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Ford CSR: How to easily implement the new requirements with FMEA software

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Suppliers to the automotive industry know: New customer-specific requirements (CSR) mean work. This currently affects all Ford suppliers, who have to implement new CSRs of the US car manufacturer by the end of 2022 and ensure an "Ideal Living FMEA System" in their company. CSR (abbreviation for Customer Specific Requirements) are common in the automotive industry and include additional requirements for suppliers' quality systems. This increases and ensures the quality of processes and products, but entails increased effort and additional costs for the suppliers concerned.

In this blog article, you can read what Ford suppliers now need to know, how they can cleverly master the extra work, and how professional FMEA software can help them to effectively and reliably implement the necessary requirements.

Standards and customer-specific requirements in the automotive industry

Suppliers in the automotive industry must comply with the internationally valid standard IATF 16949, which sets out key requirements for the companies' quality management systems (QMS) and is a prerequisite for being allowed to work with OEMs in the automotive industry at all. IATF 16949 supplements the ISO 9001 QMS standard, and there are additional customer-specific requirements that suppliers must also meet. The measures are aimed at optimizing company processes along the entire supply chain, avoiding errors and ensuring that quality targets are met in the long term. This poses challenges for suppliers, but also offers opportunities: They must analyze and understand customer requirements and implement them in their QM system, but can also use them to optimize their own quality management system.

Ford CSR: Overview of the most important requirements

OEMs increasingly require their suppliers to work with a professional FMEA software. The reason: FMEA software is the most important tool for preventive failure analysis. With the help of a database-based FMEA, defects in products and processes can be avoided before they occur, thus guaranteeing compliance with important requirements and standards.

The new Ford CSR also focuses on the use of a software-based FMEA, which considerably simplifies many work processes. Ford is concerned with an "Ideal Living FMEA System" - in other words, a living FMEA instead of a static document. For suppliers, this means:

  • Creation of a Foundation FMEA
    A Foundation FMEA is also referred to as a Basic FMEA, Master FMEA or Best Practice FMEA and is created for each individual manufacturing process. All defects and changes made in previous processes must be documented in the Foundation FMEA, according to the Ford CSR. The Foundation FMEA acts as a large repository of knowledge that helps prevent errors from being repeated in new products and launches. Here, too, Ford is concerned with a "living, learning system.

  • Linkage and permanent alignment of Foundation FMEA, Part FMEAs, control plans, work instructions and other applicable documents
    Parts FMEAs are created from the Foundation FMEA: When a new part is introduced, parts FMEAs are derived from the corresponding Foundation FMEAs and further developed. According to Ford's new customer-specific requirements, all changes to the Foundation FMEA must be "inherited" by the Parts FMEAs and, conversely, must also be added to the Foundation FMEA. "Living FMEA" is also evident here: FMEAs, control plans, instructions, etc. must be linked and permanently reconciled. Suppliers must therefore use FMEA software that accesses a common database so that reconciliation of all relevant processes and data is possible.

  • Conducting reverse FMEAs
    According to Ford-CSR, all product launches must pass through a reverse FMEA, which is conducted on-site in the supply chain at the respective processes together with the machine operators and process engineers. The goal: to use cyclical reviews of existing FMEAs to find defects that were previously undetected and, in the long run, improve the overall manufacturing process.

  • Documentation of problem solving in Foundation-FMEA and Parts-FMEA according to the control loop principle
    The new Ford-CSRs follow the control loop principle Plan - Do - Check - Act, which permanently searches for the causes of errors in order to permanently and sustainably improve all systems and processes in a company. All findings must be incorporated into the Foundation FMEA and Parts FMEAs. The Foundation FMEAs thus become a structured, systematically developed store of knowledge.

Ford-CSR: How to reliably implement the requirement with CAQ software

Customer-specific requirements pose a challenge to suppliers, but with the help of clever FMEA software, they can be implemented easily and effectively, turning the extra effort into a lucrative benefit. This also applies to the new Ford CSRs. The prerequisite is that the FMEA software is embedded in a modular CAQ system and consistently follows the control loop principle. This brings various advantages not only to Ford, but also to you as a supplier.

Secure advantages: How you benefit from the Quality Center's FMEA

With the Quality Center's FMEA, you benefit from a clever tool that collects all experience and knowledge equity from your development and production, makes it available to the entire company as a powerful knowledge store - and thus fulfills Ford's requirements for an "Ideal Living FMEA System". Specifically:

  • Foundation FMEAs - prepared with building block technology: Adjustments and changes for product families as well as similar processes only have to be carried out once in the Foundation FMEA, in order to be transferred fully automatically to all parts FMEAs afterwards. With the principle of inheritance, you always keep your FMEAs up to date.
  • Consistent manufacturing documents - cleverly networked: In the future, maintain information in only one place and still use it in all documents. The linking of the Quality Center modules FMEA and Inspection Plan/Control Plan enables you to simultaneously edit Foundation FMEA, Parts FMEA, work instructions and control plans. In this way, you ensure consistency and freedom from errors.
  • Reverse FMEA – FMEA as knowledge base: An FMEA is often created only to fulfill a customer requirement. This turns the FMEA into a "dead document", and the potential of the FMEA as a database-supported, structured knowledge base that can be used throughout the company is wasted. The starting point for a reverse FMEA can be the review of audit results, evaluations with a focus on failure analyses or internal and external complaints - on site and in cooperation with all employees involved. The result: Cyclical reviews of your existing FMEA and true continuous improvement!
  • Problem solving process - alignment with reality: Document the solutions to problems in Foundation FMEA and Parts FMEAs. The direct feedback of a defect from the complaint into the FMEA as well as the possibility to report new defects to the FMEA creates the direct alignment with reality - all according to the control loop principle


Ford's new customer-specific requirements (CSR) must be implemented by the end of 2022 in order to continue working with Ford as a supplier. Suppliers in the automotive industry must deal with the CSR, adapt the processes in their company and work with suitable CAQ software. Because at the heart of Ford's CSR is an "Ideal Living FMEA System" that calls for modular, fully automated quality management for consistent and sustainable defect prevention - linked, consistent, and always up-to-date. Providers of high-quality CAQ software offer solutions here and help to implement Ford's customer-specific requirements in a targeted and reliable manner with clever FMEA software.

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