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QS-9000 - Quality Systems Requirements for the Automotive Industry.

Evolution of QS-9000

Quality System Requirements, QS-9000 was developed by the Supplier Quality Requirements Task Force of Chrysler, Ford and General Motors. Prior to this event, companies used to stipulate their own expectations for supplier quality systems and the corresponding assessment documents. In course of time there arose a need for standardizing the whole procedure. This occurrence was due to:

Lack of Standard Terminology

  • multiple terms for the same concept
  • single terms with multiple meaning

Proliferation of Standards

  • across countries
  • across industries
  • across companies, especially "Tier1" suppliers
  • differing documentation requirements
  • differing rating schemes

In 1988, the Purchasing and Supply Vice Presidents of these companies chartered the Task Force to standardize reference manuals, reporting formats and technical nomenclature. All standardized manuals have been well received by the supplier community and their success has encouraged additional efforts. In December 1992, these Vice Presidents directed the Task Force to harmonize the fundamental quality systems manuals and assessment tools. It was understood that there would continue to be company specific, division specific and commodity specific requirements which each company will handle individually.


The goal of QS-9000 is the development of fundamental quality systems which provide for continuous improvement, emphasize defect prevention and the reduction of variation and waste in the supply chain.


QS-9000 defines the fundamental quality system expectations of Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Truck Manufacturers and other subscribing companies for internal and external suppliers of production and service parts and materials. These companies are committed to working together to ensure customer satisfaction, beginning with conformance to quality requirements and continuing with reduction of variation and waste to benefit the customer, the supply base and themselves.


QS-9000 is the harmonization of Chrysler's Supplier Quality Assurance Manual, Ford's Q-101 Quality System Standard and General Motors' Targets for Excellence, with input from the Truck Manufacturers. ISO 9001:1994, Section 4 has been adopted as the foundation for this standard. While other companies may adopt this document, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors retain full control over the content and concept except for ISO 9001:1994, of which copy right remains with the International Organization for Standardization. The word "shall" indicates mandatory requirements. The word, "should" implies a preferred approach. Suppliers choosing other approaches must be able to show that their approach meets the intent of QS-9000. Wherever the words "typical" and "examples" are used, the appropriate alternative for the particular commodity or process should be chosen. Paragraphs marked "Note" are for guidance.


QS-9000 applies to all internal and external suppliers of:
Production materials
Production or service parts

Heat treating, painting ,plating or other finishing services directly to Chrysler, Ford, General Motors or other OEM customers subscribing to this document.

This document supersedes all editions of Chrysler's Supplier Quality Assurance Manual, Ford's Q-101 Quality System Standard, General Motors' Europe General Quality Standard for Purchased Materials and the Truck Manufacturers quality system manuals.


Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, the Truck Manufacturers and other companies which subscribe to the standard require their suppliers to establish, document and implement effective quality systems based on QS-9000, according to the timing requirements of their customers. All requirements of QS-9000 are to be incorporated in the supplier's quality system and further described in their quality manual. Third party registration to QS- 9000 will be accepted and even insisted upon by some customers .The third party registration scope must include all products and services provided to one or more of the companies adhering to this document. Verification of conformance to ISO9001 is a prerequisite for registration to QS-9000.

The Role of Top Management in the Implementation of QS-9000

  • Choose Strategy (Motivation & Expectation) for QS-9000 Implementation
  • Set Quality Policy
  • Choose QS-9000 Implementation Personnel
  • Allocate Resources
  • Set QS-9000 Implementation Structure
  • Conduct Management Review
  • Use Company Level Data
  • Monitor the Trends in Customer
  • Satisfaction
  • Review Internal & External Problem
  • Solving Techniques
  • Review Internal Audit Results
  • Review Continuous Improvement Targets
  • Constitute Company-wide Unanimous Approach to Quality Systems Documentation
  • Continuously Support & Show Commitment to QS-9000

There are usually certain goals to be effected as part of the QS-9000 implementation strategy. These targets possibly include-

  • Measurable Process Improvements
  • Commonization
  • Standardization (reduction in paper work)
  • Cost Improvements
  • Lead Time Reduction

Steps To Registration

  • Information and Discussion
  • Call and request information and return "Preliminary Questionnaire" to the Registrar.
  • Registration Application
  • Registrar completes a cost quote based on the information provided. After the application for 'Quality System Registration' is received, the registration process begins.
  • Quality Manual Review
  • An in-depth review of Quality Systems documentation
  • Reviewed with the supplier
  • Pre-audit (optional)
  • As an option, the registrars will audit you and review the implementation of policies and procedures to gauge the applicability of the system.
  • On-Site Audit
  • After a successful documentation review, an audit team appraises the implementation and operation of your quality system. The audit corroborates that the documentation meets or exceeds all elements of the relevant ISO 9000 or QS-9000 standard and that policies and procedures are enforced effectively.
  • Corrective Action and Follow-up
  • If corrective action is required, a completion date is set and a follow-up audit performed. During the audit, the Lead Auditor verifies the corrective actions.
  • Registration will be accorded after all the corrective actions are discharged
  • Certificate Issuance
  • On completion of an audit, if the organizational performance is deemed satisfactory, the applicants will be issued a registration certificate that details the scope of the certified quality system.
  • Surveillance
  • To ensure that the system continues to meet all the relevant requirements, the Registrar conducts on-site surveillance visits every six months.

ISO/TS 16949:2009 will eventually replace QS-9000. Please refer to the ISO/TS 16949:2009 section of this website for additional information.

Ramifications of ISO 9001:2008 & ISO/TS 16949:2009 on QS-9000

QS-9000 was the first ever-automotive management standard that affected the corporate management & design function of the global automotive supply base. But the fact remains that it is still a plant focused management systems standard, standardizing and improving the product & processes on the plant floor. On the other hand, ISO 9001:2008, which is more of a quality management process model is certain to affect the entire enterprise & business process. ISO 9001:2008 links quality objectives, key processes & continuous improvement. In structure, QS-9000 need to change dramatically to accommodate ISO 9001:2008. Though the automotive standard heavily influenced ISO 9001:2008, the latter has not embodied all the current scope of ISO 9001:2008 Requirements. In essence QS-9000 registered companies stand to loose their ISO certification if their quality systems are not upgraded within the three-year time frame that ISO has imposed.

ISO/TS 16949:2009 is deemed as an international quality system requirement specifically formulated for the global automotive industry. It is an ISO technical specification developed by the International Automotive Task Force, in conjunction with the members of the ISO Technical Committee-TC176.This particular supplier criterion incorporates the quality system requirements of the auto-makers of the United States, Germany, Italy & France, with the object of having a single document & registration scheme that is acceptable to the European and the US automobile industries, alike. ISO/TS 16949:2009 encompasses the quality specifications of Ford, GM & Chrysler's QS-9000, the German automaker's VDA6.1, the French EAQF and the Italian automotive standard AVSQ. It details the fundamental, sector-specific, quality systems requirements that sustain continuous improvement and emphasize defect prevention while simultaneously reducing the magnitude of variation and waste in the supply chain .All in all, ISO/TS 16949:2009 is a definite advancement to its predecessor. The new specification is currently being revised to include ISO 9001:2008 & it's only a matter of time before it is accepted as the required Automotive Standard by companies in the US, Europe & the Asia Pacific.


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