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Quality knowledge base - article QA-0063
Updated on 05-01-2017

IATF 16949:2016 - Quality management system requirements - Automotive

The first edition of IATF 16949:2016 is a standard - released on the 1st October, 2016 - that defines the requirements of quality management systems for the automotive sector (automotive- and road-transportation related products, parts, services, etc.). The official designation of the specification is: "Quality management system requirements for automotive production and relevant service parts organizations". The goal of this standard is to extend ISO 9001 with automotive specific requirements. By developing and maintaining an IATF 16949 conform quality management system, the organization is able to produce safer and more reliable products, sustain continual improvement, to prevent defects, to decrease risks and waste, to reduce deviations and variation, and to indirectly reduce the number of quality incidents and unexpected quality cost ("it’s always cheaper to be wrong on paper, instead of being wrong during the manufacturing"). In addition, the clear intention of the makers (IATF) was to cascade the specification through the automotive supply chain.
The IATF 16949:2016 is not a stand-alone document, but it is an autonomous standard and fully aligned with the ISO 9001:2015, using Annex SL that specifies the structure of all MSS (Management System Standards). The standard has been created by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) and the revision (and modification) is also performed by IATF, representing its international members:
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Key Features
The IATF 16949 standard cancels and replaces the previous ISO/TS 16949:2009 and certifications based on the previous version will not be valid after 14th September, 2018. On top of that, based on the transition plan of IATF, no audits (initial, surveillance, recertification or transfer) shall be conducted to ISO/TS 16949:2009, after 1st October 2017, so in case you are intending to be certified to be able to supply into the automotive industry, do not waste your time on ISO/TS 16949 any more.
Quality Management
Transition timing plan for IATF 16949:2016 (Source:;
It is important, that you can transition to IATF 16949 only by having a transition audit in line with your current audit cycle, having a:
  • Recertification audit.
  • Annual surveillance audit.
You cannot have a transition in the frame of:
  • Transfer audit to a new IATF-recognized certification body.
  • Special audit.
The ISO 9001:2015 has brought many changes (not just a structural change), and so has the new IATF 16949:2016, as it is the automotive supplement to ISO 9001. The following list contains major changes compared to the replaced version:
  • Adopted new, high level structure (as of ISO 9001:2015, based on the Annex SL).
  • More focus on risk-based thinking.
  • Changing corporate and management responsibility requirements, to support risk-based thinking by involving top management in the review, support of process owners, achievement of customer performance targets, product safety escalation process and corporate responsibility initiatives.
  • Added a large number of requirements to specifically address the development of manufacturing processes.
  • Reinforcement of concept of a "multidisciplinary approach" throughout the product lifecycle.
  • Incorporation of some OEM customer specific requirements (CSRs).
  • Clear distinction between customer requirements and customer-specific requirements (CSRs), see "Hints" section.
  • New requirements for safety related parts and processes (special approval of FMEAs and control plans, product safety related training, transfer of requirements towards the supply chain).
  • More specific requirements for manufacturing feasibility.
  • New requirements for products with embedded software.
  • Enhanced product traceability requirements (following regulatory changes).
  • Warranty management process addressing no trouble found (NTF).
  • More focus on sub-tier supplier development (and management) requirements.
  • Organizations must have a documented process to verify internal auditor competency and auditors need to know automotive core tools and customer specific requirements.
Supplementing the ISO 9001:2015 quality management system standard, the IATF 16949:2016 also has the same high level structure, switching from 8 to 10 clauses. Thanks to that, the integration and alignment of the standard with other management systems is easier and more effective. On top of that, the major content of the standard (clauses 4 - 10) are based on the PDCA approach.
Quality Management
The structure of IATF 16949:2016 (Source:;;
Unlike the previous ISO/TS 16949 version, the new IATF 16949 document does not contain the ISO:9001 base requirements, so you need to purchase it separately.
Involve 3rd party consulting companies for the support and guidance of the transition. Note: your certification body (CB) is not permitted to conduct a pre-audit or a gap assessment prior to the transition audit! It is also not allowed for the certification bodies (CB) to conduct separately the ISO 9001:2015 and IATF 16949:2016 audits.
If you are ISO/TS certified, the transition audit need to be taken seriously. If your organization fails on the transition audit, the already existing ISO/TS 16949:2009 certificate is withdrawn and you have to start over with an initial certification audit.
ISO has already given hints for transition to ISO 9001:2015, and the same is valid for IATF 16949:2016:
  • Familiarize yourself ISO 9001:2015 and IATF 16949.
  • Perform an organizational gap analysis against ISO 9001:2015 and IATF 16949 to identify the differences that need to be addressed to ensure your organization’s QMS meets all the new requirements, including those related to external providers.
  • Based on the results of the gap analysis, develop an implementation plan specific to your organization.
  • Provide appropriate training for all individuals involved in implementing ISO 9001:2015 and IATF 16949 at your organization.
  • Update your existing system and provide evidence that your organization meets the new requirements.
The new standard differentiates customer requirements and customer specific requirements (CSRs) in the following way - based on AIAG's paper of "transitioning from ISO/TS 16949:2009 to IATF 16949:2016":
  • 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 previous ISO/TS 16949 considered the following points as customer-specific requirements (usually interpreted differently by various OEMs), but the new IATF 16949 standard contains them in more detail:
  • 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.
Designing and producing quality products is a top-down matter. It is always the management and the owners, who decide to spend effort, money and time on quality. Without the commitment of the management it is impossible to sustain the manufacturing of quality products in the long-term.
Quality mindset and motivation supports quality in the most effective way. Inform your associates about the consequences of non-conform products, and how important their activity is to achieve quality objectives. In many times it can increase quality mindset and awareness throughout the entire organization. In addition, many associates get motivated if they know their work is part of a prestige / quality product. Visualizing this can support the enhancement of mindset (e.g. pictures, images, posters, etc.), and it should be part of trainings.
It is a general misunderstanding, that IATF 16949 defines quality requirements, instead it defines the requirements of quality management system, but not the quality requirements of the product or service itself. More simply:
  • Requirements of the quality management systems are defined by IATF 16949.
    Example 1: "We started the creation of an FMEA and Control Plan, as it is mandatory in the automotive business, and has to be part of the quality management system".
    Example 2: "Our organization maintains a comprehensive audit system, including scheduled process-, product- and system audits."
  • Quality requirements of a product or service are part of the contract or specification, defined by the manufacturer (based on the customer's needs). These requirements are objectives, what were obligated by the company and must be fulfilled to reach customer satisfaction.
    Example 1: "The specification of our alloy wheels demands minimum 180HV (Vickers hardness)."
    Example 2: "The warranty time of the latest model has been increased to 7 years (or 100.000 km)."
Always ask if your quality system fulfils its purpose. Many organizations (usually the bigger ones) create policies, and rules that are only paperwork instead of leading to efficient actions. The final goal is always the same, and simple: to create and to deliver quality products, that meet or even exceed the requirements of your customer.
You shouldn’t forget, the parent company is responsible for the outsourced processes, and the quality level of its sub-suppliers. Even if your customer specifies the source of equipment, tooling or raw material (customer-designated source), you are still responsible for its quality.
  • The IATF 16949:2016 is not a stand-alone, but an autonomous standard that defines the requirements of quality management systems for the automotive industry.
  • IATF 16949:2016 is not part of the ISO 9000 family, but it is in close conjunction with the ISO 9001:2015 standard.
  • IATF 16949 was created by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF).
  • The goal of the standard is to extend ISO 9001 with automotive sector-specific requirements.
  • By developing and maintaining an ISO/TS 16949 conform quality management system, the company or organization is able to sustain continuous improvement, to prevent defects, to decrease risks and waste, to reduce deviations and variation, and to indirectly reduce the number of quality incidents and unexpected quality cost.
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Fact sheet
General information about running an automotive-specific quality management system on the basis of ISO 9001.

Topic / Article: IATF 16949:2016 - Quality management system requirements for automotive production and relevant service parts organizations.
Term Category: Quality Standards and Guidelines
Business Sector: Automotive
Timing: N/A
Files, Attachments: None
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