IATF Allows Audit Waivers and Measures in Response to COVID-19

UPDATE April 27, 2020: Revision 2 of IATF Global Waivers and Measures includes a new section “IATF 16949 Monitoring”, which introduces a process to enable Certification Bodies to remotely monitor the status of a client’s certified Quality Management System.

UPDATE April 9, 2020:  IATF Global Waivers and Measures has been revised.  The revision grants an extension for Nonconformity Management and incorporates two additional FAQs – #2 and #3 that were approved by the IATF.  FAQ#3 addresses internal audits and the associated risks.  All changes to the previous document are highlighted in red.  

On March 27, 2020 the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) released IATF Global Waivers and Measures in Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19).  Recognizing the impact on the global economy and automotive industry is unprecedented, the IATF is providing temporary relief measures for upcoming audits (beyond those currently covered in CB Communique 2020-001). This document will be updated by the IATF as additional options become available.

IATF Revision & Waivers

The IATF has approved:

  • Extension of 6 months to all currently issued and valid IATF 16949 certificates.
  • 90-day extension of Stage 2 audits
  • 90-day extension of Surveillance audits, before the certificate goes into a suspension status. (The certificate will remain valid during the suspension period.)
  • Recertification audits can be extended up to 120 days.

Unlike other certifications, such as ISO or Aerospace, the IATF is currently not allowing any remote 3rd party auditing. Under these circumstances of COVID-19, however, a company is still responsible for contingency planning (IATF 16949 6.1.2.3 Contingency plans). This means the organization must:

c) prepare contingency plans for continuity of supply in the event of any of the following: key equipment failures (also see Section 8.5.6.1.1); interruption from externally provided products, processes, and services; recurring natural disasters; fire; utility interruptions; labour shortages; or infrastructure disruptions;

(in 2019 Contingency Planning was #4 of Top 10 Minor Nonconformances and #10 of 10 in Top Major Nonconformances)

Companies will still be reviewed in their External Audit for how they are taking contingencies regarding their Quality Management System monitoring during this time unprecedented and disruptive pandemic.  With appropriate justification noted for these contingency actions for remote services, portions of an internal audit can be done remotely now, then onsite portions of the Internal Audits can resume later as resources become available.

What can be covered by a Remote Audit?

SimpleQuE suggests conducting all of the conference room process audits through remote means (phone calls, emails, WebEx, etc.).  Although this will not be the entire portion of the audit time planned, as much as possible would be done remotely with manufacturing on-site processes completed at a later date. Remote audits also offer an advantage in that companies will save on auditor’s travel expenses due to fewer onsite days.

Deanne Sparr, simpleQuE V.P. and COO offers this advice, “We feel doing this portion of the internal audit offsite helps our clients show good faith to their External Auditors that they are trying to continue to monitor their quality management systems, per their schedule, during this difficult time, while being proactive in effort to avoid major nonconformances in their External Audit.”

What To Do Next?

Certified organizations should contact their Certification Body to discuss their situation and work on an acceptable audit plan.  Also keep in mind that simpleQuE auditors are available to perform 2nd party internal and remote audits in order to maintain your quality management system during this time of unprecedented challenges.

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