IATF 16949:2016

"IATF 16949" represents the revised automotive quality management system standard developed by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF). This revised standard cancels and replaces ISO/TS 16949:2009.

Last date of transition from ISO/TS 16949:2009 to IATF 16949:2016 is 14th September 2018. After 1 October 2017 no audits (initial, surveillance, recertification or transfer) shall be conducted to ISO/TS 16949:2009. Organizations certified to ISO/TS 16949:2009 shall transition to the new IATF 16949, through a transition audit in line with the current audit cycle for ISO/TS 16949:2009 (i.e. at a regularly scheduled recertification audit or surveillance audit), according to the allowable timing requirements defined in the IATF Rules, section 5.1.1. A transition audit can only be conducted if the organization has a currently valid ISO/TS 16949 certificate.

On October 3rd, 2016 IATF 16949:2016 was published by the IATF and supersedes and replaces the current ISO/TS 16949, defining the requirements of a quality management system for organizations in the automotive industry.

What is ISO/IEC 27001?

transition_timeline iatf_key_facts

The Quality Management System, also referred to as a QMS, is a collection of policies, processes, procedures, work instructions and formats / records. This collection of documentation actually defines internal rules that will govern how the organization creates and delivers the product or service to its customers. The QMS should be tailored to the needs of the Organization and its interested parties and the product or service, and the IATF 16949 standard additionally provides a set of guidelines to help make sure that any crucial elements that a QMS needs to be successful is not missed out.

As stated above, IATF 16949:2016 is the global technical specification and quality management standard for the automotive industry based on ISO 9001:2015. It is designed to be used in conjunction with ISO 9001:2015, and contains supplemental requirements specific to the automotive industry rather than being a stand-alone QMS.

Structure of IATF

The IATF 16949 structure is split into 10 sections / major clauses as per the High Level Structure also called Annexure SL. The first 3 are introductory, with the last seven containing the requirements for the Quality Management System. Here is what the 7 main sections / clauses are about:

Section 4: Context of the organization – This section requires the organization to determine its context (Internal and external Issues) in terms of the Quality Management System, including interested parties and their needs and expectations. It also defines the requirements for determining the scope of the QMS, as well as general QMS requirements- processes and process interaction.

Section 5: Leadership – This clause of the standard requires top and middle management to demonstrate leadership and commitment to the QMS, along with defining corporate responsibility and the quality policy. The top management must also assign process owners along with other roles and responsibilities. The basic focus is customer and continual improvement.

Section 6: Planning – The section on planning defines requirements for addressing risks and opportunities and the risk analysis. This clause also includes requirements for operational controls- mitigation and contingency actions, contingency plans, and quality objectives and plans to achieve them, including responsibilities.

Section 7: Support – In this clause the organization can find requirements for the resources and supporting processes needed for an effective QMS- Resource Management. It defines requirements for people, infrastructure, work environment, monitoring and measuring resources, organizational knowledge, competence, trainings / awareness, communication, and documented information.

Section 8: Operation – The product requirements deal with all aspects of the planning and creation of the product or service. This section includes requirements on planning, product requirements review, design, procurement, production and service provision, and controlling the equipment used to monitor and measure the product or service. IATF 16949 allows for requirements in clause 8.3, regarding design and development of products, to be excluded if they are not applicable to the company.

Section 9: Performance evaluation – This clause includes the requirements needed to make sure that the Organization can monitor whether your QMS is functioning well. It includes assessing customer satisfaction, internal audits, monitoring products and processes, and management review.

Section 10: Improvement – The last section of the standard defines the requirements for continual improvement of the QMS, including requirements for nonconformities and corrective actions, problem solving, and error-proofing processes.

These clauses are based on a Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, which uses these elements to implement change within the processes of the organization in order to drive and maintain improvements within the processes.

Why Implement IATF 16949:2016

Implementing IATF 16949 ensures that customers and end users receive consistent, good quality products and services, which 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 polices

Benefits of IATF 16949

The benefits of IATF 16949 are not limited; organizations, whether large and small have used this standard to great effect, discovering and securing tremendous cost and efficiency savings. Here are just a few of these benefits:

Improving image and credibility – When customers see that the organization is certified by a recognized certification body, they will understand that it has implemented a system that is focused on meeting customer requirements and improvement. This improves their trust that the organization will deliver what 9quality of the product and other terms) has been promised.

Qualify to supply the automotive industry –In order to get big customers from the automotive industry, the organization has to demonstrate that it is able to provide high-quality products with no defects, and an IATF 16949 certificate will provide an added assurance.

Improve customer satisfaction – One of the key principles of the IATF 16949 QMS is the focus on improving customer satisfaction by identifying and meeting customer and other interested parties’ requirements and needs. By improving satisfaction, the organization can improve repeat customer business.
Fully integrated processes – By using the process approach of IATF 16949, the organization looks at the individual processes, and also at the interactions of those processes. By doing this, it can more easily find areas for improvement and resource savings within the organization.

Use evidence-based decision making – Ensuring that the organization is making decisions based on good evidence is a key to the success of an IATF 16949 QMS. By ensuring that decisions are based on good evidence, it can better target resources to the best effect to correct problems and improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness.

Create a culture of continual improvement – With continual improvement as the main output of the QMS, the organization can attain ever-increasing gains in savings of time, money, and other resources. By making this the culture of the company, it can focus your workforce on improving the processes they are directly responsible for.

Engage your people –The people working within a process find the best solutions for improving that process. By focusing on the workforce to not only managing, but also improving the processes, they will be more engaged in the outcome of the organization.

If IATF 16949 is implemented and properly managed, an organization will:

  • Receive recognition from regulatory authorities
  • Produce safer and more reliable products
  • Meet or exceed customer requirements
  • Improve processes and documentation system

When to Implement IATF 16949

Compliance to 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 goal and objective requirements.

  • 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

Risk Based Thinking

Risk mitigation takes center stage in IATF 16949, as it does in ISO 9001:2015. IATF 16949 adds a number of specific risk-related requirements to minimize the likelihood of failure during new program development and to maximize the potential realization of planned activities. These additions are the result of industry best practices intended to make businesses safer and more stable by identifying and mitigating risk. To ensure risk-based thinking is pervasive throughout the organization, top management needs to be actively engaged. Responsibilities include:

  • Conducting contingency planning reviews
  • Identifying and supporting of process owners
  • Participating in the escalation process related to product safety
  • Ensuring achievement of customer performance targets and quality objectives
  • Implementing corporate responsibility initiatives including an anti-bribery policy, an employee code of conduct, and an ethics escalation policy ("whistle-blowing policy")

IATF 16949 requires that “organizations shall ensure conformance of all products and processes, including service parts and those that are outsourced.” This use of the word “ensure” implies that the organization needs to establish and maintain a system that mitigates the risk of nonconformance throughout the supply chain. The organization is ultimately responsible for all conformity and must cascade all applicable requirements down the supply chain to the point of manufacture. The standard reinforces the concept of a “multidisciplinary approach” throughout the product lifecycle, and particularly during design and development planning activities. IATF 16949 adds additional controls for the management of development projects throughout the cycle, which eventually concludes with a product approval process. As well, the automotive standard adds a large number of requirements to specifically address the development of manufacturing processes.

Manufacturing processes may have the same output requirements as those specified for the product; however, customers often require the use of specific Automotive Core Tools, such as capturing and analyzing risk via a PFMEA. These sorts of considerations are included in IATF 16949 in an attempt to mitigate risk even before manufacturing the product or installing machinery. Survival in the automotive industry requires continuous change to address internal and external issues. Organizations need to adopt a process to assess the risk of changes and take appropriate action.

IATF 16949 requirements to manage changes include:

  • Assessing manufacturing feasibility for changes to existing operations.
  • Evaluating design changes after initial product approval.
  • Reviewing control plans for changes affecting product, manufacturing process, measurement, logistics, supply sources, production volume changes, or risk analysis.
  • Controlling and reacting to changes that impact product realization, including changes caused by the organization, the customer, or any supplier. This includes both permanent and temporary changes.
  • Adjusting the frequency of internal audits based on occurrence of process changes. Other sources of risk, such as how to deal with nonconforming outputs, are covered in more detail to ensure suppliers are aligned with their customers.


IATF 16949 integrates many common industry practices previously found in customer-specific requirements. Integrating these common practices as requirements encourages commonality throughout the industry and aims to reduce the need for extensive customer-specific requirements in these areas. Also important is the clear distinction between customer requirements and customer-specific requirements (CSRs).

In IATF 16949, these two terms are defined as follows:

  • Customer Requirements: All requirements specified by the customer (e.g., technical, commercial, product and manufacturing process-related requirements, general terms and conditions, customer-specific requirements, etc.)
  • Customer-Specific Requirements: Interpretations of or supplemental requirements linked to a specific clause(s) of this Automotive QMS Standard.

The new standard more clearly defines these two terms to reduce misunderstandings, and to facilitate the sampling of customer specific quality management system requirements for effective implementation.

For example, the organization needs to review and agree with customer requirements such as packaging manuals and manufacturing process guidelines.

However, for customer-specific requirements, organizations need to review and agree after considering the impact on their entire QMS.

Here are some examples of areas that were previously customer specific requirements that are now included in more detail in IATF 16949:

  • Manufacturing feasibility
  • Warranty management
  • Temporary change of process controls
  • Supplier quality management system development
  • Second-party audits
  • Control plan
  • Problem-solving methodologies
  • Control of changes
  • Total productive maintenance
  • Standardized work


IATF 16949 adds additional requirements for both first and second-party auditors, which include:

  • Organizations shall have a documented process to verify internal auditor competency.
  • When training internal auditors, documented information shall be retained to demonstrate trainer’s competency with the additional requirements.
  • Organizations shall demonstrate the competency of second-party auditors, and second-party auditors shall meet customer-specific requirements for auditor qualification. This standard also outlines the minimum competencies for auditors, which include:
  • Automotive process approach for auditing, including risk based thinking
  • Applicable core tools requirements
  • Applicable customer-specific requirements
  • Software development assessment methodologies, if applicable these changes may require a competence gap analysis followed by additional auditor training and development activities.


Product safety is an entirely new section in the IATF standard, and a transitioning organization must have documented processes for the management of product-safety related products and manufacturing processes. New requirements related to product safety include, where applicable:

  • Special approval of control plans and FMEAs
  • Training identified by the organization or customer for personnel involved in product-safety related products and associated manufacturing processes
  • Transfer of requirements with regard to product safety throughout the supply chain, including customer designated sources

This clause highlights the fact that a product should perform to its designed or intended purpose without causing unacceptable harm or damage. Organizations must have processes in place to ensure product safety throughout the entire product lifecycle.


In the new standard, an organization is required to assess if they are capable of achieving the performance and timing targets specified by the customer, otherwise known as manufacturing feasibility.

While ISO/TS 16949 did require this kind of manufacturing feasibility analysis, it did not impose specific requirements. The new standard’s specific requirements include:

  • Using a multidisciplinary approach
  • Performing the analysis for any new manufacturing or product technology and for any changed manufacturing process or product design
  • Validating their ability to make product specifications at the required rate through production runs, benchmarking studies or other appropriate methods


Based on the increasing importance of warranty management, a new requirement has been added to IATF 16949. When an organization is required to provide warranty for their product(s), the warranty management process must address and integrate all applicable customer-specific requirements and warranty party analysis procedures to validate No Trouble Found (NTF).

Decisions should be agreed upon by the customer, when applicable.

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