IATF16949 Automotive Quality Management System

What is IATF16949? How Did it Start?
The IATF16949 standard is aimed at the automotive industry and supporting functions. The standard aids in the development of a quality management system that provides for continual improvement, emphasizing defect prevention and the reduction of variation and waste in the supply chain.

The IATF16949 standard is based off of ISO 9001 and the first and only revision of the standard was in 2002 – ISO/TS 16949:2002. Subsequent revisions of the standard included ISO/TS 16949:2009, and the most recent IATF16949:2016.

The sections of the IATF16949 standard are as follows:

  • Section 1 – Scope
  • Section 2 – Normative Reference
  • Section 3 – Terms and definitions
  • Section 4 – Context of the Organization
  • Section 5 – Leadership
  • Section 6 – Planning
  • Section 7 – Support
  • Section 8 – Product Realization
  • Section 9 – Operation
  • Section 10 – Performance Evaluation

What type of Businesses are accredited?
The most common type of businesses adhering to IATF16949 are:

  • Automotive production facilities
  • Suppliers to automotive companies like GM, Ford, Chrysler, etc.
  • Replacement or Service part organizations

IATF16949 provides the framework to improve the system and process quality, to increase customer satisfaction, to identify problems and risks in production process and supply chain, to eliminate its causes, and to examine taken corrections and preventive measures for their effectiveness. The focus lies not on the discovery, but on the avoidance of errors

What are the Auditing requirements?
Becoming and maintaining certification to the IATF16949 standard requires four types of auditing:
1. Quality Management System Audits – Audits by internal or contracted staff that are specifically trained to the IATF16949 standard and internal procedures/requirements.
2. Mfg. Process Audits – Focused audits on each manufacturing process.
3. Product Audits – Auditing using customer-specific criteria to verify conformity to specified requirements.
4. External Audits – Auditing by an external certification body.

Internal Auditing is key to understanding compliance of the company to the requirements of the IATF16949 standard. It requires review and assessment to verify that the current quality system is effective – and if not, to correct and prevent any identified issues. IATF16949 has very clear requirements regarding the internal audit process, as evidenced by the excerpt below from Section 9.2.2:

“The organization shall have a documented internal audit process. The process shall include the development and implementation of an internal audit programme that covers the entire quality management system including quality management system audits, manufacturing process audits, and product audits.”

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