ISO/TS 16949 Rules

The latest revision of the rules for achieving and maintaining International Automotive Task Force (IATF) recognition were released by the IATF on October 1, 2013 and will come into effect April 2014 with a full transition to be completed by April 2015.

2013 IATF Global Certification Body (CB) conference CB’s were given the opportunity to hear directly from IATF members the rational of the new rules, explanations of change, and ongoing requirements of the scheme including the changes expected as a result of the 9001:2015 revision.

The theme of the conference was “Raising the Bar” on suppliers, with a new effort on weeding out poorly performing clients by using the de-certification process.

The entire IAFT membership brought the same message: TS 16949 will be the requirement for all tier one manufacturing sites, the preferred option for lower tiers, or a hybrid of the requirements, presently under development. The message was also clear that the revised ISO 9001:2015 standard may not be accepted if development continues to erode the present management systems requirements.

Oversight of Certification Bodies is increasing with more witnessed audits and new rules mandate that clients allow IATF witness of audit activities. The IATF has also introduced “short notice” witness audits, typically with around 48 hours’ notice for registered clients. These may be completed by any IATF member.

New focus on credibility of the audit process has redefined the auditor’s on site activity. A mandatory, one-hour pre-audit planning session is now required prior to the beginning of any audit activity, making the first audit day nine hours. Extending hours for shift work has also been changed. Only one day can be extended, to a maximum of four hours, to cover night shifts. Double day shifts will need to be addressed by using early or late starts with the eight hour audit day.

Eligibility requirements for organizations seeking registration to TS16949 have been reviewed and clarified. A client must carry out the manufacture of parts that are an integral part of a vehicle. The only customer specific parts that do not meet this requirement but are included are fire extinguishers, car jacks, and floor mats.

All client sites will now be subject to their own TS16949 registration. The use of campus approach and site extensions has been removed. By April 2015 each manufacturing address will need its own TS certificate. CB’s will be required to carry out stage two visits to all effected sites by April 2015.

Support sites will continue to be audited prior to the stage two audit and within a certification cycle, but increased evidence will be required if the support site is visited by another IATF CB. Also, rules have been reinforced to include copies of audit reports, findings and closures, etc. to be supplied to the non-visiting CB. If the specific products or services are not covered by the other CB report then a visit will be required.

The audit process has been strengthened. Auditors will be tracked on the number of non-conformances raised during an audit against an IATF statistical model and poorly performing clients/auditors could receive short notice witnessed audits at any time by an IATF office auditor.

Major findings will require on site closure and all findings will trigger the decertification process; comprehensive corrective actions will be required with evidence of full closure, lead times of corrective actions have been shortened, and use of the 100% resolved option will need to be fully documented and only used in exceptional circumstances.

The message was clear, the IATF want poor preforming clients to be deregistered from the scheme and is raising the bar on the rest.

This article was written by Steve Upton with National Quality Assurance (NQA) and published as “IATF Rule Changes: Strengthening the Value and Credibility of TS 16949” in the NQA January 2014 Update Newsletter. For more information, contact Steve Upton at or 540-287-2848.