by Greg Creason | Jun 15, 2017

Data from AIAG’s Core Tools Self-Assessment indicates that while participation and scores are on the rise, there is still significant room for improvement when it comes to mastering the core tool processes.

SOUTHFIELD, Michigan, June 15, 2017 – In acknowledgment of the need to consistently maintain standardized processes across global supply chains, The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) has updated an essential quality resource to be more internationally inclusive.

AIAG’s Core Tools Self-Assessment—a free online survey for members and non-members alike—allows participants to test their knowledge of the core tool areas: Advanced Product Quality Planning & Control Plan (APQP), Product Part Approval Process (PPAP), Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA), Measurement System Analysis (MSA), and Statistical Process Control (SPC). The building blocks of automotive quality, these core tools provide the framework for planning, risk identification, process monitoring, and measuring, and allow product teams to ensure the safety and effectiveness of their materials and products.

Upon completion of the self-assessment, confidential results enable users to identify areas of strength, as well as areas where additional training is needed to help improve scores.

Now available in eight different languages, the assessment can be used on a broader scale than ever before, directly benefiting international automotive companies as they strive to implement the same industry-wide practices and standards at all locations. “The additional language offerings have increased the number of exams completed worldwide and have improved the exam scores with people who use English as a second language,” explains Brian Martensen, AIAG’s Sr. Program Manager of Quality Products & Services.

Since this resource was initially introduced in 2012, participation has steadily increased with each consecutive year. To date, over 5,400 assessments have been completed, and in 2017 alone, the total number of completed exams is projected to be over 2,600.

Interestingly, participant demographics show that the greatest demand for this assessment comes from the automotive supply base, with 88% of users specifically identifying their company as an automotive supplier.

Furthermore, the majority of participants (78%) are from the North American region, though data reflects increasing engagement in areas of Asia, Europe, and South America. Including Africa, average scores are relatively consistent across the five continents where the assessment tool is being used. Only a 5% spread separates the highest scoring region, Asia, from the slightly lower average score in South America.   

Just over 3,000 exams have been completed in the U.S., in addition to 738 in Mexico and 464 in Canada. Individuals in China and India completed 204 and 190 exams respectively, while Brazil, the UK, Germany, France, and Thailand rounded out the top ten responding countries.

Along with participation, test scores have also improved over time, setting a positive trend, and further emphasizing the importance of these core tools. The most significant increase is evident with APQP/PPAP, where the average score has increased from 71% in 2012, to 75% today. Based on average scores, FMEA is the strongest core tool in the industry at nearly 78%, while MSA is the weakest, at 66%. This disparity proves there is still work to be done.

To ensure that these scores continue to improve, AIAG offers a partner resource to the assessment: the Core Tools Overview eLearning. This training module, which is free for AIAG members, allows participants to work at their own pace, and uses periodic testing to ensure comprehension. On the benefit of the eLearning resource, Brian Martensen, AIAG’s Sr. Program Manager of Quality Products & Services notes that “in most cases there is noticeable improvement in the average scores after completing the eLearning class.”

AIAG offers these complimentary tools in conjunction with training classes to support ongoing industry objectives pertaining to consistency of knowledge and practices. For more information on the Core Tools Self-Assessment, eLearning, visit, or join us for the AIAG Quality Summit, September 19-20, at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, MI.

About AIAG
Created by the auto industry for the auto industry, AIAG is a not-for-profit organization with 35 years of experience working with OEMs, suppliers, service providers, government, and academia to collaboratively drive down costs and streamline the complexity of the supply chain by developing global standards and harmonizing business practices. Learn more at, or visit for details on membership.