Quality management in the automotive industry

The IATF – International Automotive Task Force

For a long time, different national quality standards were applied in the automotive industry. Aiming to unify the various quality standard of the individual associations and therefore to improve the quality of the product, the International Automotive Task Force, IATF for short, was founded. It is composed of representatives of international automobile manufacturers and national associations of the suppliers industry.

Quality management standards: history

Due to national laws, it is not possible to define a single universal standard for a quality management system. However, in order to standardize different quality methods as far as possible, the IATF has extended the standard ISO 9001:1994 and has published in 1999 the first version of the quality management standard ISO/TS 16949. After that, more and more automotive suppliers could get certified to meet the requirements of the automobile manufacturers.

In 2016, the standard was revised and released as supplement of the ISO 9001:2015 under the term IATF 16949:2016.

Contents of the new standard IATF 16949:2016

Under the IATF 16949:2016

  • the customer satisfaction should improve,
  • errors and risks within the supplier chain and the production should be reduced or eliminated
  • and the improvement measures taken should be tested for their efficiency.

The focus of the process-oriented standard is the definition, documentation, analysis, value added and linking of business processes. This is not limited to internal processes. External leading processes, such as interfaces with customers or suppliers, must also be represented. This should sharpen the view of the interaction and the totality of the processes.

The new standard includes additional guidelines for documentation and interpretability in the areas of:

  • customer requirements
  • guarantee management
  • product safety
  • risk-based thinking


After a transitional period of three years, only certifications according to ISO 9001:2015 will validity as of 15 September 2018, the QMS standard ISO/TS 16949 will cease to be valid. Thus, the conversion to the new standard must be completed by the deadline. Audits shall already be conducted only according to IATF 16949:2016 since 1st October 2017.

Since the certification under this standard is virtually essential to being selected as a supplier by automotive manufacturers, it also affects our SMARTCRM customers operating in the industry.

See how the IATF standard is mapped in SMARTCRM right here:

The implementation of the IATF standard 16949:2016 in SMARTCRM

Quality management in the automotive industry

15 September 2018 was an important deadline for our customers belonging to the automotive supplier industry, since the new standard IATF 16949:2016 took effect. In order to provide the greatest possible support to employees, all requirements for quality management in the IATF standard have been implemented in SMARTCRM.