IATF Global Waivers and Measures – Remote Internal Auditing and Monitoring

In April the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) released 2 revisions of “IATF Global Waivers and Measures in Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19)”In this article, we’ll look at some of the highlights from those revisions that impact our customers. (All changes to the original document are highlighted in red.)

The April 9th 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. 

FAQ #3 During this crisis the conducting of internal system audits by certified organizations in accordance with the requirements of the IATF 16949 Standard (i.e. sections 9.2 and the subsequent sections) may be restricted or limited. How shall compliance with these requirements be justified and documented?

The IATF response is that IATF 16949 9.2.2.1 and the basic requirements for an audit program are still applicable and are prioritized based on risk, internal and external performance trends, and criticality of the process(es).  The IATF recognizes that in the COVID-19 crisis, the risk for the safety and health of internal auditors and auditees is an even higher priority.  Organizations need to determine their risk and, if justified, consider other auditing methods such as remote audits.  The organization should demonstrate the effectiveness of these auditing methods and associated risk assessments.

What should certified companies do now?

  1. Assess historical audit results and internal performance data to justify the possibility of moving internal audits for those processes with little to no risk. Document that assessment and change your annual audit schedule for those lower risk processes. Justify whether you can delay to later in the year, or even push into next year without auditing that low risk process this year.      
  2. For those higher risk processes (see these IATF 16949 infographics for the Top 10 Minor Nonconformances and Top 10 Major Nonconformances), consider auditing those processes remotely or virtually. Plan how to do this with your team to determine what data and information may be available to audit via a web meeting.  SimpleQuE has been performing virtual or remote internal audits for clients with great success.  It is possible in most cases.
  3. Note that IATF 9.3.1.1 requires additional Management Reviews when there’s “risk to compliance with customer requirements resulting from internal or external changes impacting the QMS and performance related issues”.  If Audit schedules are going to change and processes postponed (even though they are low risk), management needs to be on board with the decision / changes and accept the risk, as this is not just the Quality Manager’s or Audit Coordinator’s responsibility.

Revision 2 of IATF Global Waivers and Measures, released on April 27, 2020 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.  The objective is to assess the continued effectiveness of the QMS to the requirements of IATF 16949 during this time of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

It also establishes the criteria for which an automotive parts or products manufacturer will qualify for remote monitoring.  (IATF emphasizes that this is not to be understood as a “remote audit”.)  This chapter lists the information required from clients in preparation for the IATF 16949 monitoring which shall be at a minimum 1 day (8 hours).  Further guidance recommends the CB focus its questions on the information provided which appears to pose the greatest risks and what is not clear.

NOTE: As in the original release, in response to the pandemic, IATF has approved the following revisions and waivers:

  • 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.

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 audits and remote audits in order to maintain your quality management system during this time of unprecedented challenges.

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