New Direction for Automotive Industry & Quality Standards

The Automotive Industry is experiencing a period of change. The future of established trade partnerships with EU countries is uncertain and domestic demand is declining, yet advances in technology and new export markets present fresh opportunities for growth.

Advancing Technology

From science fiction to road trials; the development of autonomous vehicles could transform the way we travel. Wide scale adoption of this technology is reliant on a considerable, but not insurmountable shift in perceptions. The challenge for the automotive industry is the criticaltiming of investment in line with changing attitudes.

The development of mainstream electric vehicles is another significant shift in automotive technology. Formula e has helped to showcase the potential of electric vehicles and transform expectations. As Formula e attracts a rapidly growing following and investment in a robust charging infrastructure continues, electric cars have the potential to be one of the biggest changes to the automotive industry.

Chinese Automotive Market

The Chinese Government has recently announced plans to encourage international automotive trade. The proposed plans include a reduction to the 25% tariff on car imports. As China is the largest car market and, if the plans are agreed, the cuts would drive demand for European vehicles.

Equally significant was the proposal that non-Chinese brands could sell directly to buyers. At present there is a requirement for any foreign manufacturer to operate as a ‘joint venture’ with a Chinese company. With Politicians intent on building Anglo Chinese relations, the opening up of this market could have a positive impact on the fortunes of UK manufacturers.

Export of Automotive Parts

The potential to access new markets isn’t limited to vehicles. The global demand for UK built engines and components is on the rise. SMMT data reveals that in February 2018, 62% of all UK vehicle engines (amounting to 157,880 units) were exported overseas. UK engineering has a reputation for quality and this bodes well when exploring new markets for automotive parts.

Changes to Quality Standards

When exporting overseas, a country’s reputation isn’t sufficient proof of quality. Internationally recognised quality standards are a requirement in trusted supply chains, for all major automotive manufacturers.

Quality Standards are another area of change for the Automotive Industry. In September 2018, the IATF 16949 Quality Management System will replace ISO/ TS 16949. Many companies are currently working through the transition and bringing their processes in line with the new requirements.

What Differentiates IATF 16949?

The new automotive industry quality standard has been developed with insight from the automotive industry and customers. IATF 16949 focuses on effective risk management, which now covers:

  • Counterfeit Partsv
  • Product Safety
  • Data Management
  • Handling of Obsolete Parts
  • Documentation
  • Ethical Behaviours

This standard aims to ‘Improve performance, resilience and safety throughout the automotive supply chain’ and at its heart is the requirement to identify, plan for, respond to and manage risks.

Preparing for IATF 16949 can seem like a daunting process, but with small businesses through to large multinational organisations being encouraged to comply, it has to offer tangible benefits.

Working toward IATF 16949 Certification will boost internal efficiency and put the company in a strong position to attract broader market opportunities. Companies working towards certification will be expected to implement changes to:

  • Improve training to reinforced competencies and better prepared their workforce
  • Improve product quality and reduce defects
  • Generate higher levels of customer satisfaction
  • Build greater awareness of data security and adopt stringent data protection measures

It is important to recognise that the five Core Tools remain unchanged. Effective quality management in the automotive industry is built upon:

  • Advanced Product Quality Planning & Control Plan (APQP)
  • Production Part Approval Process (PPAP)
  • Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
  • Measurement System Analysis (MSA)
  • Statistical Process Control (SPC)

Where a company has implemented Core Tool processes, fulfilling the requirements of IATF 16949, and undertaking the transition, will be straightforward.

Guidance through the Quality Standard Process

The Qualitation team has a wealth of industry experience, coupled with a detailed understanding of quality standards. We support companies in the automotive sector to audit current practices and identify the necessary steps towards IATF 16949 Certification.

Every company that Qualitation has supported has achieved certification on their first attempt. In over 20 years of operation, we’ve earned our reputation as experts in Quality Standards.

Whether your company is in transition or working towards a quality standard for the first time, Qualitation can assist. We offer a range of support packages, so you can find an option to suit your requirements and budget. With our support, your company can reap the rewards.

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