Quality Management System for the Automotive Industry

TAKING A CLOSER LOOK AT TS 16949 / IATF 16949

While some industry standards published by ISO and other like-minded organizations are widely applicable enough to be relevant to a myriad of industries and markets, and the businesses that compose them, there are other industries that require more specific standards for guidance. These are often industries where consistency is vital. One such example of this is the automotive industry and the IATF 16949 standards. 

The TS/IATF 16949 standards are also often regarded as the ISO 16949 standards, as all three are sort of interchangeable in this instance. The 16949 standards specifically address a variety of high-level operational theories in order to improve the organization overall as a whole. 

The IATF 16949 standards are recognized internationally as the standards by which automotive manufacturers must adhere in their production efforts. These standards govern, not only regulations and other industry base-standards that manufacturers need to meet; however, they get to the heart of an organization’s operational integrity. 

There are a multitude of benefits that automotive manufacturers experience after pursuing and obtaining IATF 16949 certification. As with many other industry standards published by, or in partnership with, the ISO the IATF 16949 standards build sustainable improvements into the organization that obtains the certification. These improvements are holistic and systematic in nature. 

As mentioned above, there are a plethora of benefits that organizations see after obtaining IATF 16949 certification. These benefits are far and wide, internal and external, and all relate to the longevity of the organization. 

The benefits seen from companies that achieve IATF 16949 certification include, but are not limited to: 

There are always at least two solutions to any problem. In the context of quality management and automotive manufacturing, there are two ways to improve the quality your company produces. The first is to raise the bar from the top. The other is to elevate the minimum floor for what constitutes an acceptable quality product. 

In other words, in addition to improving the quality management systems, the processes, and the procedures within the automotive plants; IATF 16949 standards also emphasize the early identification and removal of defects. 

One of the reasons that IATF 16949 is so closely related to standards published by the ISO is because they are in concert with ISO 9001 and other ISO standards. At its core, IATF 16949 is actually a series of quality management standards – just like that of the ISO 9001 family. 

As such, one of the main benefits to pursuing and achieving an IATF 16949 certification is the elevated quality-management practices, processes, and procedures that are integrated into the automotive manufacturer. These systems and procedures result in a more consistent level of quality, which customers come to expect. 

On top of that, and beyond customer expectations, having a higher quality standard leads to a better business reputation. This in and of itself comes with a myriad of benefits that speak for themselves. 

Delivering a higher standard of quality on a consistent basis speaks volumes to your customers and business partners. The ability to deliver a high quality product without a high degree of variance develops an element of trust between your customer base and your company. The trust between you and your customers is an extremely valuable asset that can lead to an incredible series of benefits. 

Having the trust of your customer base can lead to a higher rate of customer satisfaction, a higher sense of customer loyalty, and stronger word-of-mouth referrals. These factors are significant and important as they all relate to the customer experience and customer spending habits. 

With the first, customer experience, businesses and organizations have been making an optimized customer experience more and more of a priority within their companies. The second, customer spending, is affected by the relationship that a consumer has built with any one company. Delivering a higher sense of customer satisfaction and growing customer loyalty additionally drives year-after-year spending and the average lifetime value of your customers. 

Finally, the third core pillar of IATF 16949 is the development of a company culture that emphasizes continuous improvement in its very fiber. 

The idea behind continuous improvement is that the employees, staff, management, and executives are all committed to the systems and operations that are set up within the organization. Especially those relating to various standards and certificates. 

Beyond buying into the operational system, a culture of continual improvement empowers the employees and staff on the frontlines to have a higher sense of ownership over their individual roles within the organization. This allows them to gain a more comprehensive grasp over their roles, and therefore make impactful and practical suggestions to improve the various operations and workflows throughout the company. 

The IATF 16949 standards are also referred to as the TS 16949 standards and the ISO 16949 standards. One reason for this is that the standards were developed in concert with the ISO 9001 quality management system standards. 

The 16949 series is specifically applicable to automotive manufacturers and producers. The standards address a variety of high-level operations and assist companies in establishing new systems and processes that take a comprehensive approach to significantly improving the business as a whole. 

The standards achieve this improvement through a variety of tactics and strategies. Improving the quality management system, reducing the amount of defects present in finished and unfinished products, and through developing a culture of continuous improvement, IATF 16949 holistically improves any automotive manufacturer from top to bottom. 

FINAL THOUGHTS 

The automotive industry is already extremely competitive. Take it upon yourself to gain any additional advantage over competitors that you can. Committing to obtaining an IATF 16949 certification will add to the competitive advantage that your automotive manufacturing company already has. 

For more information on the 16949 standards and the certification process, visit Glacier Consulting and get in touch with an expert ISO consultant ready to tackle any of your ISO needs today.