This article describes the six fundamental factors that decide a tool's performance. These are mechanical design, grade of tool steel, machining procedure, heat treatment, grinding, and handling. A deficiency in any one of the factors can lead to a tool and die failure. The article presents a seven-step procedure to be followed when looking for the reason for a failure. A review of the results of the seven-point investigation may lead directly to the source of failure or narrow the field of investigation to permit the use of special tests.