Updates 2019: VDA volumes

Category: product safety, product liability, contract law Industry: automotive Author: Year:

VDA volumes on document management and FMEA

Two revised VDA volumes are due out at the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019: Vol. 1 and Vol. 4

VDA Red Volume 1 describes the control and archiving of documented information and encourages companies to develop a 'document retention policy' of their own. From a legal point of view, the classification of documents and their control are aimed at making it possible to locate and utilise relevant documents fast, and in a purposeful and above all functional way. In other words, it's a kind of 'digital filing cabinet'. For suppliers, it seems at the first glance that the elaboration of such a policy in conformity to the VDA standards will cause a great deal of work. But it will also provide opportunities to act with more confidence in dealings with OEMs – and to back this up with evidence. In dealings with suppliers too, a structure of this kind is supportive. When all is said and done, a systematisation scheme like this brings advantages for all those involved, not least in the uncomplicated handling of documents and records – a.k.a. document management. 

Having said that, adjustment to a systematisation scheme that conforms to the requirements of the VDA will indeed mean a fair amount of work in both planning and implementation. But it will be worth the effort, since if it is applied intelligently it will lead to the minimisation of risks and the reduction of costs. Moreover, it is as we see it a good opportunity to establish intelligent software-based systems which work independently to the greatest possible extent. We are currently working with cooperation partners on solution options and will be providing you with information about this in the near future.

VDA Red(-Blue) Volume 4, which has now been announced for the first quarter of 2019, is intended to help optimise the complex product development and quality management in the automobile industry and reconcile the FMEA standards as specified by the VDA and the AIAG. For example, the changes now include six FMEA stages instead of five, new assessment catalogues, a new system for the prioritisation of tasks (AP) and a standardised pre-printed form. It also features monitoring and system reactions (FMEA-MSR), so that evidence of the professional analysis of technical risks can be provided. 

FMEA continues to be a helpful tool for the identification and assessment of the hazard and damage potential of a product defect, both in product development and in series production, and for doing justice to product responsibility in the long term by means of the measures derived. Apart from training the employees concerned in the company, however, it would also seem to us to be important and advisable to identify the context of an FMEA from the point of view of liability law, and to connect up the relevant departments within the company. All too often, FMEAs are only carried out for their own sake and without appropriate legal background knowledge, which not only contradicts their purpose, but also often leads to consequences which are unnecessary or even absurd. Reuschlaw will be holding several events in 2019, at which this knowledge will be passed on.

So stay tuned!

[January 2019]