Preparing for the new FMEA standard: this is what you need to know

As of June 3, 2019, the new FMEA standard is a reality. What exactly will change with the arrival of this and what it means for your organization can be read in this blog. But what exactly is the point of this directive? And what should you as an organization do with it in the short term? You’ll read about it in this blog.


Symbol realizes sustainable improvements at organizations resulting in shorter lead times, better quality, lower costs and employees who find more satisfaction in their work. Mee about our approach read on this page. Feel free to make an appointment to discuss the possibilities!

    Joint directive from AIAG and VDA

    The new directive is an amalgamation of two older automotive industry guidelines: those of the American AIAG and the German VDA. Both were introduced in 1995. And although the two were created for the same reason, the Americans and Germans had not previously come to a single joint directive. After all, they could never agree on important details. For example, the Germans wanted to require organizations to work with FMEA software, while the Americans advocated the use of Excel – which 70 percent of suppliers work with. Due in part to this issue, the first version of the directive has been on the shelf since 2017.

    Serving all clients with the same FMEA form

    But working with two guidelines is, of course, very cumbersome. So the fact that the bullet is finally in the bag is a very good sign. Previously, it depended on the customers you served according to which guideline your organization prepared FMEAs. Now your organization can serve all customers with the same FMEA form, prepared according to uniform rules.

    The new FMEA standard: a major impact on your work

    But the fact that there is now a uniform guideline did take quite a bit of work. In the Netherlands, as many as eighty percent of the suppliers worked according to the U.S. guideline. Chances are your organization is among them. In that case, the new FMEA standard will have a major impact on your work. Indeed, for anyone who previously followed the U.S. guideline, the most changes, as the new guideline is largely based on the German philosophy. Again, you can read in detail about what is changing in this blog.

    Implementation of the FMEA standard: rolling change

    But have no fear: the change that takes place is implemented very gradually. In other words, on a rolling change basis. The ball is now first in the court of the OEMs, the original equipment manufacturers. For each vendor, they decide how to use the new FMEA standard – only for new projects or also for existing FMEAs. That is then factored into the customer specific requirements your organization receives. Depending on your place in the “rankings” – are you a first tier, second tier or third tier supplier – it may very well be some time before you receive new customer-specific requirements from customers. One month, six months: it’s hard to tell. But that you will soon have to adopt the new directive is a fact.

    The advice: take charge yourself

    The advice: don’t let your customers lead you, but take charge of your own business right now. In other words, be sure to prepare now for what will change and research what consequences the new directive will have for your organization. If you have yet to delve into the common guideline when an initial customer delivers their customized customer specific requirements to you, you are simply too late. So make sure your back is not against the wall. For example, what you can do is attend the FMEA transition training that Symbol is organizing soon. In one day, you will then be fully retrained. By the way, this training is also a tip for your internal auditors, who obviously also need to know the changes within the new directive like the back of their hand.

    Bringing knowledge of the FMEA standard in-house

    Finally, it is good to know that there are external auditors who are already auditing for the new guideline. But as mentioned earlier, there is rolling change. So this is not necessary at all yet! Be aware of that and don’t be led by the auditor. This is another reason why it’s a good idea to get knowledge of the FMEA standard in house already in the short term. This is the only way for you to stay in control – both towards clients and during audits.

    Henk Broekman and Joost de Vries briefly recap in the excerpt below what the new FMEA guideline is all about.

    This blog was written by Henk Broekman, Managing Consultant at Symbol. Learn more about our FMEA training here.

    Share This