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IATF 16949 Certification

IATF 16949 Certification & Audit Checklist

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IATF 6949 Certification and IATF 16949 Audit Checklist for Automotive industry

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Introduction to IATF 16949 Certification

IATF 16949:2016, which replaced ISO/TS 16949:2009, is an independent standard for Quality Management System (QMS) applicable to the automotive sector. Aligned to the requirements of ISO 9001:2015, it focuses on continual improvements, particularly defect prevention, reduction of waste and preventing variation in the supply chain.

To get certified, organizations need to implement a QMS aligned to IATF 16949 standards which must be audited and approved by a recognized certification body.


There are two types of IATF certifications — 

  • Certification of company’s QMS against IATF 16949 requirements 
  • Certification of individuals to audit against the IATF 16949 requirements 

Benefits of IATF 16949 Certification

Being IATF 16949 compliant is not a regulatory requirement but can also benefit the businesses by improving processes and efficiency that drives cost savings. Besides ensuring customer satisfaction and improvement, some of the other advantages to get IATF 16949 certification include—

  • Reduced operating costs
  • Improved stakeholder relationships
  • Proven business credentials
  • Ability to win more business
  • Global recognition as a reputable supplier to the automotive industry
  • Consistent quality approach
  • Fully integrated processes
IATF 16949 Audit Checklist

What are the practical steps to becoming IATF 16949 certified?

Once all the documentation and implementation process is complete, companies must focus on these three steps before applying for IATF 16949 certification.

  • 1
    A thorough internal audit of the QMS processes. This internal audit’s objective is to ensure all the records are compliant and spot any issues and weaknesses that are otherwise hidden.
  • 2
    A formal management review to evaluate the relevant information about the management system processes and make necessary decisions and assign resources.
  • 3
    Carry out corrective actions on the root cause of any problems discovered during internal audit and management review.

Upon completion of these three steps, the company can move to the certification process, which is divided into two stages:

  • 1
    Stage One – This is the documentation review stage where the auditors from the chosen certification body will check to ensure the documentation meets the IATF 16949 requirements.
  • 2
    Stage Two – Once the documentation review is complete, the certification body auditors conduct the main audit to ensure that the actual activities are compliant with both IATF 16949 and own documentation by reviewing documents, records, and company practices.

How many clauses are there in IATF 16949 standard?

Organizations looking to get certified in IATF 16949 must be compliant with ISO 9001. The new ISO 9001:2015, which acts as the base for IATF 16949:2016, has ten clauses. The standard focuses on management, quality policy and procedures, customer, performance, control, measurement, auditing, decision making, and corrective actions.

IATF 16949 standard

When to Implement IATF 16949 Certification?

An organization focused on implementing IATF 16949 showcases its commitment to supplying good quality products and services to its customers. With a robust QMS system at the heart of the implementation, the organization focuses on improving employee productivity, increasing customer loyalty, identifying and eliminating risks within the organization, and expanding to newer markets. An organization can opt for IATF 16949 certification when

  • customers insist on it as part of the contract
  • the objective is to improve product quality and customer satisfaction

How to Implement IATF 16949 Certification?

The IATF 16949 certification process starts with defining the quality policy, quality manual, quality objective, and the overall scope and implementation of the QMS. Once all the information is in hand, the organization must focus on the following steps to get certified

  • ISO 9001
    Identify QMS requirements, including the standard’s requirements, laws, and regulations, requirements for the company’s culture
  • ISO 9001
    Define QMS scope
  • ISO 9001
    Define processes and procedures according to IATF 16949:2016
  • ISO 9001
    Implement new processes and tweak existing procedures to comply with the new standard
  • ISO 9001
    Provide necessary training and awareness programs to employees
  • ISO 9001
    Review and select the right certification body
  • ISO 9001
    Operate QMS within the organization and collect records
  • ISO 9001
    Conduct thorough internal audit
  • ISO 9001
    Take necessary corrective action upon management review
  • ISO 9001
    Prepare for certification audit from an authorized body

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What is an IATF 16949 Audit Checklist?

An IATF 16949 audit checklist is a comprehensive list that quality managers use to evaluate if the company’s QMS is aligned to the IATF 16949:2016 standard. As IATF 16949 is applicable to automotive suppliers, the primary objective of the IATF 16949 audit checklist is to ensure that the QMS promotes defect prevention, continuous quality improvement, and waste reduction in the supply chain. The IATF 16949 audit checklist will usually contain four columns —


  • ISO 9001
    Reference to clause number in the IATF 16949 standard
  • ISO 9001
    Focus area such as question asked, interviewee name and designation, processes observed, etc
  • ISO 9001
    Compliance with the clause or standard
  • ISO 9001
    Audit findings

Importance of IATF 16949 audit checklist

An organization looking to get IATF 16949 certified must conduct an internal audit before approaching a certification body. As part of the process, the internal auditor must make a note of all the observations and remarks in a detailed document that will be later reviewed by the external auditor. To help with the process, creating a conclusive audit checklist is important and must include all the relevant questions and sections as per the requirements of the IATF 16949 standard. There are several benefits to an IATF 16949 audit checklist. Some of them are —

  • Helps the auditor record the findings accurately.
  • Acts as a reference document while creating the audit report
  • Becomes a record of policies and processes that shall be reviewed during the main audit

Training for IATF 16949 certification with CQ

CQ Training Management helps businesses train for IATF 16949 by streamlining the training process and ensuring knowledge and retention. Integrated training into EQMS creates a stable, reliable, and repeatable training management process, thus ensuring that the entire organization has the knowledge it needs, from GxP guidelines to international standards to government regulations. Some of the advantages of the CQ Training Management Module listed below —

  • ISO 9001

    Maintain compliance and always be ‘audit ready’

  • ISO 9001

    Develop individualized and role-specific training

  • ISO 9001

    Maintain up-to-date training records

  • ISO 9001

    Support online learning for virtual environment

Training for IATF 16949 certification with CQ

CQ Training Management helps businesses train for IATF 16949 by streamlining the training process and ensuring knowledge and retention. Integrated training into EQMS creates a stable, reliable, and repeatable training management process, thus ensuring that the entire organization has the knowledge it needs, from GxP guidelines to international standards to government regulations. Some of the advantages of the CQ Training Management Module listed below —

  • Maintain compliance and always be ‘audit ready’
  • Develop individualized and role-specific training
  • Maintain up-to-date training records
  • Support online learning for virtual environment

Role of ComplianceQuest in IATF 16949

CQ’s QHSE solution is extremely user-friendly at all levels and acts as a very powerful platform that can be scaled from a small company to a large global enterprise. The solution significantly reduces the effort involved in maintaining IATF 16949 Quality System by automating the required processes while maintaining full traceability. CQ helps organize the company’s ISO requirements and not only improves productivity but also helps auditors find what they need quickly and effortlessly.

A sound QMS that follows the standards of IATF 16949 will

  • Business Goals
    define how an organization in the automotive sector can meet the requirements of both customers and stakeholders
  • Business Goals
    promote continual improvement
  • Business Goals
    focus on defect prevention
  • Business Goals

    emphasize on documentation and implementation of corporate responsibility policies include specific industry tools such as

    • Statistical Process Control (SPC)
    • Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP)
    • Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA)
    • Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
    • Production Part Approval Process (PPAP)

ComplianceQuest empowers automobile manufacturers by:

  • Business Goals
    Helping them stay compliant by simplifying audits, documentation, equipment management, risk assessment, change management, etc.,
  • Business Goals
    Offering insights into quality and safety issues through data analysis
  • Business Goals
    Enhancing collaboration – both internal and external – by simplifying data sharing across devices and locations
  • Business Goals
    Enabling manufacturers to demonstrate ongoing commitment to safety and sustainability.
  • Business Goals
    Ensure regulatory compliance with IATF 16949, ISO 9000, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is IATF 16949?

IATF 16949, aligned with ISO 9001:2015, defines the quality management system requirements for the design and development, production and, when relevant, installation and service of automotive-related products. IATF 16949 applies to sites of the organization where customer-specified parts, for production and/or service, are manufactured. Supporting functions, whether on-site or remote (such as design centers, corporate headquarters and distribution centers), form part of the site audit as they support the site, but cannot obtain stand-alone certification to IATF 16949.

What does IATF 16949 actually look like?

IATF 16949 consists of 10 sections where sections 1-3 are introductory that focuses on the scope, normative references, and terms and definitions, and the remaining seven deal with different aspects of quality and QMS. Based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, the seven sections pertaining to QMS focus on-

  • QMS context of the organization, including interested parties and their requirements
  • Leadership and top management’s commitment to QMS, corporate responsibility and quality policy
  • Risk and opportunity planning such as preventive actions and contingency plans
  • Resources and supporting processes to establish an effective QMS
  • Operational requirements for planning and creating a product or service
  • QMS performance evaluation
  • QMS improvements
What are the mandatory steps to finish implementation and get your company certified?

IATF 16949 implementations can be classified into two broad phases — internal and external.
The implementation process includes

  • Management and leadership planning
  • GAP analysis
  • Documentation of quality processes and policies
  • Implementation and employee training
  • Internal management review and audit
  • Corrective action
  • External 3rd party certification audit
Why should companies implement the IATF 16949?

With IATF 16949, organizations can showcase to their existing and potential customers their commitment to quality through a robust QMS. As a result, implementing IATF 16949 gives the organization the following advantages —

  • Helps demonstrate the ability to produce products that consistently meet customer needs and other applicable statutory, regulatory, and product safety requirements
  • Focuses on customer satisfaction
  • Improves brand loyalty
  • Creates new business opportunities globally
  • Allows organizations to become more socially responsible
  • Helps identify and address risks in the organization

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