The Future of Automotive Quality – Highlights From the 2022 AIAG Quality Summit and IATF® Updates

Distribution of the IATF 16949 certified sites worldwide

Worldwide there are 85,625 IATF 16949® certified sites as of August 2022. In the past 12 months there was more than a 6% increase in certifications with increases occurring in Asia, North America and Africa.

The Future of Automotive Quality  

In October, simpleQuE’s automotive consultant, Mark Dodson, attended the AIAG Quality Summit and shared the key takeaways from the conference, including the number of IATF 16949® certified sites worldwide (see the infographic above). The top countries are China, India, S. Korea, USA and Germany.  The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) celebrated its 40th anniversary, and over the years has played an important role in bringing together the global OEMs and many of their parts suppliers to develop recommendations, guidelines and best practices for the automotive industries. At this year’s summit, representatives from the OEMs discussed the many challenges and opportunities that the future holds. One thing is very certain, EVs are full speed ahead and the supplier world will be changing very rapidly.

Due to the industry challenges, complexity and innovations, the OEM/Supplier relationship will be evolving.  OEMs will expect supplier development processes to be aligned with ASPICE – the standard for automotive software best practices. In addition, there will be more details of OEM requirements and increased OEM participation in the supplier development process. There will be an expectation of shorter development cycles and increased levels of quality.

Updates from the International Automotive Task Force (IATF® )

The most important updates that will impact IATF® certified companies have to do with the release of Rules 6 and IATF 16949® 2nd Edition. As revealed at the conference, both of these have been pushed out, with Rules 6 anticipated to be published the second half of 2023.  Then the focus will be on the IATF 16949® revisions, which could be released later in 2024. Work on this has already begun to review and consolidate the common Customer Specific Requirements (CSRs). The big question – Will ISO 9001 (with possible 2026 revision release) be incorporated into this IATF 16929® 2nd revision?  At this time, there is no agreement as to whether it will be included as it is in the current 1st edition.

Rules 6 Update

Based on feedback from some of the Certification Bodies (CBs) Rules 6 will be changing audit day calculations (increasing time), remote audit conditions and requirements, support location changes and stage one will become an audit vs. a review. It is anticipated that every section will have either minor or major changes.  Rules 6 will also include updates to:

  • Incorporate the Sanctioned Interpretations (SIs)
  • Include the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  • Clarify the IATF® intentions
  • Include major changes to improve the scheme and address ongoing issues
  • Improve IATF 16949® audits performed by Certification Bodies (CBs) to ensure good parts are shipped to customers from IATF 16949® certified organizations

For more of the latest updates, refer to our blog – The Latest IATF 16949® Automotive Supplier Updates From IATF®, AIAG and OEMs

Highlights From the 2022 AIAG Quality Summit 

The summit included information packed sessions for automotive suppliers with topics covering:

  • OEM and supplier relationships with input from GM, Ford, Stellantis and Honda representatives
  • Why system audits are not driving change
  • Supplier software for supplier selection, risk assessment, performance and approval.
  • Data analytics software and its role in identifying root cause of No Trouble Found (NTF) or No Defect Found (NDF) incidents – when components interact leading to system-level failures, without individual components being the root cause (due to increased electrification and electronics in vehicles)
  • Driving zero defects in automotive electronics

Key takeaways from the OEM Q and A session with GM, Ford, Stellantis and Honda

What automotive supplier wouldn’t want to spend some time with representatives from the top OEMs to ask questions and obtain their insights on best practices and issues that impact how they do business?  The AIAG Quality Summit provides just that opportunity and here’s a sample of the topics discussed and insight from the four OEMs.

Q:  What do you see as the biggest challenge bringing on new suppliers to the EV market who may (or may not) have automotive experience?

A:  The automotive industry is one of, if not the, most complex high volume, highly regulated industry in the world. As has been demonstrated by new entries into the EV or AV market, the manufacturing of highly complex products at high volume, which need to protect people over a long period of time in very dangerous situations under usage profiles sometimes beyond design intent with a high level of craftsmanship, quality and visual and tactile appeal has challenged even the most successful of new entrants into this market. In summary, some of the key areas which will continue to challenge all manufacturers and designers in the automotive industry are (not in any particular order): safety, reliability, functionality, understanding customer needs, durability, craftsmanship, quality, design appeal, interactivity with customer needs, customer usage profiles, etc.

Q:  In what ways are you seeing product development processes changing in order to accelerate the evolution of automation and autonomy in vehicles?

A:  Clearly software, sensors, product interaction, infrastructure connection, regulatory and safety requirements and other systemic factors have a much greater impact on autonomous vehicle operation than for human operated vehicles. Product development of any vehicle system needs to understand, integrate and address all design factors into the design and development process. Product Development of autonomous vehicle will have greater focus on these vital areas (some brand new to the automotive industry) and others to ensure safe and effective operation of such systems.

Q:  Has a date been set to convert from 4th edition PFMEA to the new AIAG/VDA format?

A:  Each OEM will determine the appropriate usage of the AIAG/VDA FMEA standard according to their own product development processes before being deployed to their supply bases.

Q:  Many suppliers are struggling with manpower and retention of associates, similar with other industries. How are the OEMs dealing with manpower issues themselves, and are there lessons that can be passed on to their suppliers?

A:  GM: OEMs are also struggling with manpower and retention of associates, there is no one single best way to resolve these issues. It’s important to make sure from a Leadership perspective we find ways to be a good citizen with the communities in which we reside and do business with the hopes that it returns manpower that want to work for you.

Q:  How are the OEMs ensuring that software development and deployment to the end customer as it is one of the largest areas for warranty? Today’s focus is limited in scope or features that are still under development.

A:  GM: This is an industry challenge; this is why the OEMs are teaming up with AIAG on a project specific to software development and verification.

Q for Ford: Suppliers are struggling with Ford’s new requirement for all suppliers to use FMEA software. How does Ford propose to mitigate the costs and what is the timing of implementation?

A:  There are many options for FMEA software, it does not need to be overly complex and sophisticated. The Core Tools Software offered by AIAG is one such option. Expensive packages such as ERPs are not required in each case. AIAG is even offering free introductions to Core Tools Software to allow companies to try it for their own applications. The key is to enable forward and backward communication and linkage between the entire failure mode avoidance chain – DFMEA, process flow, PFMEA, control plan, work instructions, visual aids (as applicable) for all commodities.

Q for GM:  What best practices can you recommend to keep people highly engaged and maintain a work-life balance?

A:  This comes directly from the culture of the company and the values demonstrated by the leadership. Deming said (paraphrased) that no one intentionally goes to work to do a bad job. Given the appropriate motivation and environment, people will respond and do a better job. Once they receive the basic compensation for living, their greatest compensation for work in perceived value they contribute to the organization. Work life balance is knowing when each part of the life is more important and to be flexible in its application, that goes for companies as well. Clearly parts need to be made to satisfy customer requirements, and that means people need to be available to do their jobs, but where balance can be made, it should be, and full transparency with all levels of employees will empower them more than many incentives. There are many recommendations by business coaches in this area, and by far, leadership by example is the most powerful.

Q:  Managing requirements, specifically different CSRs, is challenging and complex. It is also costly for the supply base. Can the major automotive OEMs commit to even stronger efforts to standardize their CSRs through IATF / AIAG before creating more CSRs?

A:  Yes, that is part of the effort to harmonize the CSRs through simplification, alignment and reduction. That effort is part of the ongoing development to develop the next step for the IATF 16949 standard.

Q:  As electronics and software become a more critical part of our industry, what role is their for system quality approaches?

A:  This is a key input into the future strategy of IATF.

In summary – the information, best practices and industry updates learned at the AIAG Quality Summit were invaluable to automotive suppliers, auditors, and consultants. While there are still many challenges, the future of automotive quality looks promising with more than a 6% increase in the total number of certifications over the last 12 months.  More will be shared in future simpleQuE blog posts.

If you’re searching for an IATF 16949:2016 consultant, our team at simpleQuE is well positioned to support your IATF 16949® and MAQMSR consulting (Minimum Automotive Quality Management System Requirements), certification, maintenance, training and internal auditing needs. Our consultants are qualified, certified, competent and are experts on the automotive standards, customer specific requirements, and AIAG or VDA core tools. In addition, many are current or former 3rd party auditors who bring valuable insight because of the knowledge gained from auditing for certification bodies.

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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