ISO/TS 16949

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Manufacturers of automotive parts supplied to automakers most certainly must get ISO/TS 16949 certified to remain competitive.

ISO/TS 16949 is an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) technical specification for the development of a quality management system, specifically for the development, production, and, when relevant, installation and servicing of automotive-related products. The standard provides for continual improvement of these processes, emphasizing defect prevention and the reduction of variation and waste in the supply chain. It is based on the ISO 9001 standard.


ISO/TC 16949 is based on DaimlerChrysler, Ford, and General Motors' QS-9000 quality systems standards as well as the ISO 9000 family of standards. In June 1988, at the ASQ Automotive Division conference, a group of parts suppliers suggested to the attending vice presidents the need for a set of quality assessment standards separate from the ISO 9000 standards, which were introduced only a year earlier. At that time suppliers noted that ISO 9000 "lacked some elements in current automotive industry documents, such as business plans, customer satisfaction, continuous improvement, manufacturing capabilities, and much of the advanced quality planning content."[1] The QS-9000 manual — based on content from ISO 9001 — was eventually released in August 1994, followed by a second edition in February 1995, which caught on worldwide with other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). A few months later, at a European QS-9000 implementation meeting, representatives for the U.S. automakers learned that similar efforts had already been underway in the forms of "VDA 6.1 in Germany, AVSQ in Italy, and EAQF in France."[1] A desire to further unify these disparate standards was expressed, resulting in the creation of the International Automotive Task Force (IATF).[2]

The ISO Technical Committee (TC) 176, responsible for quality management and assurance standards, took notice and, not wanting to fraction ISO 9000 standards into sector-specific branches, attempted to convince the IATF to adopt ISO 9000. However, after several meetings, the TC 176 agreed the family of standards was not comprehensive enough for the automotive industry and vowed to include updates in the next version. Though the technical committee worked with the IATF, their needs were different enough that the automotive-specific changes would not be able to make it into the upcoming 2000 iteration. By November 1997, the two groups agreed on using the ISO technical report as a tool for the requirements, which would be based off of ISO 9001:1994.[1]

By the time the first draft document was created in the fall of 1998, a new type of ISO document became available: a Technical Specification (TS). The IATF agreed to this format, and in November 1998, ISO/TS 16949 was initially approved as the first ISO Technical Specification, with a second official printing arriving in March 1999.[1] In March 2002, a revised ISO/TS 16949:2002 was released to align with changes to ISO 9001, putting more focus on how "to improve effectiveness and efficiency of the entire process instead of a narrow focus on mere compliance with standards."[3][4] The current version is ISO/TS 16949:2009. It was released in July 2009 and draws off of ISO 9001:2008, "emphasizing defect prevention and the reduction of variation and waste in the supply chain."[5]

The standard

ISO/TS 16949 applies to the design, development, production and, when relevant, installation and servicing of automotive-related products. The requirements are intended to be applied throughout the supply chain, with vehicle assembly plants being encouraged to seek ISO/TS 16949 certification so as to improve system and process quality, to increase customer satisfaction, to identify problems and risks in production process and supply chain, and to take preventive measures to ensure effectiveness.[4]

The technical specification is organized as follows[6][7]:


This section introduces the perceived importance of quality management systems as well as adopting a process-based approach to their development and implementation. It also addresses its relationship to the ISO 9001, 9004 and 14001 standards.


The scope and application of the standard is described as defining "the quality management system requirements for the design and development, production and, when relevant, installation and service of automotive-related products."[6]

Normative references

This section states the definitions in ISO 9000:2005 are vital to applying the specification.

Terms and definitions

Additional definitions like "control plan," "error proofing," and "laboratory scope" are defined.

Quality management system

The requirements for the operational effectiveness of a manufacturer's quality management system are outlined in this section. The requirements are broken down into two subsections:

4.1 General requirements

4.2 Documentation requirements

Management responsibility

This section outlines the managerial responsibilities associated with designing and implementing a quality management system. These responsibilities are broken into six subsections:

5.1 Management commitment

5.2 Customer focus

5.3 Quality policy

5.4 Planning

5.5 Responsibility, authority and communication

5.6 Management review

Resource management

This section outlines the requirements for managing the various resources needed to develop and maintain a quality management system as well as improve its effectiveness. These responsibilities are broken into four subsections:

6.1 Provision of resources

6.2 Human resources

6.3 Infrastructure

6.4 Work environment

Product realization

The requirements for managing the aspects of a quality management system that directly affects how products are designed, produced, and shipped are covered in this section, which spans six subsections:

7.1 Planning of product realization

7.2 Customer-related processes

7.3 Design and development

7.4 Purchasing

7.5 Production and service provision

7.6 Control of monitoring and measuring equipment

Measurement, analysis and improvement

The requirements of this section address how products created through the quality management system should conform and be continually assessed for improvement. This section is divided into five subsections:

8.1 General

8.2 Monitoring and measurement

8.3 Control of nonconforming product

8.4 Analysis of data

8.5 Improvement

Annex A

Annex A: Control plan "shows the correspondence between ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004."[6]


Manufacturers get ISO/TS 16949 certified based of the certification rules issued by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF). Those certification rules changed in April 2014, "intended to strengthen the value of the certification as seen by the customers of the scheme, i.e. the automotive OEMs who receive the products that are produced by the suppliers certified to the scheme."[8] The new rules place extra emphasis on customer-measured performance as well as audit planning, including additional controls on site extensions, ring fencing, and nonconformity management. In March 2014, standards institute BSI outlined all the changes that took place to the certification process in their document Presentation by BSI on the main changes to the IATF ISO/TS 16949 certification scheme.[8]

Certifications last three years, and according to the new rules, the first recertification audit should be completed within exactly three years of the initial Stage 2 audit.[8]

Further reading

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Reid, R. Dan. "TS 16949 - The First ISO Technical Specification". GM Heritage Center. General Motors. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  2. Cassel, Michael (2007). ISO/TS 16949 - Qualitätsmanagement in der Automobilindustrie umsetzen: Qualitätsmanagement in der Autoindustrie umsetzen. Germany: Carl Hanser Verlag GmbH & Co. p. 1. ISBN 3446227296. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  3. "The Automotive Industry’s Shift from QS-9000 to ISO/TS 16949:2009". Cebos. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Kartha, C.P. (2004). "A comparison of ISO 9000:2000 quality system standards, QS9000, ISO/TS 16949 and Baldrige criteria". The TQM Magazine (Emerald Group Publishing Limited) 16 (5): 336. doi:10.1108/09544780410551269. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  5. "New edition of ISO/TS 16949 quality specification for automotive industry supply chain". International Organization for Standardization. 2 July 2009. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 [ "ISO/TS 16949:2009(en) Quality management systems — Particular requirements for the application of ISO 9001:2008 for automotive production and relevant service part organizations"]. ISO Online Browsing Platform (OBP). International Organization for Standardization. 2009. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  7. Lewis, Art J. "Understanding The ISO/TS 16949:2002 Standard". Ask Art Solutions. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Lomas, Frank (14 March 2014). "Presentation by BSI on the main changes to the IATF ISO/TS 16949 certification scheme" (PDF). The British Standards Institution. Retrieved 21 February 2015.