Within the automotive industry, a standard for quality management exists defined by the ISO automobile standards. Originally slated as a technical specification, ISO/TS 16949 eventually evolved into IATF 16949 when updated standards were republished in 2016. The standard obtained the IATF name (quite different from what you’d expect from an International Standards Organization certification) because of the International Automotive Task Force (IATF).

The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) reported that in October 2016, the completed IATF 16949:2016 was published, and superseded the previous ISO/TS 16949. In this article, we intend to explain these automotive standards and suggest reasons why a company may want to seek certification in line with IATF 16949.

History of the IATF 16949

Quality management standards alongside an ISO automobile standard has existed since 1999. The technical specification was published in June of 1999 to offer companies within the industry a practical guideline to develop their quality assurance systems. It was based on the well-established ISO 9001 standard for quality management but tuned explicitly to the automobile industry.

The IATF 16949 guidelines don’t just cover automobile manufacture but extend to encompass any organization that operates within the automobile and motorcycle production industries. With the IATF’s push to make the technical specification into a full ISO standard, the IATF 16949 was published in 2016. To this day, the internationally recognized ISO automobile standard is used to manage defect prevention, deal with waste, and ensure continual process improvement within the supply chain.

Achieving IATF 16949 Certification

For a company to successfully achieve IATF 16949 certification, they need to conform to the outline of the published document. The first three sections are introductory, but the meat of the matter happens in the last seven parts, namely:

  • Context of the Organization: This section deals with requirements for the scope of the QMS, identification of the stakeholders both internal and external and their expectations.
  • Leadership: A QMS is only successful if those at the top of the organization embrace it. In this section, leaders must demonstrate their dedication to achieving the standard with their QMS.
  • Planning: How does the company seek to achieve its goals? The planning section deals with having the organization define risks, opportunities, and the risk analysis procedures they intend to adopt. Additionally, the company should state their intention to implement contingency plans and preventative actions.
  • Support: This section helps an enterprise to define its requirements for support personnel, documentation, and other resources it may find useful.
  • Operation: This section deals with the manufacture of goods, including guidelines for product and design reviews, manufacturing equipment standards, and the methods used to monitor the quality of the finished product.
  • Performance Evaluation: As with all ISO-based standards, constant improvement is a core part of the process. This evaluation section offers insight into how the business can examine its QMS to ensure that it adapts with each iteration.
  • Improvement: The final section guides companies on how they can improve the QMS. It includes tips for corrective actions, as well as error-proofing and problem-solving processes.

How Does a Business Achieve ISO Automobile Certification?

Since the process of IATF 16949 certification is similar to ISO 9001, the steps are nearly identical:

  • Internal Audit: The business checks their existing QMS processes to ensure that records demonstrate compliance with the documentation or discover any weaknesses that may exist within the process.
  • Management Review: Leaders of the company review the results of the input and output requirements per the standard including results of the recent internal audit and take appropriate actions to improve it by assigning resources and improving processes’ efficiency.
  • Corrective Actions: Management’s decisions are put into place to improve the QMS, making it compliant with the documentation and shoring up its weaknesses.
  • Stage One of Certification: Auditors from your chosen certification body will examine the company’s documentation to make sure that it complies with the requirements of the IATF 16949.
  • Stage Two of Certification: Next, the certification body will examine the evidence from implementation by Organization for compliance with the IATF 16949 standard.

ISO Automobile Standards can Change a Company’s Outlook

One of the reasons why companies opt for international standards certification is to improve their capabilities in line with the rest of the industry. IATF 16949 is a way for automotive manufacturers as well as any business within the industry’s supply chain to manage the quality of its final product. This quality assurance goes a long way towards promoting the company’s skill and raising its reputation among others within the industry. If you’re interested in finding out more about the IATF 16949 standard or what an automobile ISO can mean for your business, contact Sync Resource today!

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