In a historic move by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF), automotive suppliers were invited to an international stakeholder conference to suggest changes for the revision of the international automotive quality standard scheduled for release December 2016.
“I’ve been an automotive supplier for 23 years, and this is the first time I have ever been invited to a quality standard revision meeting,” says Michael G. Sinnaeve, global vice president operational improvement and quality for Magna International. “The fact that the governing accreditation bodies have opened the door to industry suppliers is commendable.”
“It’s not often that a major industry standard like TS-16949 is updated, so the IATF’s decision to ask for direct stakeholder input provided a unique opportunity to enhance the voice of the supplier community regarding this very comprehensive new document,” says John Batchik, vice president-quality for Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies.
David Kneisler, vice president, global quality, Dana Holding Company, found “great value” in the stakeholder conference. “We were able to gain insight into the new standard and provide constructive feedback,” he says.
“It was extremely important for IATF to allow the people that are actually impacted by the standards to be heard firsthand and provide input before the standards are finalized,” adds Mina Cox, COO of Specialty Products Company. “The meeting provided a forum to identify what is necessary to produce quality products and what is redundant or wasteful.”
Sinnaeve, Batchik, Kneisler, and Cox — all members of the Automotive Industry Action Group’s (AIAG) board of directors — were among 10 AIAG member suppliers who attended the meeting in Rome.
“Each national association member of the IATF was permitted to bring up to 10 supplier companies to represent their members at this stakeholder meeting, and AIAG had the full 10,” says Scott Gray, director, quality products and services, AIAG. “The IATF is doing a much better job of getting suppliers involved. It truly was an unprecedented level of engagement for suppliers, and their feedback will yield change.”
Sinnaeve says “AIAG should be commended for ensuring that our voices were heard and for being a catalyst for making that happen,” adding he hopes that the majority of the suppliers’ recommendations are included in the new standard.
“Feedback from the supply base and industry auditors will result in a stronger and more refined standard,” says Kneisler, who chairs the AIAG board.
AIAG’s September Quality Summit will roll out the standard revisions, new training to support the standard, and the certification transition process.
The Automotive Industry Action Group is a unique not-for-profit organization where OEMs, suppliers, service providers, government entities, and academia have worked collaboratively for more than 30 years to drive down costs and complexity from the supply chain. AIAG membership includes preeminent manufacturers and many of their parts and service suppliers (www.aiag.org).