SOUTHFIELD, MI, November 20-A new program launching in early 2009 will allow suppliers to certify to the Automotive Industry Action Group’s (AIAG) Quality Measurement Data (QMD) standard, representing a way to prove to customers that they have achieved total interoperability.

AIAG will be conducting the certifications, which will examine an automotive supplier’s proper use and adherence to the QMD specification.

The QMD Certification program springs from AIAG’s quality measurement data project, which created a simple, flexible and generic nonproprietary standard for variable, attribute and binary quality measurement data from any source. The year-long project was completed in February 2008 with the creation of an XML-based solution known as the AIAG QMD Specification.

The specification has support from General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., and Chrysler LLC, as well as from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and could eventually become an ISO standard. Prior to the QMD Specification, quality measurement data reporting output could be shared in up to 1,500 different proprietary formats, a situation that made OEM-supplier quality data communications slow, difficult and open to error.

“Writing an internal translator for just one proprietary format costs around $5,000,” says John Horst, metrology interoperability project manager for NIST, who played an active role in developing the QMD specification, “and the need to write such a translator comes up about 50 times per year. Therefore, for just one SPC supplier, the average cost is about $250,000 per year.”

Even conservatively speaking, the new AIAG QMD standard and certification could save the industry as a whole millions of dollars. “Of course, the savings will only be realized if OEMs and their tier suppliers require QMD throughout the enterprise,” says Horst.

“The lack of standardization has created considerable waste and redundancy from continual data re-integration for gage and reporting solution providers who had to integrate data to suit limitless customer requirements,” explains Akram Yunas, AIAG program manager. “With the launch of the QMD specification, the wasted time, effort, and money resulting from QMD shared in hundreds of different formats has been eliminated.”

Yunas says AIAG’s new QMD certification program provides validation that a supplier’s quality measurement reporting tools are in compliance with the QMD standard. It is predicted to save the automotive industry up to $50 million a year.

Although details of the program are still being finalized, Yunas says a supplier will be able to register for certification via AIAG’s Web site. The supplier will submit QMD-compliant data files to AIAG, along with the process description and the level of QMD specification for which the supplier is seeking certification. AIAG will review the submitted information and start the certification process.

Yunas says the AIAG QMD specification is a truly “generic” industry standard that will fully meet the special needs of every customer and every existing enterprise. The new certification program will allow suppliers to show their OEM customers that they are committed to complete and total interoperability.

For more information on the new QMD specification as well as AIAG’s activities and initiatives in engineering and product development, contact Akram Yunas at[email protected]