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We just went through the IATF 16949 certification at MEKRA Lang North America – great job from the MEKRA team! Here are some learnings, let’s make it a comprehensive list to support all those that will go for it in the future!

Risk-based thinking

To maximize the potential of planned activities and minimize the chance of failures during the development of new programs, process changes or anything that might impact the customer, IATF 16949 included a number of specific risk-related requirements.

One of the requirements of IATF 16949 is that all companies ensure the compliance of all products, processes, parts and services, including all those that are outsourced. This means that the company must have a system to mitigate the risks of non-conformity throughout the supply chain.

Manufacturer feasibility

In the new IATF 16949, the company must assess whether it has the ability to meet the time and performance targets defined by customers, known as manufacturer feasibility.

ISO/TS 16949 also required the same analysis of manufacturer feasibility, but specific requirements were not imposed.

Requirement is to apply feasibility study in almost all areas that might impact the customer and is very comprehensive, especially as the whole IATF is focussing on risk minimization/mitigation.

Specific customer requirements

Several common industry practices that were found in customer specific requirements were also incorporated into IATF 16949.

The objective of integrating these practices is to facilitate the demand for specific customer requirements in these areas. It is also crucial to distinguish customer requirements and customer-specific requirements (TSRs). These two terms are defined in IATF 16949.

Supplier development

Sub-Suppliers need to be developed to meet IATF requirements and have a clear transition project plan. Suppliers that don’t want to move forward, need to be re-sourced or authorized case-by-case from the customer.

KPIs need to be clear to show the impact of low-performing suppliers and their impact to customers. Of course, consistent and documented action plans need to be executed to improve the situation.

Competence of first and second party auditors

Other requirements were added to IATF 16949 concerning first and second party auditors, including:

  • Companies must have a documented process to verify the competence of the internal auditor.
  • Documented information should be kept demonstrating the trainer’s competence in regard to the additional requirements for any internal auditor’s training.
  • Companies must demonstrate the competence of second party auditors, and second party auditors must meet the client’s specific requirements for auditor qualification.

Product safety

The IATF standard has a completely new section called Product Safety. This section requires companies in transition to have documented product safety management processes related to product and manufacturing processes.

The focus of this clause is to ensure that every product performs its intended or designated function, without causing any unexpected loss or damage. Processes must be implemented in all companies to ensure the safety of products throughout their lifecycle.

Warranty management

A new requirement was added to IATF 16949 based on the increasing importance of warranty management, consolidating IATF OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) specific customer requirements.

To validate No Trouble Found (NTF), the warranty management process must address and integrate all specific customer requirements and warranty analysis procedures.

Management Review

The management review is now comprehensive and should include almost all business processes. It is very important to address both efficiency and effectiveness of each process with the corresponding KPIs.

Company performance

The current performance with the customer might contribute to the loss of the certification: High defect rates, delivery performance issues or even controlled shipments imposed by the customer (especially if no corresponding actions or ineffective initiatives exist) might lead to the conclusion, that the quality system is not robust enough.