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Transitioning from ISO/TS 16949: 2009 to IATF 16949: 2016 Quality Management System for the Automotive Industry

Posted on May 31, 2017 in Articles


IATF 16949 transitionJust as the proverbial frog in Basho’s haiku made the water-sound, the arrival of ISO 9001:2015 created quite a splash and ripples are still being felt far and wide in many industries that subscribe to the International Standard. The publication of IATF 16949:2016 came a year after the release of the new version of ISO 9001 and as expected, the changes have been many, if not radical, for the automotive industry.

The most obvious change, of course, is the name. The first automotive quality management system standard came out in 1999, and was developed in conjunction with ISO/TC 176 – ISO’s technical committee for quality management. The standard thus bore the name ISO/TS 16949 and contained text taken directly from ISO 9001. In revising the standard for the 2016 version, however, IATF took over the reins and the standard was reset to first edition while retaining the 16949 number.

IATF 16949 removed the ISO 9001 text which appeared in the earlier versions of the automotive QMS standard but this should not be construed as a separation of the two standards.  In fact, IATF affirms alignment of the automotive standard with ISO 9001: 2015 and states in its transition guide that IATF 16949 is not a standalone quality standard but should be implemented as supplement to ISO 9001:2015. Conformity to ISO 9001:2015 is therefore still a requirement for any organisation applying for IATF certification.

Overall, there are 13 new sub-clauses and 83 enhanced sub-clauses from the previous version. While some of the changes were due to the revision of ISO 9001, there are still elements in the previous version of IATF 16949 that were retained such as the need for a quality manual and preventive actions (both of which are no longer requirements in ISO 9001:2015).

Some of the key changes in IATF 16949:2016 from ISO/TS 16949: 2009 include:

Adoption of the Annex SL: To maintain alignment with ISO 9001:2015, the automotive QMS standard also followed the high-level structure prescribed in Annex SL. The new standard now has ten major clauses that follows the same sequence as ISO 9001:2015. This is good news for organisations implementing integrated management systems that also follow Annex SL such as those certified under ISO 9001: 2015, ISO 14001: 2015, ISO 22301: 2012, ISO 27001: 2013, and planning on getting certified under ISO 45001: 2017.


Incorporation of customer-specific requirements in main text of the requirements:
The inclusion of customer-specific requirements to the scope of the QMS along with other detailed requirements raised not a few eyebrows from industry practitioners. While fulfillment of customer-specific requirements had been present in ISO/TS 16949, the present standard requires evaluation of each customer’s requirements and inclusion in the organisation’s quality management system where applicable. Detailed requirements, such as specific duration, also tend to be ‘almost prescriptive’.


Requirements on product safety : In order to address issues pertaining to product and process safety, this new clause requires organisations to document their processes for managing product-safety related products and processes. This includes relevant statutory and regulatory requirements, FMEAs and control plans, reaction plans, and other requirements.


Risk-based thinking: Along with FMEA, preventive actions, and other proactive measures of addressing risks, IATF 16949 follows the risk-based thinking approach of ISO 9001:2015. Actions to address risks and opportunities are to be established and implemented where these are found to potentially cause significant effects to the intended outcomes of the automotive QMS. Risks are to be analysed and documented while preventive actions are established where needed.

Corporate responsibility: At a minimum, corporate responsibility initiatives should include an anti-bribery policy, an employee code of conduct, and an ethics escalation policy (i.e. whistle-blowing policy). This is to address the rising expectations from interested parties, especially in the areas of social responsibility and environmental performance.

Competency requirements for first and second party auditors: Aside from the enhanced competency requirements for internal auditors, the standard extends the requirements to second party auditors. Documentation requirements include verification of competence and evidence of relevant training.

For organisations seeking certification to the new standard, it is recommended to first gain familiarity with ISO 9001:2015 and IATF 16949. A gap analysis should be performed to ensure that all new requirements are conformed with. Competency building, especially for the organisation’s internal and second party auditors, will also have to be done mainly through awareness and interpretation courses as well as auditor training courses. Finally, organisations will need to establish, maintain, and improve their automotive quality management system and build evidence of effective implementation.

What we are seeing are just initial ripples that would extend throughout the automotive industry’s supply chain. For organisations still certified to ISO/TS 16949, transition must be complete by September 14, 2018. Starting October 1, 2017 all certification audits will also be to IATF 16949.

For more information on how we can help your organisation gain certification to IATF 16949, feel free to contact our training executives at Neville Clarke. Our consultants shall guide you towards conformity to the requirements and eventual certification to IATF 16949.

Interested in discussing your requirements? Let’s talk.

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