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What is IATF 16949 Process Audit?

The newest version, IATF 16949, updated from TS 16949, focuses on the importance of complying with the requirements of the standard and also focuses on customer-specific requirements. IATF 16949 expands upon ISO 9001:2015 requirements, having more requirements for internal audits and also adding requirements for quality management system audits.

IATF 16949 and the automotive industry have complex Quality Management Systems, and therefore the standard had divided audits into three categories with specific requirements, scopes and sets of competencies for each. The three different audits are:

  • Quality Management System Audit
  • Manufacturing Process Audit
  • Product Audit

We are going to discuss the second one, manufacturing process audit.

Manufacturing Process Audit

The manufacturing process audit is put in place to decide how effective and efficient the manufacturing process is. IATF 16949 requires a manufacturing process audit within a three-year calendar period. Oftentimes the manufacturing process involves customer-specific requirements, and if that applies to your organization the approach to the audit will be defined by the customer. If there are no customer-specific requirements then the organization must determine the approach.

What Does a Process Audit Mean?

  • The organization is responsible for determining the Audit Plan that deals with key processes, instead of only parts of the standard
  • Auditors are required to check performance. This includes metrics for the organization and suppliers
  • Auditors must use checklists to ensure that their audits are fully conducted without missing anything
  • Auditors are required to use the organization’s procedures for conducting audits
  • The auditors should use the organization’s procedure for conducting the audit


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