As those in the automotive industry will know, manufacturers are held to incredibly high standards. Currently, IATF 16949 is one of the biggest examples of this. But what is this certification? What does it mean?
What’s IATF 16949?
IATF 16949 is an International Standard that all those in the automotive industry need to follow. It’s classified as a Quality Management System Standard and was originally developed by the IATF (International Automotive Task Force). Once developed, the members then submitted the standard to the ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) where it was eventually published.
In simple terms, IATF 16949 monitors all manufacturers in this industry and ensures that they have a fully functioning quality management system. As well as implementing a quality management system, companies need to continually improve and strive for better performance. This includes defect prevention, supply chain waste, and the reduction of variation.
Ultimately, the IATF 16949 wants to achieve the most effective and effective result for customers. As a result of the certification, manufacturers have met the needs of customers more closely.
Application of IATF 16949
After learning about the certification, you might wonder who needs to follow the standard. Currently, it includes any manufacturer active in the automotive industry. For instance, this includes any organisation that makes assemblies, components, and parts for the industry. Therefore, the certification applies to your business if you fall under this remit.
Here are the most important factors written within IATF 16949:
- Contingency planning
- Defect prevention
- Continuous improvement
- Product safety
- Waste reduction
- Requirements for embedded software
- Sub-tier supplier management
- Risk management
- Warranty management
Why is the name IATF 16949 rather than ISO 16949? This is a question that causes much confusion within the industry, and the simple answer is that it was created by the International Automotive Task Force. Yet, this doesn’t mean that it was implemented in isolation. As mentioned previously, the document was sent to the ISO. The IATF and ISO cooperate for the betterment of the industry, and this standard protects all customers.
If you’re a manufacturer in this industry or even if you just send minor parts to the industry, carrying the IATF 16949 registration will benefit your business greatly. Even if it wasn’t a mandatory requirement, registration provides the business with credibility and trustworthiness. Others in the automotive industry will know to trust your brand since you manufacture products with IATF 16949 in mind.
Since certification requires meeting certain quality management system standards, a third-party auditor will need to visit your business for review. If they decide that you conform to the high standards, you’ll receive certification in this area.
Who Are the IATF?
Rather than a single body, the IATF consists of several automotive manufacturers (as well as their trade associations). Rather than profit, the group was formed to emphasise the importance of the customer experience. Therefore, all actions taken by the group are an attempt to provide higher-quality products for customers all over the world.
When a business receives certification, like RP Group, they’re registered on the system and join the list on the IATF website. Therefore, customers can click on the website and see lists of all registered organisations. The website also holds a copy of all certificates for verification.
To summarise, IATF 16949 is an international standard to improve the quality management systems within the automotive industry. All those with a certification meet the high requirements and are committed to preventing defects, reducing waste, managing risk, and taking other steps towards a better product for customers.