Understanding the ISO/TS 16949 Automotive Quality Standards

Understanding the ISO/TS 16949 Automotive Quality Standards

Automotive manufacture is a field that requires the utmost attention to quality. Automotive quality standards have been developed by The International Standards Organization (ISO) with the ISO/TS 16949 standards to offer a quality management, pertaining to the automotive industry. ISO/TS 16949 was derived from the ISO 9001 standard for quality management systems and retained many of the same core concepts found in the parent standard. This article explores what ISO/TS 16949 offers to manufacturers and how companies can seek to achieve and maintain certification over the long term.

The History of ISO/TS 16949

The ISO has been implementing a standard that takes its core idea from the well-established ISO 9001 standard and applies it to other areas. This standard, the ISO/TS 16949, was initially developed in conjunction with the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) in 1991. Since its initial conception, it has become one of the most widely used automotive quality standards for automotive manufacturers globally. As noted previously, the ISO 9001 standard focuses on the constant iterative improvement of processes. The ISO/TS 16949 continues this tradition by ensuring that each of a company’s operations can be improved upon with each internal audit.

A Unique Approach with International Recognition

No automotive manufacturer’s plant is the same as another’s, and because of that, the ISO/TS 16949 automotive quality standards seek to offer guidelines that can be applied to any manufacturing environment. The guidelines are based on best-practices in plants run by the members of the IATF, which include industry leaders such as BMW, Renault, GM, Ford, and Chrysler, among others. For businesses interested in adopting the ISO/TS 16949 standard, there are several benefits that they can look forward to, including:

  • International Trade Opportunities: Many developed and developing nations understand the need for having a standardized automotive manufacturing process and tend to lean towards granting contracts to businesses with the ISO/TS 16949 certification.
  • Improve Process Efficiency: Time is money in the automotive industry, but there is a limit to how efficient a plant can be. With the ISO/TS 16949, manufacturers balance their plant to maximize efficiency while minimizing risk.
  • Waste Reduction: Green manufacturing is an idea that many automotive manufacturers are trying to implement. The ISO/TS 16949 standard offers guidelines to reduce their waste production and carbon footprint.
  • More Attractive As an Investment Option: Automotive industry investors look at ISO/TS 16949 as the gold standard to show if a business is worth putting money into. If a company can achieve and maintain this certification, it demonstrates that it’s an efficient business with a view encompassing the long term.

How To Achieve ISO/TS 16949 Automotive Quality Standards Certification

Several metrics are required for a business to achieve certification under ISO/TS 16949.

  • Involvement of top management in quantifiable ways of developing and implementing the business plan.
  • Involvement of Human Resources to ensure that competency requirements are met, and proper training is provided to employees.
  • Motivation for employees to reach objectives and seek continual improvement of business processes.
  • Processes to ensure that employees understand where they fit into the system and how relevant their actions are to the implementation’s overall success.
  • Focusing on product design processes.
  • Developing suppliers in line with the standards.
  • Ensuring that both internal and external laboratories are controlled
  • Feedback monitoring of customer satisfaction and constant audits of the product to ensure quality.
  • Analyzing data effectively to help drive improvement within the system.

The Future of the Standard

The IATF’s current international automotive quality standards named the IATF 16949:2016 supersedes the ISO/TS 16949 in major automotive manufacturing plants. We covered the IATF 16949 in a previous post. However, the IATF 16949:2016 relies on and references the ISO 9001 standards and is closely related to the ISO/TS 16949. The metrics used for attaining the certification are the same. If you’re interested in learning how ISO 9001 applies to the IATF 16949:2016, message Sync Resource today! We’d be glad to guide you on your road to attaining international certification.

How To Understand the Important ISO Automobile Standards

How To Understand the Important ISO Automobile Standards

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.

A Painless Guide to the Difference between ISO 9001 and IATF 16949

A Painless Guide to the Difference between ISO 9001 and IATF 16949

A Painless Guide to the Difference between ISO 9001 and IATF 16949

To fully understand the difference between ISO 9001 and IATF 16949, let’s begin with the most general observations. IATF 16949 was initially developed by a group of manufacturers to provide better products to automotive consumers.

By contrast, the scope of ISO 9001 is much broader, including over one million companies spanning various industries. Both standards, however, aim to improve the quality of a product with a customer focus. There are many similarities despite this apparent difference between ISO 9001 and IATF 16949.

To dig a bit deeper into the difference between ISO 9001 and IATF 16949, we want to explore the principles of ISO 9001 and IATF 16494 to get at their inherent differences. In what follows, you will learn:

  • The basic requirements of ISO 9001 and IATF 16949,
  • The critical focus areas of both criteria, and
  • Essential distinctions between both standards.

Basic Requirements of ISO 9001 and IATF 16949

While you might think that ISO 9001 and IATF 16494 are exclusive to each other, it turns out considerable overlap can be noted within their criteria requirements. In many cases, a company that observes both guidelines, like one in the automotive sector, will need to satisfy each standard. It helps that IATF 16949 is based on ISO 9001, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a considerable difference between ISO 9001 and IARD 16949.

ISO 9001

Because ISO 9001 is a generic set of requirements intended to apply to any organization regardless of size or type of product, service, or process, the standard requires two fundamental things:

  1. The organization needs to show it can consistently provide satisfying products and services to customers while conforming to regulations.
  2. The enterprise must also aim to enhance satisfaction through continual improvement processes while conformity is assured.

These requirements are defined under eight sections for implementing a satisfactory quality management system. The most apparent difference between ISO 9001 and IATF 16949 is their specificity. In comparison, the IATF 16494 is more specific with its conditions since it focuses on producers in the automotive industry specifically.

IATF 16949

The IATF 16949 applies to automotive producers that want to improve customer experience through quality management principles.

This is an essential difference between ISO 9001 and IATF 16949 (which we will touch on later in this article). The requirements of IATF 16949 are supplemental to the ISO 9001. One is derived from the other, with the ISO 9001 standard forming the base requirements for any quality management system. Let’s dig into the scope of IATF 16949 requirements.

The requirements of IATF 16949 focus on these critical areas:

  • Continual process improvement,
  • Effective defect prevention,
  • Waste-reducing practices,
  • Proven product safety,
  • Industry risk management,
  • Planning for contingency and even
  • Management of lower-level suppliers.

You’ll see that demonstrating these elements in your own quality management system and practices is much more detailed than the general ISO 9001 conditions.

Key Focus Areas of ISO 9001 and IATF 16949

Since IATF 16494 is based on ISO 9001, it’s apparent that there would be considerable similarity in requirements. Both emphasize the following focus areas: organizational context, leadership, planning, support, operation, evaluation, and improvement.

Organizational Context

Contextualizing your organization’s operations means understanding the needs and expectations of all interested parties.


Under leadership, both standards establish the need for commitment and clearly outlined policies, organizational roles, and final authorities.


The planning section outlines how actions address opportunities as well as risks. There are clear quality objectives and plans to achieve them through systematic changes.


To consider support, both standards place a heavy burden on companies to achieve resources, competence, and awareness. This means training, audits, and even employee empowerment.


Here we include conditions for products, services, and design and development. This means consideration of operational planning, manufacturing processes, design validation, prototype management, and outputs.


Monitoring, analysis, and measurement are essential in the evaluation section of these standards. They demand an internal audit and management review for all products and processes. It’s here that you would identify statistical tools of analysis of customer satisfaction as well.


Finally, improvement deals with nonconformity issues and the need for corrective action to produce incremental change and advancement. This step entails error-proofing and dealing with customer feedback and complaints.

Essential Difference between ISO 9001 and IATF 16949

In essence, IATF 16949 is a quality management standard specifically for the automotive sector but still fulfills the essential criteria of ISO 9001. IATF 16949 was created to synchronize certification worldwide for all automotive supply chains and assessments. Interestingly, however, the IATF is a document that would not exist without ISO 9001. This primary difference between ISO 9001 and IATF 16949 should be understood.

As we have noted before, the conditions and criteria of IATF 16949 must be implemented in conjunction with ISO 9001, making it an additional set of requirements. This signals a crucial difference between ISO 9001 and IATF 16949 even when both systems have the essential function of improving experiences, products, and processes.

Learn more about ISO 9001 and IATF 16949 Differences

While this introductory comparison is instructive for learning more about the structure, requirements, and goals of these two essential sets of criteria, there may be a need to learn more from more experienced quality management professionals about the difference between ISO 9001 and IATF 16949.

Guide to the difference between ISO 9001 and IATF 16949
Contact Sync Resource today for a consultation on how you can meet quality standards, and see how we can improve your practices to stimulate constant and incremental improvement to satisfaction and services.


Must Know IATF 16949 Safety Requirement

Must Know IATF 16949 Safety Requirement

Must Know IATF 16949 Safety Requirement

IATF 16949 has complete harmonization for all the requirements of industrial management systems related to the automotive sector. This specialization further strengthens its image in the automotive manufacturing industry.

The International Automotive Task Force (IATF), as noted on their website, is an ad hoc collaboration of automotive manufacturers and trade associations. The goal of the IATF was to establish standards, such as the IATF 16949 safety requirement, for the entire automotive community. In automotive manufacturing, safety is always a significant concern. Automobiles have increased their safety records as time has gone by, but that doesn’t mean they are less dangerous overall. Many of these safety measures have come because of manufacturers’ proactive decisions to ensure that the product is safe for consumer use. 

The IATF 16949 system’s latest iteration was published in 2016 and outlines a series of safety requirements for manufacturers. It addressed previous issues with companies not being able to produce proper documentation of their safety equipment development. As a result, the clauses included in the latest IATF 16949 rules require a slew of manufacturers’ criteria to follow. The IATF’s definition of product safety states that it addresses the standards related to the design and manufacture of any product to ensure that it does not present a hazard or cause harm to consumers.

How To Maintain Safety Culture Within an Organization for the IATF 16949 Safety Requirement

Maintaining a culture of safety within the company is the best way to ensure that the company conforms to the requirements of the IATF 16949 safety requirement. For a business to consider consumer safety as a priority, it must also look at several other facets of its development internally.

1) Implement a Corporate Safety Policy

One of the things that the IATF 16949 safety requirement highlights in its publications is that safety shouldn’t rest with on single department. Each department must be responsible for its own safety standards. Upper management must oversee these changes and ensure that they conform to the overall company policy regarding safety.

2) Determination of Hazards

Hazards exist within the company as well as outside of it. By evaluating risks, a company gets the chance to deal with the issue altogether. If the problems persist, the manufacturer may be required to perform mitigation to ensure that it does not present a severe problem. Once they become known, hazards should be categorized on the risk level they present to workers or consumers.

3) Independent Safety Review

While developing a safety policy within the company’s walls starts implementing protective measures, external validation is a natural part of the policy’s evolution. Many companies overlook this crucial step, and, as a result, their safety policies become outdated and fail to notice critical information. Outside help is crucial to pinpointing these issues. Businesses that take too long to get external validation risk introducing flaws within their internal systems.

4) Promoting a Culture of Safety

An automotive company’s safety procedures need to be communicated with the clients, not merely through words but through actions. It would not do to have an auto manufacturer’s staff involved in an accident on-premises due to speeding, for example. Cultivating a culture of safety starts with the company itself. Encouraging its employees to operate their motor vehicles safely sends the right message to the consumer. If someone that works for the manufacturer is taking precautions, there’s no reason why the average driver shouldn’t do the same.

Developing Safety Personnel Internally

There can be dozens of departments, each with scores of individuals within an auto manufacturer’s company. The best way to ensure that safety culture is maintained is by designating each department’s members as “safety champions.” This delegation allows each department to have a point-person on hand to consult in the event of a safety concern or question. We are dedicated to helping our clients conform to safety guidelines as a part of their IATF 16949 safety requirement certification. Consult us today, and let’s help you shore up your internal security!

Vital IATF 16949 Risk Assessment

Vital IATF 16949 Risk Assessment

Vital IATF 16949 Risk Assessment

IATF 16949 Risk Assessment will help you address potential risks and identify opportunities. IATF standard requires businesses to understand the potential of identified risks deeply and to mitigate or minimize them.

What is IATF 16949 Risk Assessment and Risk Analysis?

IATF 16949 covers the process of identifying the risks and evaluating the potential of the impact that could occur due to those risks. It also designs the strategies to mitigate such risks by analyzing them.

After risk analysis has been done, one needs to manage the risks as soon as possible by performing the following steps in sequence:

  1. Identify potential risks that exist in the system
  2. Analyze the potential risks that are being identified
  3. Rank the analyzed risks
  4. Treat the ranked risks and devise a plan to mitigate and eliminate them
  5. Monitor and review the risk management plan
  6. Periodically review your risk management plan with a cross-functional team

Risk-Based Approach in IATF 16949

IATF 16949 risk assessment includes several clauses related to risk. After identifying risks, determine the likelihood of failure, along with the implementation of industry best practices to establish a safer workplace. To implement a risk-free environment, the support of top management is needed. Here are the ways in which senior management can support a team to set up a risk-free workplace:

  1. Execute reviews of contingency plans
  2. Motivate process owners
  3. Escalate process safety wherever possible
  4. Ensure the accomplishment of performance of customer targets and all quality objectives
  5. Implement the responsibility for corporate initiatives

Criteria of Risk Evaluation

There are two criteria for evaluating the potential risks that exist in any organization, which are:

  1. Based on severity: how serious are the potential risks?
  2. Based on probability: what is the probability of the risks occurring?

IATF 16949 Risk Assessment Tools

Tools that are used for risk management are:

The Spectrum of Businesses That IATF 16949 Covers

The requirements of IATF spreads to the following type of businesses:

  1. Automobile manufacturers
  2. Automotive part designers and manufacturers
  3. The quality management industry of automobile industries
  4. The distribution centers of Automobile parts
  5. The design centers of Automobile parts

Change Management in IATF 16949

While implementing a risk mitigation plan, there is a change probability. It is essential to manage such changes in IATF 16949 Risk Assessment accordingly:

  1. Change may occur in existing operations to assess manufacturing feasibility
  2. Initial product design approval after evaluating design changes
  3. Control plan for transition may exist, and it may affect the final product, manufacturing processes, lab procedures, a mode of measurement, logistics, and supply chain, the volume of production changes, or analysis of risks
  4. Periodic frequency of internal audits
  5. Based on consumer feedback

IATF 16949 Clause 6.1: Actions to Address Risks and Opportunities

Clause 6.1 addresses the risks and opportunities when the QMS (Quality Management System) has been planned. Find the details below about clause 6 of IATF 16949 concerning risk management.

Clause Risk Analysis

Use any information obtained from a product recall, risk analysis, observations, or nonconformity from previous audit reports, consumer complaints, and the outcomes of risk analysis reports. Risk analysis should be teamwork and must work to identify risks and devise a risk mitigation plan. The risk assessment team should periodically review the risk mitigation implementation plan and evaluate its effectiveness.

Clause Prevention Action

The goal of devising preventive action is to lessen the negative impact of risk and allow appropriate severity of potential identified risks. Preventive actions are aligned with QMS planning or re-engineered QMS.

Clause Contingency Plans

IATF 16949 Risk Assessment provides a systematic approach for risk. IATF 16949 Risk Assessment helps you define and prepare contingency plans with a process for notification to the customer or any other interested parties.

Identifying and evaluating risks related to manufacturing processes or any particular risk identified from an external source (external fire or in case of natural disasters) should be addressed and mitigated correctly. The contingency plan requirement has been made to align with the QMS plan.

Other Clauses for Risk Management

  1. Clause 7.1: Resources
  2. Clause 7.2: Competence
  3. Clause 7.3: Awareness
  4. Clause 8.3: Design and Development
  5. Clause 8.4: Control of External Providers

Consequences of Poor Risk Management

Delayed Projects

Unexpected risks, or in other words, “unaddressed risks,” can result in missed project deadlines because then you need to understand how to minimize such risks and not lose track of main project activities.

Projects Being Overspent

Managing risks sometimes cost money and can lead to an overspent budget on project completion. It’s better to identify such issues before project initiation and mitigate them before they have any negative impact.

Confident Clients

Clients prefer not to invest in a high-risk environment. Businesses should be wise enough to devise a Plan B in case of an emergency in the form of a contingency plan. It is of vital importance to report on potential risks and convey a mitigation plan to clients to shore up their confidence levels.


With such a high-risk environment, project completion status can be shaky. Clients prefer to avoid risk.

Project Failure

Imagine the worst-case scenario: complete project failure can occur due to the involvement of high potential risks.

Are you looking to get IATF16949 certification for your business?

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Critical IATF 16949 Contingency Plan Requirements

Critical IATF 16949 Contingency Plan Requirements

Critical IATF 16949 Contingency Plan Requirements

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

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

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 is slim, this can prove to be a decisive factor in whether a company can recover after a disaster. 

What is the IATF 16949 Contingency Plan, and How Can You Plan for One?

Merriam Web master defines a contingency as something that 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:

  • Create 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 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. The constant testing and evaluation of data exist as a requirement for 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 and 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 the business is prepared to leverage its contingency plan in the event of a crisis. If the idea were to fail then, it could ruin the entire company.

If your company isn’t IATF certified yet, we’d be glad to help you get and maintain it. Contact us today to find out more!