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New edition of ISO/TS 16949 quality specification for automotive industry supply chain

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ISO has just published a new edition of ISO/TS 16949:2009, which specifies quality system requirements for suppliers in the automotive sector.

automotive supply chain PSA Peugeot Citroën, Sochaux
Photo: Xavier Voirol

ISO/TS 16949:2009, Quality management systems – Particular requirements for the application of ISO 9001:2008 for automotive production and relevant service part organizations, replaces the 2002 edition which has been used by the major automotive manufacturers to approve more than 35 000 organizations worldwide that produce and supply parts for the sector.

The review of ISO/TS 16949:2002 resulting in the 2009 edition was carried out by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) and ISO technical committee ISO/TC 176, Quality management and quality assurance. The generalized implementation of ISO/TS 16949 quality management systems by automotive suppliers is seen as an opportunity to improve quality while reducing costs.

ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele commented: "With the global nature of the automotive industry quality management systems based on ISO/TS 16949:2009 throughout the supply chain will serve to streamline operations, and thus help organizations cut costs while improving efficiency. The publication of ISO/TS 16949 will assist the sector and to reassure consumers and ensure significant benefits for automotive suppliers amid the challenges facing the industry."

The new document aims at the development of a quality management system that provides for continual improvement, emphasizing defect prevention and the reduction of variation and waste in the supply chain. Incorporating the requirements of ISO 9001:2008, ISO/TS 16949:2009 also includes detailed, sector-specific requirements for employee competence, awareness and training, design and development, production and service provision, control of monitoring and measuring devices, and measurement, analysis and improvement.

Joe Bransky, a member of the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) comments: “In today's lean manufacturing environment, huge contingency stocks of inventory have given way to just-in-time logistics and delivery. The foundation of certainty that ISO/TS 16949:2009 provides in terms of improved productivity, quality, and delivery in the supply-chain, is probably more essential than ever.”

The 2009 edition results from the amendment of ISO/TS 16949:2002 to ensure its compatibility with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008, Quality management systems – Requirements. There are no essential changes to the technical requirements. The modifications relate mainly to the management requirements in the document to reflect the content of ISO 9001:2008, and those that are intended to improve consistency with the environmental management system standard, ISO 14001:2004.

Up to the end of December 2008, at least 39,300 ISO/TS 16949:2002 certificates had been issued in 81 countries and economies. This represents a 12 % increase over 2007.

The IATF has set a transition period of 120 days from date of publication of the new edition – 15 June – for organizations to comply with the standard's requirements. The details of the plan are given in a communiqué by the IATF Oversight Certification Body (www.iatfglobaloversight.org).

ISO/TS 16949:2009 was prepared by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF), with the support of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 176, which is responsible for the ISO 9000 family of quality management standards.

ISO/TS 16949:2009, Quality management systems – Particular requirements for the application of ISO 9001:2008 for automotive production and relevant service part organizations, is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details). It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, price 136 Swiss francs, through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing & Communication department (see right-hand column).