IATF 16949 Countdown Checklist


By Shawn Faircloth
July 7, 2017

 In 2016, the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) published IATF 16949, which replaced the popular ISO/TS 16949 used in over 62,000 facilities globally.

IATF 16949 certification is required for all automotive suppliers, and with compliance deadlines coming up, the countdown is on for companies to make the transition.

As you prepare, you’ll want to educate yourself about the new changes, assess any gaps in your process, and create an implementation plan that addresses them. Documenting compliance can be one of the biggest hurdles for companies – an area where automated audit platforms can have a big impact.

1. Mark Your Deadlines

While many companies delay when starting these types of transitions , we’re beginning to close in on key compliance dates in the next 12 months:

  • October 1, 2017 – all audits must meet the new IATF 16949 standard – companies can no longer certify to ISO/TS 16949
  • By September 14, 2018 – transition to IATF 16949 must be complete – ISO/TS 16949 certificates no longer valid

Suppliers must make the transition according to their current ISO/TS 16949 audit cycle. That means if you have a recertification or annual surveillance audit coming up, you will need to do a transition audit according to IATF guidelines.

2. Read Up on IATF 16949 and ISO 9001

Before the transition audit, companies will need to familiarize themselves with both IATF 16949 and ISO 9001:2015. IATF 16949 supplements ISO 9001:2015, and suppliers must also comply with ISO 9001 in its entirety.

What are some of the biggest changes for suppliers under IATF 16949?

  • Risk management: Risk-based thinking is central to both IATF 16949 and ISO 9001. Companies will notice a much stronger focus on risk mitigation, particularly around changes to processes and products.
  • New customer-specific requirements: IATF 16949 includes best practices previously used in customer-specific requirements, as it aims to standardize these practices industry-wide. Suppliers need to review requirements in a range of areas that include supplier quality management, manufacturing feasibility and standardized work.
  • Product safety: IATF 16949 includes a totally new section on product safety, with specific requirements around control plans, failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) and training.
  • Audits: The new version of the standard changes internal audit frequency and process coverage requirements, so this is an area companies will need to pay close attention to.

3. Assess Gaps and Determine Needs

Once you’re familiar with what’s in IATF 16949 and ISO 9001, your organization will need to perform a gap analysis to determine whether your QMS meets the requirements.

The IATF has published a Transition Strategy [PDF] guide that can help you as you create your action plan. In most cases, IATF 16949 recertification will require:

  • Implementation of new processes and safeguards to address requirements in both IATF 16949 and ISO 9001
  • Additional training to get your team up to speed
  • Updated documentation to show proof of compliance with the standards

4. Get Your Audit Programs in Order

IATF 16949 requires suppliers to implement a system that ensures quality, and process audits included in the standard are part of that overarching goal. Many automotive OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) also impose additional audit requirements on suppliers, specifically around layered process audit (LPA) programs.

LPA programs use frequent, short audits involving multiple levels of the organization, aimed at catching process errors before they become product defects. A robust LPA program streamlines compliance with IATF 16949 and customer requirements, providing a trail that documents your risk management, nonconformance mitigation and corrective action activities.

Creating this audit documentation with a paper-based or spreadsheet-based system represents a significant investment of time and resources. To reduce costs, many companies are looking at how LPA software can help automate documentation to demonstrate compliance.

It’s important to remember, however, that LPA programs do more than just help you achieve compliance. They’re also a mechanism for building a quality culture in your organization, giving you the tools to standardize processes, engage leadership and proactively mitigate risk.


Shawn Faircloth
Shawn Faircloth
Senior Enterprise Account Executive at EASE

Shawn Faircloth has been a customer-centric business development leader and account executive for EASE since 2011.