iso/ts 16949


Quality management system acc ISO/ТS 16949 technical specification

The ISO/TS16949 is an ISO technical specification aiming to the development of a quality management system thatprovides for continual improvement, emphasizing defect prevention and the reduction of variation and waste in the supply chain. It is based on the ISO 9001 and the first edition was published in March 2002 as ISO/TS 16949:2002.
It was prepared by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) and the "Technical Committee" of ISO. It harmonizes the country-specific regulations of Quality-Management-Systems.
About 30 percent of the more than 100 existing automobile manufacturers affiliate the requirements of the norm butespecially the large Asian manufacturers have differentiated, own requirements for the quality management systems of their corporate group and their suppliers.
TS16949 applies to the design/development, production and, when relevant, installation and servicing of automotive-
related products. It is based on ISO 9001.
The requirements are intended to be applied throughout the supply chain. For the first time vehicle assembly plants will be encouraged to seek ISO/TS16949 certification.

Historical background

Many suppliers were asked by the car manufacturers (OEMs) to build and certify their quality management system according to the rules and regulations of their own country organizations, such as:

  • VDA (Germany) 
    ● AIAG (North America)
    ● AVSQ (Italy) 
    ● FIEV (France) 
    ● SMMT (UK) 

But due to this regulation a supplier needed to provide two different certificates for Daimler and Chrysler (VDA 6.1 for Germany and QS 9000 America), even though the supplier delivered only to a single company. These dubieties accelerated the need for harmonization.

Content of the specification

Aim of the standard is to improve the system and process quality to increase customer satisfaction, to identify 
problems and risks in production process and supply chain, to eliminate its causes and to examine taken corrections and preventive measures for their effectiveness. The focus lies not on the discovery, but on the avoidance of errors. The eight main chapters of the standards are:

  • Section 1-3: Introduction and Preface 
    ● Chapter 4: Quality Management System (general requirements, control of documents and records) 
    ● Chapter 5: Responsibility of the management 
    ● Chapter 6: Management of resources 
    ● Chapter 7: Product realization 
    ● Section 8: Measurement, Analysis and Improvement

The process-oriented approach to business processes that is addressed in the ISO 9001:2008 stands at the forefront of the standard. It looks at the business processes in a process environment in which there are interactions and interfaces that need to be recognized, mapped and controlled by the quality management system. Additionally the gateways to the exterior (to sub-suppliers, customers and to remote locations) are defined. The Standard distinguishes between customer-oriented processes, supporting processes and management processes. This process-oriented approach is meant to improve the understanding of the whole process. Not an isolated process, but the entity of all interacting business processes affect the quality performance of a firm.
A key requirement of ISO / TS 16949:2009 is the fulfillment of customer-specific requirements, set up by the automobile manufacturer in addition to the quality management system of their suppliers. This may have decisively contributed to the worldwide recognition of the TS by many manufacturers.


The ISO/TS 16949 can be applied throughout the supply chain in the automotive industry. A certification takes place on the basis of the certification rules issued by the IATF (International Automotive Task Force). The certificate is valid for the length of three years and must be confirmed annually by an IATF certified auditor (3rd Party Auditor) of an accredited certification body such as Bureau Veritas, TUV or DEKRA. Thereafter follows the re-certification for another three years with afresh annual confirmation. A certificate according to ISO/TS 16949 is intended to build up or enforce the confidence of a (potential) customer into the system and process quality of a (potential) supplier. Today, a supplier without a valid certificate has very little chance to serve a Tier 1 supplier and certainly no chance to serve a car manufacturer (OEM) with standard parts.


All OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer) have declared this technical specification as standard. Whether this willimprove the quality of automobiles remains unclear. If the specification meets the promises of its proponents, then we should expect declining number of recalls, with statistical significance, over the next years.

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