Overview IATF 16949: 2016

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IATF 16949: 2016 IATF 16949: Overview (Car carrying tulips)

This article provides an overview of the most important and globally accepted Quality standard for the automotive industry—IATF 16949: 2016. This overview provides a high-level information on the following:

  • What is IATF 16949: 2016?
  • What is a Quality Management System?
  • IATF 16949: 2016 vs ISO 9001: 2015
  • What are the benefits of IATF 16949: 2016 Certification?
  • What principles guide the IATF 16949: 2016?
  • What does IATF 16949: 2016 look like?

What is IATF 16949: 2016?

IATF 16949: 2016 is a standard that establishes the requirements for a Quality Management System (QMS), for the automotive sector.

The standard was developed by the International Automotive Action Force (IATF) whose members include some of the world’s largest car manufacturers such as BMW, Chrysler and General Motors.

The standard was created to:

  • harmonize the different assessments and certifications systems used worldwide in the supply chain for the automotive sector;
  • develop a Quality Management System that provides for a continuous product improvement, emphasizing defect prevention and reduce variation and waste;
  • help organizations ensure that their products consistently meet customer requirements and that quality and customer satisfaction are improved.

IATF 16949: 2016 outlines everything automotive suppliers and OEMs need to know to achieve best practices in designing, developing, manufacturing, installing, or servicing automotive products.

What is a Quality Management System?

The Quality Management System is a collection of policies, processes, documented procedures, and records that define the set of internal rules that govern how an organization creates and delivers its product or service to its customers.

The QMS must be tailored to the needs of the company and the product or service it provides.

The most widely accepted international standard that provides a framework for Quality Management Systems in most major organizations irrespective of industry is the ISO 9001: 2015

IATF 16949: 2016 vs ISO 9001: 2015

IATF 16949:2016 is not a stand-alone quality management standard but is implemented as a supplement to, and in conjunction with ISO 9001:2015.

IATF 16949: 2016 does not contain the ISO 9001:2015 text. The document contains only the automotive specific additional requirements; however, organizations are still required to comply with ISO 9001:2015. 

The IATF 16949 requirements are fully aligned with the ISO 9001:2015 high-level structure.

What are the Benefits of IATF 16949: 2016 Certification?

IATF 16949: 2016 certification is a requirement throughout much of the automotive supply chain. The certification is so crucial in the automotive supply chain that the number of certified companies has always increased irrespective of the state of the economy.

Any supplier, large or small, in the automotive supply chain can achieve this certification.

The benefits of IATF 16949 cannot be overstated; companies large and small have used this standard to great effect, discovering and securing tremendous cost and efficiency savings.

Here are just a few of these benefits:

  • Be eligible to work with big manufacturers or other clients that only work with IATF 16949 certified suppliers
  • Consistently provide products that meet applicable statutory, regulatory, and product safety requirements
  • Enhance customer satisfaction by continuously meeting customer specific requirements
  • Increase customer loyalty
  • Business expansion as a result of better reputation
  • Identify and address the risks associated with your organization
  • Find areas of improvement and resource savings by fully integrating the processes
  • Increase productivity and efficiency
  • Decrease internal costs
  • Improve shareholder trust by establishing a reputation of a socially responsible organization

What Principles Guide the IATF 16949: 2016?

The standard is based on the seven Quality Management Principles of the ISO 9001: 2015. They are as follows:

  1. Customer focus
    The primary focus of quality management is to meet customer requirements and to strive to exceed customer expectations.
  2. Leadership
    Leaders at all levels establish unity of purpose and direction and create conditions in which people are engaged in achieving the quality objectives of the organization.
  3. Engagement of people
    It is essential for the organization that all people are competent, empowered and engaged in delivering value. Competent, empowered and engaged people throughout the organization enhance its capability to create value.
  4. Process approach
    Consistent and predictable results are achieved more effectively and efficiently when activities are understood and managed as interrelated processes that function as a coherent system.
  5. Improvement
    Successful organizations have an ongoing focus on improvement.
  6. Evidence-based decision making
    Decisions based on the analysis and evaluation of data and information are more likely to produce desired results.
  7. Relationship management
    For sustained success, organizations manage their relationships with interested parties, such as suppliers.

What does IATF 16949: 2016 Look Like?

The IATF 16949 is split in 10 sections. The first three sections are introductory and the last seven contain the actual requirements for a Quality Management System. The seven main sections of the standard are as follows:

Section 4: Context of the organization
This section requires the organization to determine its context in terms of the Quality Management System and defines the requirements for determining the scope of the QMS, as well as general QMS requirements.

Section 5: Leadership
This section requires top management to demonstrate leadership and commitment to the QMS, along with defining corporate responsibility and the quality policy. The top management must assign process owners along with other roles and responsibilities.

Section 6: Planning
This section defines the requirements for addressing risks, opportunities, risk analysis, preventive actions, contingency plans, and quality objectives and plans to achieve them.

Section 7: Support
This section defines the requirements for the resources and supporting processes needed for an effective QMS. It defines requirements for people, infrastructure, work environment, monitoring and measuring resources, organizational knowledge, competence, awareness, communication, and documented information.

Section 8: Operation
This section deals with all aspects of the planning and creation of the product or service. This section includes requirements on planning, product requirements review, design, purchasing, creation of the product or service, and controlling the equipment used to monitor and measure the product or service.

Section 9: Performance evaluation
This section includes the requirements needed to make sure that you can monitor whether your QMS is functioning well. It includes assessing customer satisfaction, internal audits, monitoring products and processes, and management review.

Section 10: Improvement
The last section of the standard defines the requirements for continual improvement of the QMS, including requirements for nonconformities and corrective actions, problem solving, and error-proofing processes.

What are the Practical Steps to Becoming IATF 16949: 2016 Certified?

Organizations audited for IATF 16949 are also audited to the ISO 9001: 2015 requirements but are not required to have an ISO certificate because the IATF standard is inclusive of the ISO requirements.

However, manufacturers that produce a mix of automotive and non-automotive parts may be required to be ISO 9001:2015-certified by a non-automotive customer.

IATF 16949 certification for a company involves implementing a QMS based on the IATF 16949 requirements, and then hiring a recognized certification body to audit and approve the QMS as meeting the requirements of the IATF 16949 standard.

Starting with management support and identifying the customer requirements for the QMS, you will need to start with defining your quality policy, quality objectives, and quality manual, which together define the overall scope and implementation of the Quality Management System. Along with these, you will need to create the mandatory and additional processes and procedures necessary for your organization to properly create and deliver your product or service.

The creation of documents can be done internally by an organization, through hiring a consultant or purchasing standard documentation.

After finishing all documentation and its implementation, an organization needs to perform the following steps to ensure a successful certification:

Internal audit
The internal audit is in place for an organization to check its QMS processes. The goal is to ensure that records are in place to confirm compliance of the processes and to find problems and weaknesses that would otherwise stay hidden.

Management review
A formal review by the organization’s management to evaluate the relevant facts about the management system processes in order to make appropriate decisions and assign resources.

Corrective actions
Following the internal audit and management review, the organization needs to correct the root cause of any identified problems and document how they were resolved.

The company certification process is divided into two stages:

Stage One (documentation review) 

The auditors from the chosen certification body will check to ensure that the documentation meets the requirements of IATF 16949.

Stage Two (main audit)

Here, the certification body auditors check whether the organization’s actual activities are compliant with both IATF 16949 and the documentation by reviewing documents, records, and company practices.

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IATF 16949: 2016