Quality Core Tools – Not Just for Automotive

The “Quality Core Tools” are considered a standard throughout the automotive industry but the tools are not just for automotive companies. The five tools that are used throughout a product’s lifecycle, from development to production and delivery, are fundamental building blocks to a Quality Management System that consistently produces the right products on time.  When applied properly, the Quality Core Tools are value-added methods and techniques that ensure a successful product supply chain. 



Advance Product Quality Planning (APQP) is a process that enables a manufacturer to demonstrate that it can design and manufacture a product in line with customer requirements. The main objectives of APQP are effective communication, timely completion of the tasks, reduction of quality issues, and minimization of quality-related risks during product launch.

Product Part Approval Process (PPAP) is a process of demonstrating that the produced part meets design intent and initial requirements, and that the production process can consistently provide such products.

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a method for identification and prioritization of different modes of failure and resulting effects. The risk represents a relationship between modes of failure, their potential effects, and causes of failure. 

Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA) is a method of evaluating variability in the measurement process. It is primarily used to determine the viability of an evaluation or measuring methodology for use on a specific part characteristic.

Statistical Process Control (SPC) is a statistical method applied in quality control, and it is primarily used to monitor and control processes.

The goal of using the core tools is to produce a living Control Plan -- a combination of design controls, management review, supplier audit requirements, controls for detection, controls for prevention, and inspection plans that will help your organization meet its requirements and satisfy customers.

The Control Plan provides the operator or inspector with the information required to properly control the process and produce quality parts. It should also include instructions regarding actions taken if a non-conformance is detected.

Sometimes the root cause of a nonconformance is not immediately obvious. In these cases, our operators and supervisors can become “fire-fighters”. As we have all experienced, “fire-fighting” is not an efficient way to manage production. We focus on how to get out of fire fighting mode in our next monthly e-blast. In the meantime, one of the best ways to respond to a nonconformance is to have a good structured problem-solving process.

Obviously, there are many different variations for problem solving in manufacturing. It doesn’t matter if you use A3, 8D, DAMAIC, 5 Why, or some other variation, the key is to have a structure, train your employees in using that structure, and give them the authority and responsibility to permanently resolve quality issues. The Plan Do Check Act framework is a great high-level framework. In the figure above, we have identified the main steps of any structured problem-solving process – there are hundreds of different tools you can use to achieve each step. Using this framework, your team can collectively define and eliminate problems.

Whether your company is launching a new product or has had quality issues in the past, UT CIS offers a variety of core tool and problem-solving learning options that will develop your employee's abilities to prevent quality issues from happening and address them if they do.

Tags Quality