IATF 16949

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Introduction to IATF 16949

IATF 16949:2016 (replaces ISO/TS 16949:2009) is a standard that establishes the requirements for a Quality Management System (QMS), specifically for the automotive sector. The ISO/TS 16949 was created in 1999 to harmonize different assessment and certification schemes worldwide in the supply chain for the automotive sector.

The primary focus of the IATF 16949 standard is the development of a Quality Management System that provides for continual improvement, emphasizing defect prevention and the reduction of variation and waste in the supply chain. The standard, combined with applicable Customer-Specific Requirements (CSR’s), defines the QMS requirements for automotive production, service, and/or accessory parts.

IATF 16949

IATF 16949:2016 is an independent QMS standard that is fully aligned with the structure and requirements of ISO 9001:2015. Therefore, the IATF 16949 cannot be implemented alone as a stand-alone document but must be implemented as a supplement and in conjunction with ISO 9001:2015.

After October 01, 2017, audits cannot be conducted to ISO/TS 16949 and organizations must transition to the new IATF 16949 in line with their current audit cycle, according to the allowable timing requirements. Failure to conduct the audit within the allowable timing requirements requires the organization to start over with an initial certification audit. The transition audit shall be the duration of a recertification audit plus additional time for a documentation review. All supporting functions on-site or at a remote location shall be included in the transition process.

A Quality Management System based on IATF 16949:

What is IATF 16949

The IATF 16949 standard provides guidance and tools for companies and organizations who want to ensure that their products consistently meet customer requirements and that quality and customer satisfaction are consistently improved. Requirements for certification to IATF 16949 are defined in the 2016 Revision 5 of the rules for achieving and maintaining IATF recognition.

The IATF 16949 standard is a supplemental standard and is used in conjunction with the ISO standards:

  • IATF 16949 – establishes the Automotive supplemental requirements of a quality management system
  • ISO 9001 – defines the base requirements of a quality management system
  • ISO 9000 – covers the basic concepts and language
  • ISO 9004 – focuses on how to make a quality management system more efficient and effective
  • ISO 19011 – guides internal (1st party) and external (2nd party) audits of quality management systems
  • ISO 31000 – outlines risk management principles and guidelines

IATF 16949 defines the criteria for an automotive-based QMS intending to become 3rd party registered. It can be used by any supplier, large or small, and should be applied throughout the automotive supply chain. In fact, there over 65,000 suppliers worldwide which are currently certified to ISO/TS 16949. All requirements of IATF 16949 are applicable unless suppliers do not provide product design-related functions. Requirements are generic and are intended to apply to any supplier providing design and development, production, and, when relevant, assembly, installation, and services of automotive-related products, including products with embedded software. The IATF 16949 standard applies to sites of the organization where manufacturing of customer-specified production parts, service parts, and/or accessory parts occurs.


The standard is based on seven Quality Management Principles, including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach, and continual improvement.

These Quality Management Principles are defined as follows:

  1. Customer focus
  2. Leadership
  3. Engagement of people
  4. Process approach
  5. Improvement
  6. Evidence-based decision making
  7. Relationship management

Why Implement IATF 16949

Implementing IATF 16949 ensures that customers receive consistent, good quality products and services, which in turn may bring many business benefits. IATF 16949 specifies requirements for a Quality Management System when an organization wants to:

  • Demonstrate its ability to consistently provide products that meet customer and applicable statutory, regulatory, and product safety requirements
  • Enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system
  • Implement processes for improvement of the system
  • Define overall context, who is affected, and what they expect
  • Clearly state objectives and identify new business opportunities
  • Put customers first, making sure their needs are consistently met and enhance their satisfaction
  • Have repeat customers, increase customer loyalty, add new clients and increase business
  • Expand into new markets, as some sectors and clients require IATF 16949 before doing business
  • Identify and address the risks associated with your organization
  • Work in a more efficient way to increase productivity and efficiency, bringing internal costs down
  • Become more socially responsible through the documentation and implementation of corporate responsibility policies
Step of IATF
IATF 16949

When to Implement IATF 16949

Compliance with the IATF 16949 standard can be done at any time but is typically used when:

  • Customers specify this requirement as part of the contract
  • Organizations want to improve their products and customer satisfaction

How to Implement IATF 16949

Organizations’ deciding to develop and implement any new or improved QMS is a strategic decision. All efforts should be focused on the identification and minimization of risk while meeting and exceeding customer and organizational goals and objective requirements.

Organizations should commit to:

  • Recognize direct and indirect customers as those who receive value from the organization
  • Understand customers current and future needs and expectations
  • Link the organization’s objectives to customer needs and expectations
  • Communicate customer needs and expectations throughout the organization
  • Plan, design, develop, produce, deliver and support products to meet customer needs and expectations
  • Measure and monitor customer satisfaction and take appropriate actions
  • Determine and take actions on interested parties needs and expectations that can affect customer satisfaction
  • Actively manage relationships with customers to achieve sustained success
  • Become more socially responsible
  • Provide necessary resources to ensure product safety requirements are met
IATF 16949 Compliance can be achieved through Quality-One’s Seven Phase Approach:
  1. Executive and Management Overview / Planning
  2. Gap Assessment and Planning
  3. Documentation
  4. Implementation and Training
  5. Internal Assessment and Management Review
  6. 3rd Party Registration Assessment
  7. Sustain and Continual Improvement
IATF 16949 Principle
IATF 16949

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