IATF 16949 7.2.3 and 7.2.4 Internal Auditor Competency

IATF 16949 Certification

In our previous article The Advantages of Outsourcing Internal Audits, we discuss ISO 9001 and Clause 9.2 which sets the criteria for internal auditing and audit programs. 

Aligned with ISO 9001, IATF 16949 goes a step further with the focus on Internal Auditor Competency – Clause 7.2.3, and even Second-party Auditor Competency – Clause 7.2.4.  

This means that Certification Bodies are scrutinizing internal auditors and their competency, especially when it involves IATF.  So let’s take a look at these clauses.

7.2.3 Internal auditor competency

The organization shall have a documented process(es) to verify that internal auditors are competent, taking into account any customer-specific requirements. For additional guidance on auditor competencies, refer to ISO 19011. The organization shall maintain a list of qualified internal auditors.

Quality management system auditors, manufacturing process auditors, and product auditors shall all be able to demonstrate the following minimum competencies:

  1. understanding of the automotive process approach for auditing, including risk-based thinking;
  2. understanding of applicable customer-specific requirements;
  3. understanding of applicable ISO 9001 and IATF 16949 requirements related to the scope of the audit;
  4. understanding of applicable core tool requirements related to the scope of the audit;
  5. understanding how to plan, conduct, report, and close out audit findings.

Additionally, manufacturing process auditors shall demonstrate technical understanding of the relevant manufacturing process(es) to be audited, including process risk analysis (such as PFMEA) and control plan. Product auditors shall demonstrate competence in understanding product requirements and use of relevant measuring and test equipment to verify product conformity. Where training is provided to achieve competency, documented information shall be retained to demonstrate the trainer’s competency with the above requirements.

Maintenance of and improvement in internal auditor competence shall be demonstrated through:

  1. executing a minimum number of audits per year, as defined by the organization; and
  2. maintaining knowledge of relevant requirements based on internal changes (e.g., process technology, product technology) and external changes (e.g., ISO 9001, IATF 16949, core tools, and customer specific requirements).

7.2.4 Second-party auditor competency

The organization shall demonstrate the competence of the auditors undertaking the second-party audits.

Second-party auditors shall meet customer specific requirements for auditor qualification and demonstrate the minimum following core competencies, including understanding of:

  1. the automotive process approach to auditing, including risk based thinking;
  2. applicable customer and organization specific requirements;
  3. applicable ISO 9001 and IATF 16949 requirements related to the scope of the audit;
  4. applicable manufacturing process(es) to be audited, including PFMEA and control plan;
  5. applicable core tool requirements related to the scope of the audit;
  6. how to plan, conduct, prepare audit reports, and close out audit findings.

Due to lack of resources and trained auditors, many companies are outsourcing their internal audits to a 2nd party like simpleQuE whose auditors are qualified, certified, competent and are experts on the standards and customer specific requirements. Contact us for more information about internal quality auditing and internal auditor training.  

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