IATF 16949 Internal Audit Required Competencies

What is the IATF 16949 Internal Audit? As stated in IATF 16949:2016 Clause 7.2.3 named as “Internal Auditor Competency,” QMS auditors shall be able to demonstrate the following minimum requirements:

  • understanding of the automotive process approach for auditing
  • knowledge of applicable CSR
  • knowledge of applicable ISO 9001 & IATF 16949 requirements
  • knowledge of applicable core tools
  • understanding how to plan, conduct, report and close out audit findings
  • Where training is provided to achieve competency (of internal auditor), documented information shall be retained to demonstrate the trainer’s skill with the above requirements.

Competency is the ability to do something effectively and efficiently. IATF 16949:2016 is found to be a bit more complicated as compared to other ISO standards. Similarly, the competencies required for auditors to perform an IATF 16949 Internal Audit is comparatively more demanding than other ISO standards.

IATF 16949 Internal Audit: Explanation of Clause 7.2.3

Let’s dig deep into IATF 16949 clause 7.2.3 and explore each notion one by one:

An internal auditor needs to demonstrate the following competencies when it comes to internally audit IATF 16949 in an organization.

  1. Need to develop a complete understanding of automotive process approach that majorly includes risk-based thinking.
  2. Deep understanding of customer specific requirements.
  3. Detailed understanding of all the requirements of IATF 16949
  4. To know how to use core tools relevant to audit scope
  5. Have insights about IATF 16949 Internal Audit scope
  6. To understand how to plan, execute, reports and gap closure of audit observance

Above are some necessary competencies that are solely relevant to the IATF 16949 internal audit.

However, there are few competencies that internal auditors need to maintain it over a while, which is listed below:

  1. To execute a minimum number of audits annually or as defined by the specific organization
  2. Keeping updated knowledge about all relevant requirements that are based on internal changes occurring in the organization
  3. Documented training records where the initial level of competency and current level of skill along with gap closure of the competency level must be shown.
  4. Internal Auditors should have in-depth knowledge about core tools of IATF 16949 which includes Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP), Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA), Measurement System Analysis (MSA), Statistical Process Control (SPC) and Product Part Approval Process (PPAP).

Internal auditors need to achieve expert level knowledge about all the requirements of IATF 16949, specifically the core tools as mentioned above.

Hard Core Principles of Internal Auditing

Being an internal auditor, one need to follow below hardcore rules while auditing your system internally, which includes:

  1. The team of internal auditors needs to demonstrate integrity at all costs.
  2. For practicing internal auditing, one needs to exhibit professional behavior while internally auditing the system.
  3. Internal auditors must have excellent communication skills.
  4. Internal auditors should be able to provide risk-based assurance.
  5. Internal auditors should be insightful, proactive, and future-focused.
  6. Internal auditors should encourage improvement that has been made in the organization.
  7. The strategies of internal auditing should be aligned with organizational strategy, goals of the organization, and all types of risks existing in the organization.
  8. Internal auditors should be able to demonstrate continuous improvement.

What should be the Focus of the Audit?

While performing an internal audit of your organization, the team of internal auditors must on following focus and highlight improvement areas which includes generally following domains:

  1. How an organization is making strategic and operational decisions.
  2. What methods an organization is using to control and manage the risk.
  3. Is the organization promotes ethics and internal values within the organization?
  4. Techniques used for effective organizational performance, its management, and its account to make systems better.
  5. To see and suggest possible alignment among board team, internal and external auditors, circulating information, providers of assurance, and management.
  6. Evaluating the performance of the employees and team in general and see the effectiveness of the methods used to assess performance and measure goals and objectives accomplishment.

Baby Steps to take for Building Competencies

Clueless about how you can turn into a Pro auditor?

Unsure about you being even an internal auditor for your organization?

Here you can start developing core competencies of an auditor by taking few listed baby steps that will help you to grow as an internal auditor in your organization and in the same way can benefit your organization when it comes to external auditing for certification or re-certification.

  1. Being an internal auditor, you need to ask insightful, probing, and challenging questions which are also called as open-ended questions. Your internal audit activity should conform to the standard’s requirements and should satisfy the expectations of all the stakeholders.
  2. You can conduct an unofficial self-assessment of your audit exercise to see how effective and fruitful it was for the organization and the improvement of the system.
  3. Talent management efforts need to be invested, and the workforce needs to be optimized. You need to see if your organization is concentrating on how to build, develop, and positively engage the employees.
  4. Gap analysis that the team of internal auditors will report should be able to explore the expectations of stakeholders, competencies of staff, any unique specialty skills that any team possess and how the organization is rewarding and utilizing that unique skill.

    The report of gap analysis should have all identified strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. One can include Benchmarking studies while doing gap analysis as it strengthens the practice of gap analysis and can benefit management as well to explore ways to get ahead of the market competitors.

  5. To make maximum use of the resources, it is must to grasp the requirements of the standard so that internal auditors should know how to utilize tools to make internal audit effective and efficient.
  6. Above points needs to be repeated periodically.

In case your team needs help or training to conduct IATF 16949 internal audit, feel free to contact us.

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founder of sync resource

About Author

Sunita Verma, Founder and President of Sync Resource started the company in 2009 with a vision to provide management consulting to small & medium size businesses around the country.
Sunita holds a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering(India) with prestigious gold medal by then President of India and renowned Scientist Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
As an active philanthropist she believes in pay it forward and is a contributing member of charitable organizations like St. Jude’s Foundation and North Fulton Charities.


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