IATF 16949 is an industry standard in the automotive industry that unifies that unifies the global quality management system requirements and is de facto the industry’s standard. It replaces the previous standard called ISO/TS 16949 and effectively combines the requirements of the European and American automotive industry, i.e. the QS 9000, VDA 6.1, AVSQ and EAQF.
IATF 16949 extends and supplements ISO 9001: 2015 and is based on its structure. Its requirements have to be fulfilled in order to obtain the IATF 16949 certificate.
Similarly to ISO / TS 16949, IATF 16949 defines the requirements for the automotive industry. In particular, there are requirements concerning introduction of new products in the market, customer approvals, appropriateness of process and continuous improvement. Regarding processes, it emphasizes the measurability of their effectiveness and efficiency with a clear benchmark. The fact that a car manufacturer is IATF 16949 certified means that not only the manufacturer himself must meet the requirements, but also each and every of his suppliers and subcontractors (emphasizing second and third level subcontractors) must do so too. The certification is therefore applicable throughout the supply chain of the automotive industry.
What is the standard for?
IATF 16949 serves as a reference model for setting basic management processes in automotive industry. The introduction of the standard helps to continually improve product quality and hence increase customer satisfaction. Continuous improvement is embedded into quality planning and this is how, in principle, the standard makes the organizations struggle for TQM. IATF 16949, like other technical standards, defines a minimum standard and requires certification of an established management system (established processes). The automotive industry organizations need to get certified and continue to comply with the requirements as well as to ensure the compliance throughout their supply chain.