expectations.
APA Impartiality Statement
APA – The Engineered Wood Association, its management, staff, and all others involved in its certification operations understand the importance of impartiality. Pursuant to this commitment, APA ensures that all dealings with clients or potential clients by all APA employees involved in its certification activities are, and will remain, impartial. To ensure that impartiality is maintained, APA has identified risks to impartiality regarding all relationships which might result in a conflict of interest known or perceived, or pose a threat to impartiality. All personnel are required to reveal any situation that may present them or the certification body with constraints on impartiality. APA management will investigate all customer complaints and all internal requests for review of our certification procedures, either regulatory or legal in their nature.
The APA certification program is operated without bias. APA is independent of any undue influence of a single client and conducts its business based on technical merit and evidence provided by APA audits and other evaluation data. All such data and related information are considered confidential.
Dennis J. Hardman