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Understanding IATF 16949 6th Edition rules: key changes and implications

The 6th Edition of the IATF 16949 rules, published on 31 March 2024, introduces significant updates to the auditing and certification processes. Here, we discuss key changes and implications.

What is IATF 16949?

IATF 16949 is the globally recognised quality management system standard specifically designed for the automotive sector. It harmonises various assessment and certification systems for the automotive supply chain. First published in October 2016, it replaced ISO/TS 16949:2009, bringing a unified approach to quality management in the automotive industry.

Introduction to the 6th Edition rules

The 6th Edition of the IATF 16949 rules, published on 31 March 2024, introduces significant updates to the auditing and certification processes and is set to take effect on 1 January 2025. While the standard and its requirements remain unchanged, the new rules will streamline and refine the audit procedures.

Key changes in the 6th Edition rules

1. Extended manufacturing site (EMS) redefinition: The definition of an extended manufacturing site has been updated. EMS locations must now be within 10 miles (16 km) and 60 minutes driving distance from the main site. Sites not meeting this criterion will be reclassified.

2. Surveillance audit intervals: The new rules limit surveillance visits to only two within each 3-year audit cycle. Previous intervals of 6-monthly and 9-monthly visits are no longer permitted, requiring clients to transition to 12-monthly contracts.

3. Audit duration: Audit duration now includes additional time for activities such as nonconformity verification, translation, and significant change investigation. A minimum of 1.5 days is required for regular visits at main manufacturing sites, with at least 30% of the audit time dedicated to the client's manufacturing process.

4. Non-conformity management: Stricter timelines have been established for addressing non-conformities. Major non-conformities must have corrective actions submitted within 15 days and completed within 60 days. Minor non-conformities must have corrective actions submitted within 60 days. Failure to meet these timelines will invalidate the recent visit and result in certificate withdrawal.

5. Virtual audits: Virtual audits are now permitted only for standalone remote supporting locations under specific conditions. Onsite audits remain mandatory for main manufacturing sites, regardless of remote work setups.

6. Impact on corporate clients: The new rules standardise the audit days reduction for corporate clients to a uniform 15%, removing previous mandatory calculation reductions.

Expert insight

Dilip Kumar, IATF Subject Matter Expert at LRQA, highlights the importance of these changes: "The 6th Edition rules reflect the IATF's commitment to ensuring audit consistency and robustness. By redefining audit intervals, durations, and non-conformity management, the new rules will enhance the overall integrity of the certification process."

As the automotive sector continues to evolve, these updates to the IATF 16949 rules will help organisations maintain high-quality standards and compliance, ensuring that they remain competitive in the global market.

Find out more about LRQA’s IATF 16949 solutions.

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