IATF 16949® QMS Major and Minor Nonconformances and Common Root Causes

IATF 16949® QMS Major and Minor Nonconformances

A review of the latest global nonconformance data from the International Automotive Task Force (IATF®) shows the areas where the top IATF 16949® audit findings occur.  As the simpleQuE infographic shows, the top three Major Nonconformances, are:

  • 10.2.3   Problem solving  (9.93%) (video)
  • 10.2.1    Nonconformity and corrective action  (6.9%) (video)
  •  Manufacturing process design output  (4.19%) (video)

Of the Minor Nonconformances, these are the top three:

  •  Contingency plans  (4.24%) (video)
  •  Manufacturing process design output  (4.08%) (video)
  •   Control Plan  (4.02%) (video)

This indicates companies still struggle to maintain a disciplined corrective action and problem-solving process. Our team of automotive QMS experts have created a video series (see links above) to address some of these findings, along with a look at the common root causes of IATF 16949® nonconformances.

Common Root Causes of IATF 16949® QMS Nonconformances

IATF 16949® requires that corrective actions be taken to prevent the nonconforming issues from recurring.  The best way to do this is to identify a true root cause of the issue and apply systemic corrective action that will improve the processes which, in turn, should prevent the same issue from recurring. When applying the systemic corrective action, similar processes should also be addressed to ensure the action “impacts” the whole QMS, not just the immediate issue.

When performing a corrective action using a discipline cause investigation method (for example, the 5 why process), there may be a few common true root causes that impact many issues.  Experience has taught us that those true root causes include:

  1. Ineffective change management/change control processes – An example of this is a change to a work instruction that didn’t consider updates to the control plan, updates to the PFMEA, required operator awareness (and evidence), and possible PPAP submittals or approvals. Another example: consider an entirely new measurement gauge that didn’t include an update to the lab scope document, a MSA/gage R&R study, updated work instructions for using the new gauge, changes to the control plan to include the new gauge, changes to the PFMEA for the failure mode that resulted in a new gauge. 
  1. Ineffective APQP/product launch processes – A classic example of this issue is a control plan that does not fully represent the process (i.e.: wrong or outdated information, incorrect frequencies of product checks, missing processes and steps, no reference to work instructions).
  1. Ineffective employee competency/job expectation process – A typical example of this issue is a line side operator running the mistake proofing validation check pieces (i.e.: red rabbits) at the beginning of her shift and not acknowledging or understanding why the check is being done and can not identify acceptable versus non-acceptable performance of the mistake proofing application. Just training that one operator is not a systemic fix.  Changing the method of lineside OJT to include the operation, expectations, and reaction for the mistake proofing applications would be a systemic approach that may prevent recurrence of the issue in the future.

When working with your next issued nonconformance (from either an audit or a customer complaint), consider the above common root causes and see if they are appropriate for the issue that has been identified.  You may find a more systemic fix that provides value and robustness to your QMS.

To address the top issues that trouble automotive suppliers, read our blog Top IATF 16949® Audit Findings and How to Address Them in the QMS. SimpleQuE’s IATF 16949® experts have also created a free video series, IATF 16949® Audits – The Good, Bad & Ugly, for automotive suppliers who struggle with audit nonconformities. The twelve videos address the problem areas and share best practices to utilize, and critical areas to avoid, from the perspective of a Certification Body auditor.

This insight is provided by simpleQuE consultant and auditor, Bob Dornhecker.  With over 35 years of combined experience in auditing, manufacturing and certification, Bob has an extensive automotive quality background.  Additionally, he has taught and facilitated many quality related training classes for clients and has provided support to companies securing their own ISO/Quality Management Systems certifications.  He also conducts ISO 9001 and IATF 16949® 2nd and 3rd party audits.

SimpleQuE is not associated with the IATF®, IAOB, ANAB®, IAQG®, and is not a certification body. SimpleQuE is an independent consulting, training, and second-party auditing service provider that assists a company on a path to obtain and maintain certification through accredited certification bodies.


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