Pressures are increasing on the global automotive industry. Described in one analysis as “lost in translation between evolutionary, revolutionary and disruptive key trends that all need to be managed at the same time,” the current challenges facing the automotive sector stem from a combination of fall-out from the 2008 financial crisis, oil price volatility, war and terrorism, and insecure geopolitical environments.  These factors are having a decisive impact on the future direction of the automotive industry, requiring manufacturers to ensure their supply chains are optimized.
Automotive manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to respond to the key demands of consumers – greater reliability, less environmentally damaging, better technology, and more economical vehicles.
Automotive manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to respond to the key demands of consumers – greater reliability, less environmentally damaging, better technology, and more economical vehicles. Constant evolution in design and production methods must take into account more cost-effective sources of supply created by the rapid growth of a supply base in emerging markets.
Manufacturers need to engage a robust quality management system that is tailored to the requirements of the automotive sector – covering manufacturers, service and accessory parts organizations.
In 1999, an ‘ad hoc’ group of automotive manufacturers and trade associations, called the International Automotive Task Force (IATF), published ISO/TS 16949. This standard became one of the most widely used international standards in the automotive sector. It provided a robust quality management system for ensuring process driven compliance, control over product and process, and promoting continuous improvements in supply chains.
To ensure standards remain consistent around the world, IATF has five Global Oversight offices – in Germany (VDA-QMC), Italy (ANFIA), France (IATF France), the USA (IAOB USA) and UK (SMMT). These offices liaise with the Certification Bodies, such as SGS, who are responsible for the certification of organizations within the supply chain.
IATF 16949 was developed in alignment with the latest requirements for ISO 9001:2015 and is compatible with Annex SL – the ISO framework blueprint for management systems.
In October 2016, the IATF published the replacement for ISO/TS 16949:2009 – IATF 16949. The new standard has a strong customer orientation and was developed following consultation with Certification Bodies, auditors, suppliers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). To reduce complications during the implementation stage, IATF 16949 was developed in alignment with the latest requirements for ISO 9001:2015 and is compatible with Annex SL – the ISO framework blueprint for management systems.
IATF 16949 represents the latest advance in quality management systems for the automotive industry. Compatible with other international quality management systems, it has been specifically developed to harmonize standards along the supply chain, making it easier for manufacturers to source components that fit the requirements of this pressurized industrial sector.
The transition to IATF 16949 was completed on September 14, 2018 and proved to be highly effective. As a Certified Body, SGS found it issued more certificates for IATF 16949 (5750) than it had for ISO/TS 16949 (5568).
With the transition to IATF 16949 now complete, the IATF is now reviewing its mission and has created a new vision:
“To be the global quality management system for the automotive industry, to satisfy customers, create stakeholder value and promote international excellence in the design, development, manufacture and provision of mobility solutions.”
To achieve this, they have developed five ‘Strategic Imperatives’, which are:
To achieve these goals, and following consultation with stakeholders, the IATF has created ten core recommendations. These cover a broad range of topics, including the desire to reduce and harmonize the number of customer specific requirements (CSRs) and a move to a risk-based methodology.
In addition, the IATF plans to investigate the creation and management of a number of new supplemental standards to support the core IATF 16949 standard. These would cover areas such as:
The IATF is also considering building an international stakeholder consortium, comprising members, the tech sector and mobility solutions experts to define the future scope of IATF and see how it will relate to the broader landscape of international standards in the mobility space.