A successful partnership between ISO and the international automotive industry has resulted in the publication of a new edition of ISO/TS 16949, which specifies quality system requirements for suppliers in this sector.

It is expected that the technical specification (TS) will become the common and unique basis for the automotive industry's quality management system requirements worldwide, gradually replacing the multiple national specifications now used by the sector (e.g. QS 9000, AVSQ, VDA6.1 and EAQF). ISO/TS 16949 therefore has a substantial potential market comprising more than 30 000 companies currently certified (registered) against one or other of the national specifications.

ISO/TS 16949:2002, Quality management systems - Particular requirements for the application of ISO 9001:2000 for automotive production and relevant service part organizations, costs 116 Swiss francs and is available from ISO national member institutes (see complete list with contact details), and from ISO Central Secretariat (customerservice@iso.org). ISO will also publish a French language version.

The new document, which replaces ISO/TS 16949:1999, results from an agreement between ISO and the International Automotive Task Force (IATF), aimed at meeting the quality management system needs of the international automotive sector.

ISO/TS 16949:2002 was developed by a partnership comprising the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) and the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), with the support of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 176, which is responsible for the ISO 9000 family of quality management standards

Henry Gryn, leader of the IATF delegation, commented, "The IATF is pleased to announce the release of ISO/TS 16949:2002 for the global automotive supply chain. This technical specification is a value-adding document for the automotive sector. The process for completion was fast and involved participation by original equipment manufacturers (OEM's), suppliers and ISO/TC 176 members. We believe that this technical specification, when coupled with its accompanying registration scheme, has significant benefits for the suppliers to whom it is applicable and for subscribing OEM's."

Pierre Caillibot, chairman of ISO/TC 176, observed, "The publication of the second edition of ISO/TS 16949 marks an important step for the automotive industry worldwide. It confirms that the profound changes made to ISO 9001 in its year 2000 edition have not diminished its relevance as the undisputed foundation standard for quality management systems. This is good news for the hundreds of thousands of organizations which have elected over the years to implement the ISO 9000 standards.

"The anticipated use of ISO/TS 16949:2002 by the automotive industry worldwide also signals that the goal of converging sector-specific initiatives on to the foundation of ISO 9001:2000 is a realistic one."

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 9001:2000, ISO/TS 16949:2002 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.

The individual OEM members of the IATF, including DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, Ford, Fiat, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault, BMW and Volkswagen, are now in the process of formulating or announcing their policies for implementation of the technical specification by their respective supply bases.