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What are Automotive Quality Standards?

What are Automotive Standards?

Automotive Quality Standards are the standards applicable to automotive parts manufacturers. These are mandatory to Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) such as, Ford, Chrysler, GM. Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Kia motors etc.

The Most commonly applicable automotive quality standards are IATF16949:2016. This IATF 16949:2016 standard has referenced all automotive ISO standards requirements as per ISO 9001:2015 and has few additional items unique to the automotive industry as additional automotive quality standards requirements.

German Auto Industry accepts most parts of IATF16949:2016 but has added some more additional features and published their own automotive quality standards applicable to the German Automobile Industry known as VDA. VDA stands for Verband der Automobilindustrie.

An important instrument in the monitoring of processes in an automotive industry is the process audit. This forms the integral part of the VDA strategy. The VDA 6 standard is classified as follows:

Quality Audit FundamentalsQuality Management System Audit ProductsQuality Management System Audit ServicesProcess Audit Serial Production/ ServicesQuality Management System Audit Production EquipmentProduct Audit (Materials and Non- Material)Process Audit Production Equipment

Both Automotive Quality Standards (IATF 16949:2016 and VDA 6.3) unilaterally incorporate all Quality Management System requirements described in ISO 9001:2015, but do add additional features, some of which are listed below:

IATF includes all quality requirements stated in ISO 9001:2015 and has referenced the same in the standard. Additional requirements in IATF16949:2016 against each clause, are stated as supplemental requirements and are listed below:

Clause#           Supplemental Requirements

4.3                   Added customer specific requirements as an additional item for scope

4.4                   Added conformance to product processes and product safety

5.2                    Added requirements of management representative

6.1                   Added preventive actions and contingency plans, including revalidation requirements

6.2                   Added that quality objectives to be aligned with annual performance targets

7.2                   Added that competence of internal auditors and second party auditors to be ascertained

7.3.                  Added that awareness to include employee motivation and support

8.1                   Added confidentiality clause to operations control

8.2                   Added that customer communication to include special characteristics sought by customer

8.3                   Added that design validation to include embedded parts also

8.4.                  Added quality control/quality assurance measures for externally provided   products, & services

9.1                    Added that Monitoring and measurement include use of statistical tools

9.2                    Added that Internal audits will be in addition to layered process audits and product audits

9.3                   Added that Management review has additional items

10.2                 Added Problem solving, Error-proofing, Warranty management systems, Customer complaints and field failure test analysis

10.3                Added that methodology for determining Objectives, measurement effectiveness, manufacturing process improvement plans and Risk Analysis (FMEA) be included in continual improvement.

Some additional requirements are explained below:

Product Safety: Items manufactured should ensure that they do not cause any safety risks while being used in final assemblies or attachments. Every part manufacturer must have knowledge about the final use of his item until end of the life cycle of the product.

Mistake Proofing: Additional efforts are required by manufacturers to prevent human errors. Examples of error proofing are as follows:

Examples of mistake proofing

Documented Processes: IATF 16949:2016 mandates evidence on 19 Documented Processes mentioned in Clause # s 4,5,6,7,8.9 sand 10

Document Processes

Documented processes

Auditor Competence: Organizations must have a documented process to ensure that competence of internal auditors is verified before internal audits are conducted and the competence of in-house auditors is updated periodically to meet the changing requirements of the industry and standards.

The internal auditors are expected to perform System Audits based on Process Approach and verify records of Layered Process Audits and Product Audits.

Management Representative: The standard mandates that one person must have overall responsibility and authority to implement all requirements of the Standard and make data available for Management and Auditors for review and records. This person would be the ex officio organizer for all Management System Review Team meetings and must record action items resulting from the review meetings and follow through until actions come to logical and conclusive ends.

End of Life of Product: Organizations are responsible for the product until the end of life of the product. The product may be recalled at any stage of operation or usage. The Management System must provide for this activity and the Management Representative shall coordinate all activities related to it, including product disposal activity.

Application of Automotive Core Tools: IA   IATF 16949:2016 mandates that Automotive Quality Core Tools are applicable to all Tier1 and Tier 2 suppliers. There following are, Automotive Quality Core Tools that are applicable:

1.    Advanced Parts Quality Plan (APQP)

  1. Control Plan

2.    Production Part Approval Process (PPAP or Simply PAP)
3.    Failure Mode Effects Analysis

      a. Design Failure Mode Effects Analysis (DFMEA)
      b. Process Failure Mode Effects Analysis (PFMEA)

4.    Measurement System Analysis
5.    Statistical Process Control

Major Differences of IATF 16949 with VDA

A major difference is IATF 16949 cites Quality Management System requirements, whereas VDA6.3 details Customer Specific requirements. Clause 4.3.2 of IATF which says, “Customer-Specific Requirements shall be evaluated and included in the scope of organization’s quality management system,” whereas the followed is included in VDA 6.3 in element P7 states that, “Quality Management system, Product and Process requirements shall be fulfilled under customer support and satisfaction.”

VDA 6.3’s most popular Process Audit includes a scoring pattern for audit reporting which is presented as a percentage of maximum score achievable.

PointsAssessment of Individual Requirements
10Full compliance to requirements
8Requirements Mainly Satisfied, minor deviations
6Requirements Partially Satisfied; Significant Deviations
4Requirements Inadequately Satisfied, Major Deviations
0Requirements not Satisfied

Score is accorded to answers for each process-related question by auditors based on above table. Degree of achievement EE for a process element is calculated as:

EE =Total of All Points Awarded for all Relevant Questions (%)
Total of All Possible Points for Relevant Questions

Way to Automotive Certification

By leveraging vast experience, QSE organizes the entire Automotive certification process into micro-activities and helps its customers at each step of the entire process.

  • Forming the team and Identification of Management Representative:

The automotive certification process starts with the formation of an internal Management System Review Team within the facility and the selection of an Automotive Quality Management System Team Leader / Management Representative from the team. With its vast experience, QSE suggests methods of doing it.

  • Designing the Automotive Quality Management System (AQMS):

QSE will train and design your Automotive Quality Management System (AQMS) to institute all requirements of Automotive standards and methods for conducting all types of audits such as product audits, layered process audits, etc., and pass with flying colors every time.

  • Preparation of the Checklist for Documented Processes:

QSE will prepare an Automotive Checklist to be followed by facilities to ensure that all documented processes are made and all Automotive Quality Core Tools are implemented.

Any score below 10 will be discovered during internal audits to be done by QSE. For VDA 6.3, QSE ensures that the factors leading to low score are eliminated and VDA 6.3 compliance is ensured at a level of 10.

  • Prepare Comprehensive Documentation:

QSE can prepare comprehensive documentation under AQMS to create evidence to verify the effectiveness of Automotive Quality Management Systems.

    • QSE documentation includes a mock scoring system to ensure compliance to VDA 6.3.
    • QSE documentation includes special additional requirements covered in IATF 16949 or VDA 6.3 Automotivem Quality Standards.
    • QSE has a comprehensive documentation system which is unique, evidence based, data driven, simplified and single level.
    • Documentation developed by QSE will guarantee IATF or VDA 6.3 compliance for any facility within automotive industry.
    • The documentation can be submitted during pre-audits, and, if required, QSE can defend its documentation at any stage.
  • Conduct Internal Audits:

QSE will conduct a comprehensive internal audit by certified and competent auditors to verify the accuracy and adequacy of documentation which is a requirement before Automotive audit.

  • Help with Automotive Quality Core Tools:

QSE offers comprehensive Training on the application of Automotive Quality Core Tools. QSE helps in identifying applicable tables and templates necessary for implementing the core tools. QSE helps in formulating Control Plans and identifying cross-functional teams and elements to be considered for both Design FMEA processes and Process FMEA processes, methods for recording data on all FMEA experiments, and methods to verify and validate results and the forms for submission of FMEA results to customer for acceptance. QSE helps in selecting the forms for APQP, explaining the application of APQP forms with a practical, hands-on methods to make sure submissions to the customer have no flaws and the APQP gets approved. QSE helps prepare PPAP warrants for approval by Customers. QSE helps in identifying instruments that require Reliability and Reproducibility (R&R) studies and the methods to record data to show as evidence of compliance. QSE helps in preparing Statistical Process Control Charts required for analysis and process corrections.

  • Customer Specific Requirements:

In addition to the application of Automotive Quality Core Tools, QSE helps in preparing charts to have a check-off list to ensure compliance to all OEM customers’ specific requirements.

  • Gap Analysis:

QSE conducts extensive gap analysis. The gap analysis report provides exact scores possible in VDA 6.3 Audit or the extent of compliance with IATF 16949:2016 requirements. The report from QSE indicates what needs to be addressed to meet compliance to Automotive Quality Standards.

  • Assistance to Close the Gaps:

QSE educates and assists the teams on how nonconformities are to be fixed within a specific period, usually one month.

  • Coaching for Final Audit:

QSE will organize structured sessions to prepare all the stakeholders to face the final audit comfortably.

  • Support during Audit:

QSE will provide all kinds of support during the final audit process to ensure the facility meets all audit requirements. QSE experts aid facilities during certification/surveillance audits without interfering with Automotive Certification Body auditors. Often Automotive Certification Bodies do not permit the presence of QSE staff during the certification audit. Hence, QSE comes in before the certification audit and ensures that all required documents and data are in order, to show as evidence of compliance to Certification Body.


Frequently Asked Questions​

Yes, it is possible but not logical. A facility must implement all Quality Management Requirements of ISO 9001:2015 and then implement additional requirements of IATF 16949:2016 or VDA 6.3 Having implemented all requirements, it is not logical to go in for certification.

Please refer to the Annex of the standard where the mandatory requirements of application of Automotive Quality Core tools is mentioned. A facility cannot get certification without implementing Application of Automotive Quality Core Tools

Typically, any automotive certification process takes 6 to 7 months. In addition to this time also depends on time taken by customers to give approval for Application of Automotive Core Tools prior to start of bulk production. Time depends on availability of Automotive ISO Standards Certification Bodies.

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Bhaskar Kotte

Baskar Kotte

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