Core Tools

Core Tools Curriculum

Over the past 30 plus years, the application of quality improvement techniques throughout industry has evolved, but a handful of tools have risen to the top because they consistently deliver proven results.  Now known as Core Tools or AIAG Core Tools, they are considered a standard throughout the automotive industry and are fundamental to producing quality products.  In fact, the aerospace, defense, pharmaceutical and medical industries are adopting core tools as their standard requirements throughout their supply chains.

Like tools in the workshop, there are lots of tools in the toolbox, but some tools get used over and over again. Those "go-to" tools can be thought of as core tools..

This set of core tools facilitates communications between suppliers and customers by providing a common language and process for designing and manufacturing products.

Core Tools Courses

Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) defines a process for creates a roadmap for developing new products complete with time-based milestones and decision points along the way. APQP is considered a core tool because it is a vehicle for suppliers and customers to work together when developing a new product. This helps assure that the product is delivered on time and with the highest added-value. New Product Introductions (NPIs) have a greater success rate when the principles of the APQP approach are followed.

Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) provides a formal, standardized framework for customer-supplier communications regarding the specification and quality requirements for products, parts and materials. As a core tool, PPAP ensures suppliers and customers both have the same understanding of product requirements and how those measures will be evaluated and confirmed.

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a core tool that uncovers potential failure modes, assesses the risk those failure modes and establishes action priorities to mitigate the highest priority risks. FMEAs can be conducted on both designs (DFMEA) and processes (PFMEA).

Statistical Process Control (SPC) gives operators a tool to monitor stable processes and to identify when the process is going out of control due to special causes so that problems can be addressed before product quality is affected. SPC is an important core tool because it sends signals with a capable process is statistically shifting outside of the range of normal, expected variation.

Measurement System Analysis (MSA) is critical core tool because it assures that the measurements you are taking are accurate. If the measurement system is not giving your accurate information, then it will be impossible to know if product is being produced meets the customers’ requirements.

Recommended Training Schedule

Because our training is online and available 24/7/365, you determine your training schedule, based on your needs and time available.  One approach might be to take one course a month, which means you could complete the Core Tools Training in 5 months or you could take the courses one after another an complete the training is under a week.  The choice is yours.

Core Tools Training (~29 hours of training; 4.5 training credits)

  • APQP
  • PPAP
  • Basic SPC
  • FMEA Training
  • Measurement System Analysis
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Fundamentals of APQP Course Outline

Lesson 0 | Overview of APQP

  • Overview of the five phases of the APQP Process.

Lesson 1 | Phase 1: Plan and Define the Program

  • Information and data are compiled to build a business case.
  • The output of this phase defines specifically what product will be studied.

Lesson 2 | Phase 2: Product Design and Development

  • The design of the product is fleshed out.
  • After the design is verified, a prototype is built, specifications developed and inputs for the process design are generated.

Lesson 3 | Phase 3: Process Design and Development

  • The manufacturing process for the product is designed.
  • Major outcomes include development of the process flow and layout.
  • Additionally, a Characteristics Matrix, PFMEA, Pre-Launch Control Plan and Process Instructions are developed.

Lesson 4 | Phase 4: Product and Process Validation

  • The process and the product design are validated.
  • The output product from the production run is used to evaluate the measurement system and check the process capability.

Lesson 5 | Phase 5: Feedback Assessment & Corrective Action

  • Start the cycle of continuous improvement.
  • Control charts can be used to identify special causes of variation, capability studies and the use of design of experiments can help reduce common cause variation.
  • Work to ensure the product fully meets customer's needs.

Lesson 6 | (Unofficial) Phase 6: Control Plans

  • Identify control factors, control points and control methods for the product and its corresponding manufacturing process.
  • Develop a comprehensive Control Plan.

Challenge

  • An assessment of the learner's progress in this course.

Fundamentals of APQP Course Objectives

  • Explain the purpose of the APQP process.
  • Describe the five phases of the APQP process.
  • List the steps necessary to prepare for an APQP effort.
  • Be aware of techniques used to identify the VOC (Voice of the Customer.)
  • Understand how Design-FMEAs can help reduce risks in the design phase and Process-FMEAs can help reduce process related risks.
  • Be familiar with a Design Verification Plan and Report.
  • Understand the sequential progress of Control Plans from Prototype to Pre-Launch to Production Phases.
  • Understand how Engineering Change Requests generate vital documentation.
  • Be familiar with a Team Feasibility Checklist (to conclude Phase 2.)
  • Select appropriate flowcharting and process mapping techniques to aid in design of the process.
  • Be familiar with a Characteristics Matrix to plot the relationship between product parameters and operational steps of the process.
  • Know the importance of Measurement System Analyses and a Preliminary Process Capability studies in evaluating the process and product output.
  • Be familiar with the Production Part Approval Process.
  • Be acquainted with a Quality Planning Sign-Off (that confirms completion of Phases 1 through 4.)
  • Know about tools and techniques that are used to continuously improve both the product its corresponding process.

PPAP Training Course Outline

Lesson 1 | PPAP Overview

  • Explains what the PPAP Process is.
  • Explores why a PPAP should be used.
  • Discusses when PPAP is needed.
  • Introduces how the PPAP Process is conducted.

Lesson 2 | Documentation Requirements

  • Explores each of the 18 Elements of the PPAP Documentation Package.
  • Explains "Reasons for PPAP Submission."
  • Describes PPAP "Submission Levels."

Lesson 3 | Reviewing the PPAP Process

  • Clarifies PPAP requirements.
  • Reinforces how the PPAP Process fosters customer-supplier trust.
  • Confirms that PPAP documentation is based on data.
  • Reviews documentation requirements for Bulk Materials.
  • Discusses customer-supplier negotiations.
  • Recaps requirements for part submission, retaining documentation, Master Samples and shipment samples.

Challenge

  • An assessment of the learner’s progress in this course.

PPAP Training Course Objectives

  • Understand what PPAP is, why it should be used and when it should be used.
  • Know how to complete PPAP documentation requirements.
  • Interpret when specific PPAP requirements apply and when they don’t.

FMEA Training Course Outline

Unit 1 FMEA Overview

Lesson 1 | Introduction

  • An overview of what an FMEA is; how the FMEA process works; and why an FMEA is used.

Lesson 2 | Purpose of an FMEA

  • An explanation of how an FMEA helps identify risks, prioritizes the risks relative to one another, and focuses efforts on an action plan to reduce the risks.

Lesson 3 | Tie to Quality Standards

  • An overview of the links between FMEAs and Quality Standards such as ISO 9000, QS-9000, and ISO/TS 16949.

Lesson 4 | DFMEA or PFMEA?

  • An explanation of the differences between a Design-FMEA and a Process-FMEA.

Lesson 5 | The FMEA Process

  • A preview of the 10 steps used to conduct an FMEA. The same basic steps apply to both a DFMEA and a PFMEA.

Lesson 6 | Assembling an FMEA Team

  • Helpful hints on assembling an effective FMEA team.

Unit 1 Challenge

  • An assessment of the learner's progress in this unit.

Unit 2 Design FMEAs

Lesson 1 | Design-FMEA Scope

  • How to clarify the scope for a DFMEA.
  • Details on how to use the DFMEA Scope Worksheet.

Lesson 2 | 10 Steps to Conduct a DFMEA

  • Step-by-step directions on conducting a DFMEA.
  • Guidance on the use of the FMEA Analysis Worksheet.
  • Techniques for customizing the Severity, Occurrence, and Detection Ranking Scales for a DFMEA.

Lesson 3 | DFMEAs and Control Plans

  • Using the DFMEA Analysis to develop input for a Process Control Plan.

Lesson 4 | Getting More Out of Your DFMEA

  • Tips on the best times in a product's life cycle to conduct a DFMEA.
  • Tips on how to use the results of an FMEA to trigger continuous improvement.

Lesson 5 | DFMEA Example

  • An example of the application of a DFMEA, working through all 10 steps.

Unit 2 Challenge

  • An assessment of the learner's progress in this unit.

Unit 3 Process FMEAs

Lesson 1 | Process-FMEA Scope

  • How to clarify the scope for a PFMEA.
  • Details on how to use the PFMEA Scope Worksheet.

Lesson 2 | 10 Steps to Conduct a PFMEA

  • Step-by-step directions on conducting a PFMEA.
  • Guidance on the use of the FMEA Analysis Worksheet.
  • Techniques for customizing the Severity, Occurrence, and Detection Ranking Scales for a PFMEA.

Lesson 3 | PFMEAs and Control Plans

  • Using the PFMEA Analysis to develop a proactive Control Plan.

Lesson 4 | Getting More Out of Your PFMEA

  • Tips on the best times and places to conduct a PFMEA.
  • Tips on how to use the results of an FMEA to trigger continuous improvement.

Lesson 5 | PFMEA Example

  • An example of the application of a PFMEA, working through all 10 steps.

Unit 3 Challenge

  • An assessment of the learner's progress in this unit.

FMEA Training Course Objectives

Unit 1 | FMEA Overview

  • Explain the purpose of conducting an FMEA.
  • Describe the link between FMEAs and ISO 9000, QS-9000, TS 16949 and other quality standards.
  • Determine when to use a Design-FMEA and when to use a Process-FMEA.
  • Explain the methodology of the FMEA process.
  • Assemble an FMEA team.

Unit 2 | Design FMEAs

  • Clarify the scope of a DFMEA.
  • Work through the 10 steps of a DFMEA.
  • Develop custom ranking scales for Severity, Occurrence, and Detection.
  • Determine which technology tools to use as aids in your DFMEA action plan.
  • Learn how to make the DFMEA into a living document.
  • Use the DFMEA establish the basis for a Control Plan.

Unit 3 | Process FMEAs

  • Clarify the scope of a PFMEA.
  • Work through the 10 steps of a PFMEA.
  • Develop custom ranking scales for Severity, Occurrence, and Detection.
  • Determine which technology tools to use as aids in your PFMEA action plan.
  • Link the PFMEA to a Control Plan.
  • Learn how to make the PFMEA into a living document.

Basic SPC Course Outline

Unit 1 Statistics Primer

Lesson 1 | Introduction to Variation

  • What variation is and why it's a problem in manufacturing.

Lesson 2 | Measuring Variation

  • Using a histogram to measure the variation in a process.

Lesson 3 | Patterns of Variation

  • Types of patterns of variation, what they tell you, and what to do about them.

Lesson 4 | Measures of Variation

  • Statistical measures of variation: Mean, range, and standard deviation.

Lesson 5 | Normal Curve

  • Properties of the normal curve and the 68, 95, 99.7 rule.

Lesson 6 | Stability

  • The importance of a stable process in manufacturing.

Unit Challenge

  • An assessment of the learner's progress in this unit.

Unit 2 Using Control Charts

Lesson 1 | What are Control Charts

  • What control charts are and why they are used.

Lesson 2 | What a Control Chart Looks Like

  • Common elements of all control charts.

Lesson 3 | Interpreting Control Charts & Taking Action

  • Out-of-control patterns and what to do when they occur.

Lesson 4 | Types of Control Charts

  • Variable and attribute control charts: Which do you use when?

Lesson 5 | Using Variable Control Charts

  • Calculating and plotting data on variable control charts and interpreting the chart.

Lesson 6 | Using Attribute Control Charts

  • Calculating and plotting data on attribute control charts and interpreting the chart.

Unit Challenge

  • An assessment of the learner's progress in this unit.

Unit 3 Process Capability Basics

Lesson 1 | What is Process Capability

  • What process capability means and why it's important.

Lesson 2 | Measuring Process Capability

  • The capability ratio, process capability index, and Cpk.

Unit Challenge

  • An assessment of the learner's progress in this unit.

Basic SPC Course Objectives

Unit 1 | Statistics Primer

  • Explain what variation in a work process is and why it is bad.
  • Describe key techniques for measuring variation - visual display and mathematical.
  • Identify key patterns of variation and explain what causes them.

Unit 2 | Using Control Chart

  • Understand the purpose of a control chart.
  • Identify key parts of a control chart.
  • Know how to collect and plot data on a control chart.
  • Be able to interpret and take action using a control chart.

Unit 3 | Process Capability Basics

  • Describe what is meant by a capable process.
  • Contrast the difference between an "in-spec" process and a "capable process."
  • Identify and explain the three main measures of process capability.

Measurement Systems Analysis Course Outline

Unit 1 Analyzing Measurement System Variation

Lesson 1 | Variation in Measurement Systems

  • A review of sources of measurement system variation.
  • An explanation of Type A and Type B evaluations of measurement uncertainty.
  • Exploration of the effects of too much variation on measurements.

Lesson 2 | Measurement System Linearity

  • How to measure gage/instrument linearity (both graphically and mathematically) to determine if a gage (or instrument) has linearity problems.
  • Taking action to deal with linearity problems.

Lesson 3 | Measurement System Stability

  • How to evaluate gage/instrument stability using a control chart. Taking action to deal with stability problems.

Lesson 4 | Repeatability & Reproducibility

  • How to conduct a GR&R study.
  • R&R analysis for non-destructive measurements.
  • Use of ANOVA for GR&Rs.
  • R&R analysis for destructive measurements.
  • R&R analysis for attribute measurements.
  • Graphical techniques to analyze R&R.

Lesson 5 | Improving Measurement Systems

  • Using a problem-solving approach to find the root causes of repeatability and reproducibility problems.
  • Using the GR&R data to help direct the problem-solving effort.
  • A description of some basic causes to investigate if gage/instrument repeatability is high.
  • A description of some basic causes to investigate if appraiser reproducibility is high.

Lesson 6 | MSA Software Considerations

  • Suggested selection criteria for features of software programs for analyzing GR&R studies.
  • An overview of some of the advanced measurement system analysis tools that a GR&R software package may have.

Unit 1 Challenge

  • An assessment of the learner's progress in this Unit.

Unit 2 Managing Measurement Systems

Lesson 1 | Formal Instruments Management

  • Why a gage/instrument calibration program is so important and makes good business sense.
  • Why a gage/instrument may not be accurate.
  • The components of a gage/instrument management system.

Lesson 2 | Sources of Measurement Error

  • Measurement errors due to gage/instrument calibration deficiencies.
  • Measurement error related to gage/instrument usage or damage.
  • Errors of judgment resulting in measurement errors.
  • GR&R issues and measurement error.

Lesson 3 | Calibration Practices

  • A discussion of common calibration practices.
  • Key elements of a calibration system as defined by ISO 10012-1.
  • Gage/instrument identification techniques.
  • Sources for calibration procedures and independent calibration laboratories.
  • Methods for determining intervals of calibration.

Lesson 4 | Calibration Standards & Tools

  • Traceability of calibration standards from primary national standards to working standards.
  • The role of transfer standards and working standards.
  • Measurement uncertainty and the calibration system.

Lesson 5 | Calibration Pitfalls

  • Common instrument management system pitfalls.
  • Proactive techniques to steer your organization clear of these pitfalls.

Lesson 6 | Records & Audits

  • Different types of records needed for a comprehensive instrument management system.
  • The role of audits to ensure your instrument management system is working.

Lesson 7 | Calibration Software Considerations

  • Benefits of using instrument management software.
  • Suggested selection criteria of software features for an instrument management software program.

Unit 2 Challenge

  • An assessment of the learner's progress in this Unit.

Measurement Systems Analysis Course Objectives

Unit 1 | Analyzing Measurement System Variation

In this unit, you will cover the techniques for analyzing the variation contained within a measurement system itself. After completing this Unit, you should be able to:

  • Know the common sources of measurement system variation.
  • Understand both Type A and Type B evaluations of measurement uncertainty.
  • Use both graphical and mathematical techniques to evaluate gage or instrument linearity and stability, and initiate action to address linearity or stability issues.
  • Know how to plan and conduct a GR&R study.
  • Perform R&R analysis for non-destructive measurements, for destructive measurements, and for attribute measurements.
  • Use ANOVA and graphical techniques for the R&R analysis.
  • Use the GR&R data to initiate action to improve the measurement device's repeatability and reproducibility.

Unit 2 | Managing Measurement Systems

In this unit you will learn about the importance of measurement device calibration management. Upon completion of this unit you will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of calibration and management.
  • Describe the primary sources of measurement error.
  • Show how the calibration of a measurement device is tied to ISO standards.
  • Specify your requirements for measurement instrument management software, if you choose to computerize your records.

Advanced SPC Course Outline

Unit 1 Advanced Control Charting

Lesson 1 | Setting Up Variable Control Charts

  • Calculating control limits and establishing a baseline chart.

Lesson 2 | Setting Up Attribute Control Charts

  • Setting up p, np, c, and u charts.

Lesson 3 | More Patterns of Instability

  • Explanations of Western Electric, AIAG, Nelson, and Boeing rules.

Lesson 4 | Setting Up Individuals and Moving Range Control Charts

  • Calculating control limits and establishing a baseline chart for IX and MR Charts.

Lesson 5 | Special Control Charts and Applications

  • Variations on the standard variable data control charts.

Unit Challenge

  • An assessment of the learner's progress in this unit.

Unit 2 Advanced Process Capability

Lesson 1 | Conducting a Process Capability Study

  • How-to conduct a process capability study.

Lesson 2 | Taking Action to Improve the Process

  • What to do if the process is not capable.

Lesson 3 | More Capability Indices

  • Pp and Ppk
  • Differences between Ppk and Cpk.
  • Cpm and Ppm

Lesson 4 | Process Capability Study Complications

  • Using individuals instead of subgroups
  • Compensating for tool wear
  • Skewed distributions
  • One-sided specs
  • Short Run processes

Lesson 5 | Six Sigma Capability

  • What is meant by Six Sigma Quality.
  • How to use Z-values.

Unit Challenge

  • An assessment of the learner's progress in this unit.

Advanced SPC Course Objectives

Unit 1 | Advanced Control Charting

  • Set up an x-bar and R control chart.
  • Interpret the control chart to determine if a process is stable.
  • Set up an attribute (p, np, c, or u) control chart.
  • Understand how to use the most common tests of instability.
  • Set up an Individuals and Moving Range control chart.
  • Explore options to the conventional x-bar and R control chart.
  • Select the most appropriate alternative format for a variable control chart.

Unit 2 | Advanced Process Capability

  • Prepare for and conduct a process capability study.
  • Use the results of a process capability study to improve the capability of the process.
  • Learn what to do if the process capability cannot be improved enough to meet the customer's requirements.
  • Know the differences between Ppk & Cpk.
  • Know how to handle process capability study complications and challenges.
  • Explain what Six Sigma Quality means.
  • Be able to use Z-values.

8D Problem-Solving Course Outline

Lesson 1 | Discipline D1

  • Use a Team Approach
  • Form an effective project team.
  • Define roles of the team members.
  • Set boundaries of freedom for the team.
  • Help get the team started up.

Lesson 2 | Discipline D2

  • Describe the Problem
  • Understand the scope and magnitude of the problem.
  • Develop a Problem Statement.
  • Recognize that the task is to investigate the problem, not jump to solutions.

Lesson 3 | Discipline D3

  • Interim Containment
  • Determine if Interim Containment is needed.
  • Design and put temporary measures into place to "buy time" until a permanent solution can be developed and implemented.
  • Verify that interim containment measures are working.

Lesson 4 | Discipline D4

  • Define the Root Causes
  • Use process mapping techniques to clarify the bounds of the process.
  • Identify relationships between causes and the resulting effect using Cause and Effect Diagrams.
  • Collect data and then use data display tools to visually analyze that data.
  • Use Investigative Tools to uncover more clues to the root cause.
  • Conduct confirmation runs to verify that the root cause has been found.

Lesson 5 | Discipline D5

  • Develop Solutions
  • Identify potential solutions that address the root cause.
  • Consider solution candidates that will prevent the root cause from recurring as well as detection approaches that warn if the problem may recur.
  • Remove candidates that are not practical, feasible or cost-effective from consideration.
  • Use decision matrices to select the most balanced solution.

Lesson 6 | Discipline D6

  • Implement the Solution
  • Understand how to develop Action Plans using either Simple or Complex Action Plans formats.
  • Learn how to use Project Management tools such as Activity Plans, PERT Charts and Gantt Charts to develop Action Plans to manage and track implementation of the solution.
  • Recognize that the solution has been not fully implemented until related documentation is updated and communication has been completed with all involved parties.

Lesson 7 | Discipline D7

  • Prevent Recurrence
  • Use techniques to ensure the problem does not recur.
  • Know which associated documents and systems to update.
  • Remove Interim Containment measures.
  • Recognize how powerful it can be to share LESSONs Learned.

Lesson 8 | Discipline D8

  • Congratulate the Team
  • Encourage the organization to recognize the problem-solving team for a job well done.
  • Ensure the problem-solving team recognizes those that have assisted them.

Course Challenge

  • An assessment of the learner's progress in this course.

8D Problem-Solving Course Objectives

  • Learn how to use the 8-Discipline process to work through and solve a problem in a team.
  • Use problem-solving tools and techniques to collect and analyze data, make decisions and evaluate the effectiveness of an implemented solution.
  • Document team progress and solutions using forms and worksheets.