Now, more than ever, it’s time for auto manufacturers to focus on quality. IATF 16949:2016 is coming, and while it may seem intimidating, it offers opportunities, as well. This regulation, published by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF), in 2016 replaces the earlier ISO/TS 16949: 2009. Certifications for that earlier standard will no longer be valid after September, 2018.  This global technical specification creates a quality management standard for the automotive industry is based on ISO 9001:2015, but adds additional requirements designed to help automotive OEMs and suppliers consistently produce quality products and meet customer needs.

IATF 16949:2016 adds new definitions and requirements around counterfeit parts, product safety, ethical behavior, human factors, data management, and obsolescence. It also specifies a range of requirement around documentation.

Your company will need to transition to this new standard and become certified on it as quickly as possible, in order to continue doing business with most major auto manufacturers. Whatever the size of your business, from small to multinational, this standard can help your organization improve quality and better serve your customers.

Your company may face challenges that make it tougher than ever to meet quality standards. Lack of supply chain visibility is perhaps the biggest impediment. According to “The Smarter Supply Chain of the Future: Global Chief Supply Chain Officer Study,” 8 out of 10 automotive companies lack visibility across their supply chain.  Organizational silos were cited as the leading barrier to visibility by 45% of those surveyed.

But, there are ways to address these challenges. Start by reviewing your organization and processes to ensure that they’re aligned with your business strategy. That’s the only way you can achieve lasting performance improvements and eliminate quality issues.

Next, evaluate where the greatest source of risk lies for your organization. Is it lack of visibility across your supply chain? Organizational silos that keep you from making sound decisions? Poor collaboration with your suppliers?

Consider adopting a cloud-based portal. It can give your automotive company a simple, yet powerful tool for creating a single system of record for collecting and normalizing data and then pushing it down to transactional systems. Everyone will have access to all the information they need to make smart decisions that improve quality, keep the production line running, and identify opportunities to reduce costs. As an added bonus, this type of collaboration helps strengthen relationships between auto manufacturers and parts suppliers, which helps to further improve quality and create an environment where innovation grows.