The Automotive Industry Action Group (IATF) defines IATF 16949 as the world’s most widely used standards for the development and maintenance of a quality management system (QMS). One of the mandatory requirements under the IATF 16949 contingency plan is to make sure as a business, a contingency plan is ready and in place.

It then goes on to advise companies about how they can develop a IATF 16949 contingency plan and what that plan needs to contain. Since it has become a mandatory part of the standard since its latest iteration in 2016, a QMS cannot attain ISO/TS 16949 without a plan that fills the requirements.

IATF 16949 Contingency Plans: What Are They and How Can We Plan for Them?

Merriam Webster defines a contingency as something at may happen, but might not occur. In the context of IATF 16949, a contingency plan must be in place to exercise in the event of certain situations that may impact the company. A generic contingency plan may be formulated as follows:

  • Creating the policy statement that may be used for planning
  • Perform a Business Impact Analysis (BIA)
  • Seek controls to limit the impact of the event
  • Figure out what strategies can be implemented to slow or reverse the course of the event
  • Develop methods of testing and feedback to ensure that the contingency methods employed are functional


  • We’re skilled at helping businesses get their contingency plans to conform with the IATF 16949. If you’re looking for certification, we’d be glad to assist you in meeting the requirements, including developing a contingency plan.

    Contingency Requirements from IATF 16949

    There is a detailed listing of the requirements of a contingency plan in the IATF 16949 documentation. The wording and descriptions included in the report can be challenging to grasp. A few things immediately stand out in this development of contingency plans. Section 6.1.2.3 has a detailed outline for requirements when planning for contingencies, including:

  • Conditions that lead to disruption
  • Processes, equipment, services, and products
  • Labor issues or problems that arise from natural disasters


  • IATF 16949 contingency plans are only useful if there are ways for checking on their effectiveness. As a result, the constant testing and evaluation of data exist as a requirement for the contingency plans for any company seeking to get certified under the IATF 16949.

    Contingency planning suggests that the business should be able to maintain production in times of crisis. This availability further entails that the company has sufficient inventory for spare parts as well as raw materials to ensure that it is still able to produce in those situations. As a result, inventory management is crucial, as up-to-date counts on the volume of spare parts within the inventory need to be accurate. These counts allow the business to know whether they are prepared in case they need to enact the contingency plans.

    If a contingency plan fails its testing, it needs to be re-evaluated to see where the weakness within the system exists. Pinpointing the weakness can help a company develop a more robust contingency plan in the future. It also ensures that, in the event of a crisis, the business is prepared to leverage its contingency plan. If the idea were to fail then, it could ruin the entire company.

    Empowering a Business Even in Uncertain Times

    IATF 16949 is an international standard that helps businesses be prepared in the event of something happening that causes the company to falter. It establishes some breathing room in the case of problems that the company can’t foresee. In industries where the space between operating expenses and profits are slim, this can prove to be a decisive factor in whether a company can recover after a disaster. If your company isn’t IATF certified as yet, we’d be glad to help you get and maintain it. Contact us today to find out more!

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