The IATF 16949 structure is split into 11 sections. The first three are introductory, with the last seven containing the requirements for the Quality Management System. Here is what the seven main sections are about:
Section 4: Context of the organization – This section requires the organization to determine its context 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.
Section 5: Leadership – This clause of the standard requires top 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. Section 6: Planning – The section on planning defines requirements for addressing risks and opportunities and the requirements for risk analysis. This clause also includes requirements for preventive actions, contingency plans, and quality objectives and plans to achieve them.
Section 7: Support – In this clause you can find requirements for the resources and supporting processes needed for an effective QMS. It defines requirements for people, infrastructure, work environment, monitoring and measuring resources, organizational knowledge, competence, 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, purchasing, creating the product or service, 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 section includes the requirements needed to make sure that you 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.
The benefits of IATF 16949 cannot be overstated; companies 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:
Improve your image and credibility – When customers see that you are certified by a recognized certification body, they will understand that you have implemented a system that is focused on meeting customer requirements and improvement. This improves their trust that you will deliver what you have promised.
Qualify to supply the automotive industry – This is one of the main drives for companies to get certified against IATF 16949. In order to get big customers from the automotive industry, you have to demonstrate that you are able to provide high-quality products with no defects, and an IATF 16949 certificate will prove it.
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 requirements and needs. By improving satisfaction, you improve repeat customer business.
Fully integrated processes – By using the process approach of IATF 16949, you not only look at the individual processes in your organization, but also at the interactions of those processes. By doing this, you can more easily find areas for improvement and resource savings within your organization.
Use evidence-based decision making – Ensuring that you are making decisions based on good evidence is a key to the success of an IATF 16949 QMS. By ensuring that your decisions are based on good evidence, you can better target resources to the best effect to correct problems and improve your organizational efficiency and effectiveness.
Create a culture of continual improvement – With continual improvement as the main output of the QMS, you can attain ever-increasing gains in savings of time, money, and other resources. By making this the culture of your company, you can focus your workforce on improving the processes they are directly responsible for.
Engage your people – Who better than the people working within a process to help find the best solutions for improving that process? By focusing your workforce on not only managing, but also improving the processes, they will be more engaged in the outcome of the organization.
Article Credit: 16949Academy / Advisera