Automotive Quality Management System

The automotive industry is one of the major industries in the economic sector globally. The automotive supply chain is composed of OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers such as Ford and Toyota) and suppliers who provide components/parts/subassemblies to these OEMs.

In 1994, the first so-called automotive standard came out which was known as QS-9000. This standard was based on the requirements of the Big 3 truck manufacturers in the U.S. namely Ford, Daimler-Chrysler and General Motors. The standard was developed to provide a standard approach for quality assurance among automotive suppliers. Unfortunately, QS-9000 ended in December 14, 2006 for such reason that the standard’s approach for quality assurance was exclusively for the Big 3 and the requirements were merely an elemental tactic.

The impediments for QS-9000 were successfully hurdled by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF). In 1999, they released ISO/TS 16949 which was a totally expanded and substantiated standard for the automotive supply chain. ISO/TS 16949 was aimed to be an International Automotive Standard which its predecessor failed to attain.

The current version of ISO/TS 16949 was released in 2009 which is aligned with ISO 9001:2008 requirements.

ISO/TS is an amalgamation of ISO 9001 requirements and Customer-specific requirements. The goals for TS are;

  1. Continual Improvement
  2. Defect Prevention
  3. Reduction of variation in the supply chain

Apart from the requirements mentioned above, an automotive supplier needs to demonstrate that they are effectively implementing the automotive core tools which are listed as follows:

APQP – Advanced Product Quality Planning

PPAP – Production Part Approval Process

FMEA – Failure Mode and Effects Analysis

MSA – Measurement Systems Analysis

SPC – Statistical Process Control

For the automotive supply chain, certification to ISO/TS 16949 is one thing but making the business management processes work effectively and efficiently poses an ultimate challenge.

Continual improvement is the driving factor for any organization for continued revenue and profitability. The road to success is tough but getting there is extremely possible.

– Sonny Tapia, Senior Process Consultant, ECCI

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