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Volume 7 · Issue 2 · February 2002


ATG Receptive to Most Comments on Auto QMS Specifications
ISO/TS 16949:2002 Due in March; Allows More Discretion

An ISO Technical Specification (TS) containing automotive quality management system (QMS) requirements aligned with ISO 9001:2000 is about to become a reality, although it is still not known if production and service parts suppliers will be required by the sector’s original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to register to it.

What is known is that there will now be some discretion in terms of how the organizations registered to this TS will ensure the QMS conformance of their suppliers, although ISO 9001:2000 registration will remain a de facto requirement for almost all suppliers.

Following through on its plans to have a second edition out by March 2002 via ISO’s procedures for the development of a TS, the Automotive Task Group (ATG) has finalized the ballot draft of ISO/TS 16949:2002, Quality management systems–Automotive suppliers–Particular requirements for the application of ISO 9001:2000, and sent the document to ISO Central Secretariat in Geneva for final editing and publication.

The ATG, which is composed of representatives from the European, Japanese and US automotive OEMs and key suppliers, met in Munich, Germany, January 14-18, 2002, and reviewed and addressed all the comments submitted on the balloting draft of TS 16949.

"As Hank Gryn indicated previously, the ATG was always very receptive to and appreciative of the comments provided by TC 176 members," remarked Grant Gillis, Secretary of ISO Technical Committee (TC) 176, the committee responsible for the ISO 9000 series of standards and through which the ATG has developed ISO/TS 16949.

Gillis, who represented the Secretariat of TC 176 at the Munich meeting and assisted the ATG in revising the draft of the TS, indicated that the 14 delegates in attendance and others who participated by conference call accepted many of the comments, most of which were editorial or structural in nature.

For example, among the changes made was the removal of Sub-clause 3.1.1, Continual Improvement, from Sub-clause 3.1, Terms and Definitions for the Automotive Industry, since the definition for the term in ISO 9000:2000, Quality management systems–Fundamentals and vocabulary, is appropriate for the automotive sector.

"Removing 3.1.1 was more a matter of cleaning up the balloting draft, since 3.1.1 contained the verbatim definition of ‘continual improvement’ in the Draft International Standard of ISO 9000:2000," recalled Gillis. "It simply had not been removed after the ATG accepted the definition in the published edition of ISO 9000:2000."

However, the focus of the meeting was several key comments on the issue of mandatory registration of suppliers to organizations registered to ISO/TS 16949:2002. According to Gillis, the ATG resolved the concerns presented in the comments by maintaining the OEM goal of ensuring supplier QMS development through the use of ISO 9001:2000 registration, but with some flexibility.

"Unless Otherwise Specified by the Customer…"

The key comments centered on, Supplier Quality Management System Development, an addition to ISO 9001:2000’s Subclause 7.4.1, Purchasing–Purchasing Process. In the ballot draft, required suppliers to an organization registering to TS 16949:2002 to be registered by an accredited third-party to ISO 9001:2000, with the organization required to perform supplier development aimed at supplier QMS conformance with the TS. Three problems came to light with the comments:

  1. ISO/IEC Directives Part 2:Rules for the structure and drafting of International Standards and ISO/International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Guide 22, General criteria for supplier’s declaration of conformity, state that a QMS document shall be written so that conformity can be assessed by first, second or third parties.
  2. As worded, provided no discretion to either the organization registering to TS 16949:2002 or its customer(s) in the demonstration of supplier development.
  3. The wording of implies that all suppliers, not just those that provide components, materials and/or services that affect the product the organization supplies to its customer, are required to be registered to ISO 9001:2000 and pursuing conformance with TS 16949.

"With the opportunity to discuss the comments, the provisions of the ISO/IEC Directives and ISO/IEC Guide 22 and the text of the balloting draft version of, the ATG members understood that many of the comments were related partially to a misunderstanding and partially to how the requirements were stated," explained Gillis, who told THE OUTLOOK that the delegates were receptive to the comments related to and drafted revised language that eliminates the misunderstanding and improves the applicability of its requirements for supplier development.

Although Gillis cautioned that the text of is not finalized since there may be some minor editing, the revised text of requires an organization to perform supplier QMS development aimed at conformity with the requirements of TS 16949:2002, with ISO 9001:2000 conformity as the first step. The revised wording includes the following key statement:

Unless otherwise specified by the customer, suppliers to the organization shall be third-party registered to ISO 9001:2000 by an accredited third-party certification body.

"As now written, allows the sector experts to define the requirements," acknowledged Gillis. "TC 176 understands that the TS is a sector-specific document developed with the participation of the OEMs and suppliers and intended for use by customers in the sector to ensure that suppliers throughout the supply chain have mature/maturing QMS.

"By providing the customer with the discretion to set the QMS requirements while making clear that ISO 9001:2000 registration is the likely customer requirement, the TS does not automatically mandate registration to ISO 9001:2000. So, if a customer specifies an alternative approach in its contracts or its customer-specific requirements for TS 16949:2002 conformance, TS 16949:2002 will not require an organization that supplies to that customer to have its suppliers registered to ISO 9001:2000."

Likewise, the expectation is that an OEM could also be approached by a supplier to have ISO 9001:2000 registration of a subcontractor exempted from the registration requirement for justifiable reasons.

"Say the organization has a supplier that is in full conformance with ISO 9001:2000 and is a Baldrige Award recipient or has been receiving second-party audits for ISO 9001:2000 conformance and has a spotless quality record," suggested Gillis. " now permits the organization to approach its customer and work out an arrangement for that supplier to demonstrate its QMS development without needing registration."

The ATG also addressed those comments regarding the scope of suppliers covered by by including a NOTE earlier in Subclause 7.4.1 indicating that the suppliers intended are those that provide product and/or services that affect the ability of the organization to provide product that meets customer specifications. "Office Depot, for example, is not included in the scope," assured Gillis.

Next Steps

THE OUTLOOK will provide further information on the changes from the balloting draft and on the use of ISO/TS 16949:2002 once the second edition of the TS is available.

"The final draft of the TS is now being prepared by the editors in Geneva, who will be doing minor editing for consistency and formatting purposes per ISO rules, and a clean copy will be circulated to the ATG members and the TC 176 leadership so we will have the chance to review the text one last time before it is released for publication," confirmed Gillis. "ISO Central Secretariat has committed to making every effort to meet the March target for publication of the second edition."

According to a source at the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), which has a license from ISO to publish and sell ISO/TS 16949, ISO/TS 16949:2002 will be available from AIAG by April 1, 2002. The price was not yet determined. The source also indicated that QS-9000 and the Tooling and Equipment (TE) Supplement to QS-9000 would "remain in effect" after December 15, 2003, although this could not be confirmed at press time.

There have been no indications from DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company or General Motors Corporation so far that any one of the Big Three will be altering its mandate to specify registration to TS 16949:2002 as the preferred or only option for all or any group of suppliers.

THE OUTLOOK therefore recommends that suppliers evaluate TS 16949:2002 once published and consider whether transitioning from QS-9000 (ISO 9001/2:1994) to TS 16949:2002 (ISO 9001:2000) is a practical business decision.

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