SWITCH TO IATF 16949: 2016 – It is no sorcery

The IATF 16949 has a few more stringent requirements than ISO TS 16949. However, anyone who has dealt with ISO 9001:2015 and who can build on a functioning management system according to ISO TS 16949: 2009 will be able accomplish this task. The biggest problem is the short conversion time of nine months allotted by the IATF to the company.

The duty of the management

The aspects of tools for management and risk assessment were already well-known topics for ISO TS 16949:2009, but are now reinforced again with the ISO9001:2015. During our consulting activities, we found that the evaluation of the stakeholders and the assessment of the associated risks for the companies is not only a cause of concern when switching to the ISO9001 standard, but that it even forces established automotive suppliers to tread on new ground. Overall, the management of the company is being given more responsibility. They are expected to provide transparent information on their activities, management methods and results. Often, only a few good tips and templates are all what it takes to turn concern into an “Aha”-experience.

The IATF 16949 puts even more pressure on managers and calls for “corporate responsibility” such as ethics, code of conduct, anti-corruption policies, etc.. In my opinion this is not an issue of compliance, but a necessary consideration of our own responsibility, needing appropriate phrasing and understandable communication inside and outside the company; which closes the circle for the interested parties.

Additional training for more value

Increased demands can also be found in the section of knowledge management. The requirements of ISO9001 are made more stringent by the IATF with explicit requirements for internal and 2nd party auditors. In my opinion, the intensification can be seen as an opportunity. System and especially process audits carried out by professional and experienced auditors, are a vital contribution to the internal process optimization and supplier development. In the long-term dialogue, more money can be saved than with short-term and gruelling cost-saving rounds.

The Product Safety Representative (PSB), which until now has mainly been the focus of VW, is now explicitly dealt with in the IATF (chap. This also requires proof that the person nominated by the organization has the appropriate knowledge.

High documentation effort

In contrast to ISO 9001:2015, which tries to reduce the documentation effort, the IATF 16949:2016 require a total of 24 pieces of documented information and processes – in addition to ISO 9001:2015. These include, for example, the management of product-safety-relevant products and production processes as well as the legal and regulatory requirements. The demand for a documented development process makes sense. Only with a well-structured and interdisciplinary APQP process will the launch of new products become a success.

There is barely enough time

The “Transition to IATF”, as the conversion of ISO TS 16949:2009 to the IATF 16949:2016 is also called, is no sorcery. However, reviewing existing documentation and identifying differences (GAP analysis) should not to be underestimated and requires know-how.

From September 14, 2018, all ISO TS16949 certificates lose their validity. According to the IATF Transition Requirements, however, no audits (monitoring, transfer or recertification audits) may be carried out by the certification bodies starting on the 1st of October 2017.

After the IATF 16949:2016 had been published in October 2016, it took until December 2016 until it was available and could be trained on. This means that the time remaining for transition from ISO TS 16949 to the IATF 16949:2016 is just nine months. This short deadline is a bomb imposed onto the manufactures by the IATF. Probably no Quality Manager has been waiting for more stringent requirements from the automotive industry. Especially because they have to implement the new standard with so little time. The daily business, where the money is earned to maintain the QM systems, will not stop and wait until the conversion to the IATF standard has been completed. The products would certainly not have had been worse if the businesses had been allowed to use the IATF 16949:2016 for the entire period up to the 14th September 2018.

A rigorous project planning, a lot of resources (internal and possibly external) as well as a compressed transfer of knowledge into the company are necessary in every case to achieve this ambitious goal.