AIAG Core Tools – What are they?

AIAG Core Tools Manuals

These Core Tools, in existence since the 1990’s, are key elements of an effective and efficient quality management system to meet your Customers needs and expectations. They include the Advanced Product Quality Planning & Control Plan (APQP), Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA), Statistical Process Control (SPC), Measurement System Analysis (MSA), and Production Part Approval Process (PPAP)

Many automotive OEMs and their suppliers require use of the Core Tools as part of the IATF 16949.  These tools have also been successfully implemented by other industries (i.e. General Manufacturing – ISO 9001, Aerospace/Defense – AS 9100, Medical – ISO 13845, Telecommunications- TL 9000, etc.).  This integrates well to create a synergy within existing Quality Management Systems (QMS), Continuous Improvement, Six Sigma and Lean efforts.Core Tools interrelations


Professionals that benefit from training in the Core Tools includes those in Project Management, Engineering, Manufacturing, Quality Assurance, etc.

Teams that have these competencies can successfully manage their key processes.  This provides confidence to their Leadership and Customers that they have the expertise and ability to satisfy their needs.  This includes sustaining operations while managing risks and continuous improvements to remain competitive.

APQP & Control Plans

Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) and Control Plans serves as a Project Management approach to reduce the complexity of product quality planning for customers and suppliers to meet performance, schedule, and cost requirements.

  • APQP defines the required inputs and outputs of each stage of the product development process.
  • Control Plans summarize the identified process and product parameters required to maintain process control and product conformity.


The new AIAG & VDA Failure Mode & Effects Analysis (FMEA) Manual was developed by a global team of OEM and Tier 1 supplier subject matter experts.  Design/Process/MSR FMEAs are an analytical methodology for analyzing the system and function from both a product and process perspective; and managing risks associated with it to avoid failures. What are the elements?

  • The new 7-Step Approach for developing FMEAs (a paradigm shift in thinking)
  • Significantly revised Severity, Occurrence and Detection (SOD) Tables.
  • The new Action Priority (AP) methodology and Tables to prioritize Risks as High (Shall), Medium (Should), Low (Could) to mitigate and which actions based on the AP and SODs will achieve it
  • New supplemental Monitoring System Response (MSR) FMEA for safety related monitoring systems
  • New Form Sheets (spreadsheet users) and Software Report Views (software users) for use with the 7-Step Approach
  • Note: Some Manufacturers are also promoting the use of Machinery FMEAs as part of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) / Risk Management.


Quality Guru Dr. Deming stated, “Treat all Data with Caution”.  This includes the collection of data, its analysis, and providing reliable actionable information.  Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA) is key to determine how much variation you actually have with the product and how much is due to the measurement system. Placing controls and making improvements with the equipment and operators will reduce uncertainty (i.e. measurement error) and increase your confidence in making robust decisions on the process and product quality.  It is also important to know the capability of your measurement system before you attempt to control and improve your manufacturing processes to meet the process and product requirements.

SPC and Process Capability

Statistical Process Control (SPC) was first implemented by manufacturers in the 1930s for monitoring and analyzing process to determine if it is in control and correctly determining if variation is due to special cause (i.e. abnormal behavior) or common cause (inherent behavior due to the design of the system).

By identifying and eliminating sources of special cause variation, your process will have predictable performance and you will be able to determine the Process Capabilities (i.e. Cpk) to meet requirements.  If needed, you will be able to improve the inherent capabilities (i.e. use DOE to reduce common cause variation) to meet your requirements.  This is important as many customers expect a Cpk ≥ 1.33 and some have raised the bar to a Cpk ≥ 1.67.


Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) is used to ensure requirements have been met with supporting objective evidence to obtain approval for production and to obtain approval for significant changes/modifications.   Use of this process between the Customer and Suppliers along with the APQP reduces delays, non-conformances, and other issues during part approval and provides confidence in the ability to consistently deliver quality parts on time and within cost constraints.

Mark Lindsey, QCTS Instructor & CSSBB, CMQ/OE, CQE, CQA


QC Training Services provides workshops to give you the foundational knowledge you need to grow your expertise in AIAG Core Tools.  Contact us at 952-746-5725 or email us here.

We also can provide you a quote for a week-long AIAG Core Tools Series.


If you need help, please email me.

– Anish Shah, QCTS President & CQE