Understanding the ISO/TS 16949 Automotive Quality Standards

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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.

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