IATF 16949

History of ISO/TS 16949:2009

(See below for Transition to IATF 16949)

In response to the need for a uniform quality management standard for automotive suppliers around the world, the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) originally developed ISO/TS 16949:2002 in 1999. The standard embraced ISO 9000 – the international benchmark for quality. In 2002, it was revised to align with ISO 9001:2000. Certification to this technical specification provides global recognition for suppliers sourcing across the automotive industry.

The ISO/TS 16949:2009 standard, which contains all of ISO 9001:2008 as well as automotive sector-specific requirements from the American QS-9000, German VDA 6.1, French EAQF, and Italian AVSQ quality standards, places major emphasis on customer satisfaction and promises to lay the foundation for an exceptional line of products. The standard affects companies that manufacture or supply components and other products to the American, German, French, Italian, British, Japanese, and other automotive industries.

IATF 16949

October 2016 saw the release of a sweeping update to the quintessential automotive quality standard, ISO/TS 16949:2009. The new standard, IATF 16949:2016, has already drawn a flurry of questions in the few months since its publication. With this update, the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) has aligned the standard with the most recent version of ISO’s quality management systems standard, ISO 9001:2015; thus IATF 16949 is not simply a one-off standard, but must be implemented in conjunction with ISO 9001. However, this does not mean that IATF 16949 contains the ISO 9001:2015 text – rather, the standard contains only the automotive-specific requirements and shares the same section headings.

At center stage in IATF 16949 – as in ISO 9001:2015 – is risk mitigation. This focus on risk-based thinking requires top management to be wholly engaged in the organization, with responsibilities such as contingency planning review and implementation of anti-bribery and ethics escalation policies. Since the automotive industry is an ever-evolving environment, IATF 16949 also includes requirements to ensure that changes are matched by adjustments to quality management systems.

While the transition to IATF 16949 is not expected to be completed until September 14, 2018, the change is certainly a drastic shift that requires extensive planning and consideration. The inclusion of ISO’s 10-clause structure – while not something organizations are required to emulate in their own documentation – is intended to provide a clear model of the standard’s requirements. The IATF highly encourages organizations with quality management system documentation that is aligned with a previous version of ISO 9001 to realign with their value stream rather than tying it to a standard that is difficult to understand internally.