Tuesday, 21 May 2013


The global automotive industry is characterized by intense competition, a sharp focus on cost, and regulatory oversight. The ongoing trend is towards global sourcing and distributed manufacturing/assembly operations. These factors are driving the need for an extensible and flexible quality management system that automates field-level tasks and provides real-time visibility into all aspects of quality management across global manufacturing facilities and supplier locations.

Motor manufacturers and their supply chains can benefit by introducing quality management systems into their business processes. There are a number of internationally recognised certification schemes, some of which are designed specifically for the industry.

Quality Schemes Relevant To The Automotive Industry

The most relevant quality certification system for the motor industry is the ISO/TS 16949 standard. This was developed by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) in cooperation with the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

ISO/TS 16949 integrates US and European automotive standards into a single standard for the entire automotive industry. It sets out requirements for the design, servicing, installation and production of automotive-related products.

There are also several additional standards that are relevant to the automotive industry. These systems are designed by international authorities such as the ISO, and so are internationally recognised. They include:
  • Generic schemes such as ISO 9001, which relate to quality management processes within your business - administration, customer relations etc.
  • Environmental accreditation systems such as ISO 14001 and the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).
  • Health and safety standards such as OHSAS 18001.

ISO/TS 16949

ISO/TS 16949 is an ISO technical specification which aligns existing UK, US, German, French and Italian automotive quality system standards within the global automotive industry. It specifies the quality system requirements for the design/development, production, installation and servicing of automotive-related products.

The global automotive industry demands world class levels of product quality, productivity and competitiveness as well as continual improvement. To achieve this goal many vehicle manufacturers insist that suppliers are certified to the quality management standard for suppliers to the automotive sector, known as ISO/TS 16949.

ISO/TS 16949 has been developed by the industry, the International Automotive Task Force (IATF), to encourage improvement in both the supply chain and the certification process. In fact, for the majority of leading vehicle manufacturers, certification to this specification is a mandatory requirement for doing business.

This specification aligns and supersedes existing UK, US, German, French and Italian automotive quality system standards, including QS-9000, VDA6.1, EAQF and ASQ. It specifies the quality system requirements for the design/development, production, installation and servicing of all automotive-related products. First published in March 1999 and revised in 2002, there are now over 45,750 certificates issued in the three major business areas of the Americas-Europe-Asia.

Who Is It Relevant To?

ISO/TS 16949 is relevant to all types of automotive supply companies, from small manufacturers to multi-site, multinational organizations located anywhere in the world. However, it is only applicable to sites where production or service parts are manufactured for the original equipment market.

Organizations wishing to break into the automotive market must wait until they are on an automotive customer's potential supplier list before they can progress with certification to this specification.


Quality management certification is a way of proving to your customers that they can trust your business’ capabilities as a supplier, and the quality and consistency of the products you will deliver.
  • Accelerates Time-to-Market: provides real-time visibility into the quality management process and its key performance metrics in order to accelerate product development and time-to-market.
  • Reduces Costs: Automotive manufacturers can lower the costs of poor quality (COPQ) in the form of scrap, production downtimes, product recalls and warranty costs by using the MetricStream solution to build operational efficiencies in quality systems.
  • Improves Product Quality: Issues can be proactively identified, tracked, and resolved by using the solution to create a transparent environment where decisions are based on hard facts and metrics.
  • Helps Ensure Compliance: The solution facilitates an integrated approach to quality management that helps manufacturers ensure compliance with industry standards, OEM mandates, and internal policies.
  • Builds Customer Loyalty: Manufacturers can protect revenue streams and brand image by using the solution to rapidly resolve product quality issues reported by customers, in a consistent and predictable manner.

The Route To ISO/TS 16949 Certification For Automotive Businesses

ISO/TS 16949 is a quality standard specific to the automotive industry. It aims to harmonise the various quality systems that already exist in the automotive supply chain.

Businesses working towards the ISO/TS 16949 standard must carry out process-based internal auditing. The standard is commonly known as ‘TS2’, and includes:
  1. A commitment to quality.
  2. A focus on meeting customer requirements.
  3. A commitment to being adequately resourced and competently staffed quality in process management (production, service, administrative) and in monitoring those processes.
  4. A commitment to prevent and resolve customer complaints, to drive continual improvement gauging customer perception of quality of your business’ goods/services.

The standard specifies requirements for the design, development, production, installation and servicing of automotive-related products.

The IATF developed the standard in cooperation with the ISO. It is based on the structure of ISO 9001:2000, and replaced the QS-9000 automotive quality standard in 2006.

Sources: UK Government, NQA UK, AIAG, Chartered Quality Institute, Metricstream.



Larra said...

Excellent article. Just add that the ISO 16949 Standard applies to the whole automotive supply chain and, although it produces a considerable overhead cost, it assures the quality and easies the failure detection at any link of the chain. That is very important in order to fight against unfair low cost competitors. It's a win-win situation for all OEMs, suppliers and consumers.

Hector Fresneda said...

Excellent contribution Javier, I appreciate it.