Implementing IATF 16949

Suppliers to the automotive sector have a new quality standard to comply with.  In less than 45 weeks, TS16949 will expire and every automotive supplier will need to conduct a transition audit that addresses both the IATF 16949 and ISO 9001:2015 standards. In this relatively short period of time, companies will have to review their processes against the new standards, close any gaps identified, be audited by a Certifying Body, and address any non-conformances identified.

These new standards present the most significant change to automotive industry quality systems and sub-tier purchasing requirements in over a decade.  For insight on this topic, we asked Murray Sittsamer, President of The Luminous Group, to share his thoughts.  Since 1999, The Luminous Group has been helping manufacturers on issues such as quality, supplier quality, and operational excellence. According to Sittsamer, “IATF 16949 contains new requirements that are typically absent in companies certified to the phased-out TS 16949 Standard.  Company leadership needs to understand these new requirements and stay involved every step of the way to ensure systems are robust enough to meet the new requirements. Registrar audits will be digging deeper to ensue OEMs are protected against risks.”

Manufacturers Supplying the Automotive Industry Should:

  1. Make sure your transition audit dates are confirmed. There will be a rush of sites seeking transition audits before the September 2018 deadline.  Already, OEMs are notifying suppliers that there is no grace period and they will become Non-Sourceable if they lack IATF 16949 certification after the September 2018 deadline.
  2. Understand the new requirements and conduct a gap analysis vs. current practices. Create a high-level transition work plan, working back from the date of your transition audit. Consider bringing in an outside expert to review your plan and make sure it isn’t over-scoped or requirements are misunderstood.
  3. Ensure leadership is involved in addressing any gaps that are identified. The new requirements of IATF 16949 likely cannot be addressed at the working group level –plan for ongoing leadership engagement throughout the transition.
  4. Consider how the new IATF 16949 and ISO 9001 management practices can add value throughout your company. Aligned business processes, risk-based thinking, and continuous improvement are good themes in general. 

Purchasing Organizations in the Automotive Industry should:

  1. Closely study section 8.4 of the IATF 16949 standard. This section addresses the requirements for defining how your suppliers – including sister facilities, distribution partners, service providers, etc. – are selected and managed.  It requires that you monitor, and continuously improve, the effectiveness of how you select and manage suppliers.
  2. Budget the resources necessary to ensure your suppliers understand the new requirements and have the necessary systems in place to implement them. This is likely Purchasing’s greatest challenge in the transition to IATF 16949.
  3. Document your procurement life cycle. A few basic questions to address are:
    • How do you define the requirements for the things you buy?
    • How do you select your suppliers and how do you monitor their performance?
    • How do you continuously improve your external provisioning process?
  4. Ensure you pass down all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, as well as any special product characteristics, to your supply chain.

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