IATF 16949 Audit Checklist: Are You in Compliance?

IATF 16949 Audit Checklist: Are You in Compliance?

As your company prepares to pursue IATF 16949:2016 certification, an IATF 16949 audit checklist can be a powerful tool to help ensure you're ready for the external audit that certification requires. Doing everything you can before the external audit will help ensure a successful certification process. This article will review IATF 16949 basics and provide the information you need to create an IATF 16949:2016 audit checklist.

What Is IATF 16949:2016?

IATF 16949:2016, formerly called ISO/TS 16949, is the quality management system standard for the automotive industry in the United States and Europe. The International Automotive Task Force (IATF) oversees the quality standard.
IATF requirements mirror ISO 9001:2015, the global standard for quality management systems, with additional provisions based on feedback from automotive industry stakeholders, like AIAG members. The IATF standard also includes requirements specifically developed for each major car manufacturer.
Designed to cultivate improved quality and safety throughout the automotive supply chain, IATF 16949 is generally considered table stakes for today's automotive suppliers. Beyond securing entrance into the automotive industry, IATF 16949:2016 certification provides additional benefits, such as:

  • Increased credibility
  • Continuous improvement
  • Better corporate culture
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Reduced waste
  • Lower operating costs

What Are the IATF Requirements?

Like ISO 9001, IATF 16949:2016 includes 10 sections. The first three deal with scope, references and definitions, while the last seven sections outline the actual standard. Those sections cover:

  • Context of the organization
  • Leadership
  • Planning
  • Support
  • Operation
  • Performance evaluation
  • Improvement 

A thorough internal audit checklist for IATF 16949 will touch on each section.

Why Is an IATF 16949 Audit Checklist Important?

An automotive audit is a complicated process with many moving parts. An IATF 16949 audit checklist, also sometimes called an ISO/TS 16949 process audit checklist, helps you keep track of parts as you perform your internal audit.
You can use the list to look for gaps in compliance and measure progress toward overall improvement in system performance. The checklist can help determine if your quality management system promotes continuous quality improvement, defect prevention and waste reduction in your supply chain.

What Should an IATF 16949 Audit Checklist Include?

It's easy to go off the rails with an IATF 16949 audit checklist. But a good way to manage the list is to create a spreadsheet with four columns:

  • Reference — the IATF 16949 clause number
  • Focus — who to interview, what questions to ask, what records to request, which locations or departments to visit, what processes to observe
  • Compliance — usually a yes or no answer, although you sometimes may use "not applicable"
  • Findings — the names of the people who were interviewed, their responses, the titles and contents of the records that were checked, etc.

Using a simple outline like this will give you the flexibility you need to deliver comprehensive internal audit results in a timely manner. Maintaining accountability, performing a thorough risk assessment and confirming product quality should be the results of employing a good internal audit checklist for IATF 16949.

How Does the Checklist Fit into the IATF 16949 Audit Process?

Preparing an IATF 16949 audit checklist is just one step in the process of performing regular audits. To complete a thorough internal audit, you need to:

  1. Review your documentation — Familiarize yourself with the quality management system processes by reading through all the available documentation.
  2. Create the checklist — This will depend on the information you learn as you review the documentation.
  3. Plan the audit — Decide who you need to interview, what documents you need to review, where you need to visit and when.
  4. Complete the audit — The checklist will be invaluable in this step to help ensure you measure your company's compliance against every requirement.
  5. Write the report — Meticulous audit reports will include not only areas of compliance but also any non-conformities that are found. Internal audit results form the basis for correcting any non-compliant procedures.
  6. Follow up — Using your checklist, notes and report, check to ensure that all non-conformities have been addressed.

Once this process is complete, you should be ready for your external IATF 16949 certification audit.

Rely on Smithers' IATF 16949 Certification & Audit Expertise

Now that you understand how to create an IATF 16949 audit checklist, you're ready to proceed with the audit process. Smithers Quality Assessments is one of only a few United States-based auditing certification bodies approved by the IATF to certify companies to the IATF 16949:2016 standard. Contact us today to put our IATF 16949 certification and audit expertise to work for you.

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