Quality in the Automotive Industry

Each industry will have different interpretations of the concept of Quality and how to prioritize its tenets within their own field of practice, expertise and work experience. Perhaps the best fundamental principle is the definition of Quality given by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as “the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements where a requirement is a need or expectation.” This look at the Automotive sector is one in a series of blogs that provides a quick look at how the concept of Quality applies in different industries.

Automotive quality dates to Henry Ford’s vision of mass-produced vehicles that a trained workforce could rapidly assemble with consistency and precision. Today, automotive quality reflects three principles:

  • Quality in Product means the ability of the vehicle to fulfill its expected functions and behavior, such as engine efficiency, product features and environmental exhaust standards.
  • Quality in Production means producing vehicles of a consistent quality standard while working within defined cost constraints.
  • Quality in Ownership relates to customer satisfaction during their ownership of the vehicle. This includes the customer experience during purchase, vehicle reliability and the driving experience, as well as elements that are more difficult to measure, such as the feeling of status and pride the customer might experience while owning the vehicle.

Since 1999, the international standard for automotive Quality Management Systems has been ISO/TS 16949, developed by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF). In 2016, IATF published IATF 16949:2016, which supersedes ISO/TS 16949. IATF 16949:2016 is a supplement to, and fully aligned with, ISO 9001:2015, and is therefore not considered an independent Quality Management standard.

For a look at applications of Quality in other industries including medical devices, food safety and aerospace, download our free Insight Report, A Cross-Industry Look at Quality Management.

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