Formal Publication of ISO/TS 16949:2009
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Formal Publication of ISO/TS 16949:2009

ISO (the International Standards Organization) has published the ISO/TS 16949:2009 (Second Edition), which specifies quality system requirements for suppliers in automotive. After several years of being aligned to ISO 9001:1994, the standard took a big step this year by aligning to ISO 9001:2008. The step means that the Technical Specification is now more focused on continuous improvement and customer satisfaction. For a while now, ISO/TS 16949:2009 has always been closely associated with another automotive standard, QS-9000. QS-9000 is still linked to ISO 9001:1994 and doesn't yet show signs of aligning to ISO 9001:2008, so with the re-alignment of TS 16949, QS-9000 may have lost some of its veracity. ISO/TS 16949:2009 has some distance from its earlier partner standard. ISO/TS 16949:2009 has a substantial potential market comprising more than 30 000 companies currently certified (registered) against one or other of the national specifications.

ISO/TS 16949:2009 was developed by a partnership comprising the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) and the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), with the support of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 176, which is responsible for the ISO 9000 family of quality management standards.

The new document aims at the development of a quality management system that provides for continual improvement, emphasizing defect prevention and the reduction of variation and waste in the supply chain. Incorporating the requirements of ISO 9001:2008, ISO/TS 16949:2009 also includes detailed, sector-specific requirements for employee competence, awareness and training, design and development, production and service provision, control of monitoring and measuring devices, and measurement, analysis and improvement.

During the writing of the new standard, there was some question as to the scope of ISO/TS 16949:2009 as regards the 2nd and 3rd tier automotive suppliers. Earlier strong language which also required automotive companies who are TS-certified to get their 2nd and 3rd tier automotive suppliers to conform to TS 16949:2002 or ISO 9001:2008 was softened in this final draft.

Pierre Caillibot, chairman of ISO/TC 176, says, "The publication of the second edition of ISO/TS 16949:2009 marks an important step for the automotive industry worldwide. It confirms that the profound changes made to ISO 9001 in its year 2000 edition have not diminished its relevance as the undisputed foundation standard for quality management systems. "The anticipated use of ISO/TS 16949:2009 by the automotive industry worldwide also signals that the goal of converging sector-specific initiatives on to the foundation of ISO 9001:2008 is a realistic one."

Omnex has been actively working with a number of major, multi-national clients to achieve certification to the new standard in a variety of industries.

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