TS 16949 Certification Requirements

Automotive inspection, TS 16949, IATF 16949


My company is a fabless semiconductor company and we provide ASIC design and custom IP services, and manage our customers’ supply chain from foundry to assembly and test and drop ship.

We are gearing ourselves up to supply IC chip to automotive customers and the prerequisites indicate our manufacturing partners must be ISO/TS 16949 certified and our company’s QMS compliant to this standard.

There are a lot of documentations to be upgraded and revised, including supplier management specifications. I was thinking instead of repeating what ISO/TS16949 says from A to Z, I thought the best way is to add a clause in my supplier management spec is to specify “Suppliers manufacturing products for automotive customers must be certified to ISO/TS16949 (latest version) by a 3rd Party Registrar”.

Most of our manufacturing suppliers publish/broadcast their certifications in their external webpage and this is how we verify the certification status. Will this approach work from automotive customer’s perspectives?

Looking forward to your guidance and advice.


Thanks very much for your question. A little bit about ISO/TS 16949; if your company doesn’t manufacture anything, then it is not eligible to be registered to ISO/TS 16949. You would, however, be required to be registered to ISO 9001. Double check that your customers are asking for your suppliers to be registered to ISO/TS 16949. That is not a default position. If it’s not in your contract, it won’t be a requirement (because your company is not ISO/TS 16949 registered).

If you are required to be compliant to ISO/TS 16949, make sure that your internal audit function conducts its audits against the ISO/TS 16949 Standard. At the practical level, the biggest impact to your company by being compliant is the requirement for you to use APQP and PPAP. PPAP will also apply to your suppliers.

Be careful about how you try to address supplier management in your QA manual. There’s much more to it than a one line statement. Your customers will expect a rigorous application of supplier selection and management (per ISO 9001) and they will expect you to manage APQP and PPAP with your suppliers. You will still have to be active in managing and being responsible for your suppliers. There will need to be more to your selection and evaluation process than looking at their websites for a certification.

The amount of risk depends on the closeness of the relationship with your “supplier partners”, and whether or not they have a high level of sophistication and experience in the automotive industry. This industry has a very sophisticated supply chain management process and very high performance expectations, with penalties to match.

I hope this answer gets you started.

Denis J. Devos, P.Eng
Fellow of the American Society for Quality
Devos Associates Inc.
Advisors to the Automotive Industry

For more on this topic, please visit ASQ’s website.

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