Ten Questions to Consider When Preparing for IATF 16949® Recertification

ISO recertification cycle infographic


Preparing for your organization’s IATF 16949® recertification 

In addition to being a transformational year for the automotive industry and its supply base, 2023 may also be an IATF 16949® recertification year for many companies.  The IATF 16949® standard has a three-year certification cycle with a recertification audit at the beginning of a new cycle.  A recertification audit is significant because it will review and sample the entire quality system.  The focus of a certification body (CB) auditor will be organizational performance, both internally (Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)/measures/metrics) and externally (customer satisfaction and supplier control).  The auditor will also be reviewing how the quality system performed over the past three-year cycle.

10 points to consider in preparation for your IATF 16949® recertification audit

  1. Does your organization’s internal and external performance metrics show continual improvement over the 3-year certification cycle?
  2. Did your organization have any recurring nonconformances issued by the certification body over the 3-year certification cycle?
  3. Did your organization complete at least one full system audit during the 3-year certification cycle (including a review of Customer Specific Requirements (CSRs) and IATF 16949® Sanctioned Interpretations)?
  4. Did your organization complete any required customer defined audits (i.e.: CQI audits, MMOG audits, control plan audits)?
  5. Did your organization complete any required annual layouts and/or PPAP validation required by your customers?
  6. Does your organization’s contingency plan show evidence of annual reviews and is the organization’s simulation/testing plan current?
  7. Did your organization complete regulatory requirements that may be part of your manufacturing processes (i.e.: forklift operator recertifications and crane operational inspections)?
  8. Do your organization’s process owners know their processes well (including risks/actions of the process, key measures of the process, and process performance)?
  9. Did your organization’s management review include output actions and have those actions been completed?
  10. Does your organization follow the customer’s defined record retention requirements and is there evidence to support your quality system is effectively implemented?

Certification Body audit focus

Your organization’s certification body auditor will be using data to establish the audit schedule.  Keep in mind, an IATF 16949® audit uses the automotive process approach that results in a biased audit (i.e.: using data to establish audit trails).  A biased audit will be looking at the organizational trends over the 3-year certification cycle to help make a determination whether the site qualifies for recertification or should the certification be withdrawn.

Ideally, a company will have a mature, stable IATF 16949® QMS that is prepared for any type of audit at any time. The risks come with the fact that every 3 years, a company’s certificate is expiring. Should there be a significant quantity of nonconformances or major nonconformances during the CB recertification audit that take a long time to close, or can’t be closed before the certificate expires, a company could be at risk of losing their certification.

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.  

“Many companies look to simpleQuE as an internal audit expert and outside set of eyes to scrutinize and assess the robustness of their quality management system. They find we can expedite the results to effectiveness and ensure they are on the right path,” shares Deanne Sparr, President of simpleQuE. “We are often asked by our clients to perform internal audits with our industry experts to help identify weaknesses in the QMS.  Some clients are even adding more internal audit time in preparation for the CB recertification audit.”



Are you one of those companies with a mature QMS that isn’t worried about a recertification audit?  Or would your company benefit from an outside set of eyes to challenge and test your QMS with a thorough audit? Contact us if you need help preparing for recertification. Whether it’s training, consulting or internal audits, we are able to reduce your risks and give you confidence going into your recertification audit.

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This article is by simpleQuE consultant and auditor, Bob Dornhecker.  With over 35 years of combined experience in auditing, manufacturing and certification, Bob has an extensive 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.

If your company is certified by one of the ISO or AS standards, you may want to read our blog about ISO Recertification.

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


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