Best Practices

Part IV: Aligning Your Organizational Quality Management System (QMS) with IATF 16949

IATF 16949

Throughout this automotive blog series, our experts have described numerous ways that Jama Connect can support and accelerate product development for automotive suppliers and OEMs and drive compliance to key safety standards like ISO 26262. Now let’s look at how requirements management and this focus around functional safety fit into the larger view of organizational quality management systems (QMS) aligned with IATF 16949:2016.

International Automotive Task Force (IATF) 16949

The IATF 16949 standard defines the components of an automotive industry aligned quality management system to provide a harmonized structure for companies to implement and meet their customers and the broader markets expectations for quality and consistency of organizational processes.  IATF 16949 also fully aligns with the structure and application of ISO 9001:2015 and is focused on seven Quality Management Principles:

  1. Customer Focus
  2. Leadership
  3. Engagement of People
  4. Process Approach
  5. Improvement
  6. Evidence-based Decision Making
  7. Relationship Management

While ISO 26262 defines functional safety and focuses at the project or product level, IATF 16949 is a broad-based organizational standard that defines a way of working for various functions throughout the business.  A good example of the contrast in scope is the text of section 8.3.2.1 of IATF 16949:  “The organization shall ensure that design and development planning includes all affected stakeholders within the organization and, as appropriate, its supply chain.”

Jama Connect for Automotive

While different in scope and scale, there are certainly several key tenants in both standards that mean a requirements management tool like Jama Connect® for Automotive is critical not only for compliance – but for efficient execution that drives value for customers. Here are three topics to consider:


RELATED: Watch a demonstration of the Jama Connect for Automotive Solution


Requirements Matter

To assure the first principle of Customer Focus, requirements must be central to any quality management system implementation. The standard explicitly accounts for items like review of requirements and feasibility assessment, evidence of customer-waived requirements, and communication of changes to ensure impacts are accounted for in downstream operations. Maintaining tight control of requirements, including reviews and versioning, creates the foundation that a robust quality management system can build upon.

Safety and Quality Go Hand in Hand

Product safety is specifically outlined in Section 4.4.1.2 of the IATF 16494 standard – and although it’s not prescriptive, it does align implicitly with ISO 26262 and acknowledges that safety is a key measure of quality and conformance of products and processes. Key areas of alignment between safety and quality standards, and supported by Jama Connect for Automotive, which will accelerate or strengthen a quality management system include:

  • Technical safety requirements
  • System architectural designs
  • Hardware design and verification
  • Software design and verification
  • Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessment (HARA)
  • Project management
  • Change control
  • Confidence in the use of software tools

RELATED: Learn more about the Jama Connect Functional Safety Kit for Automotive Teams 


Stakeholder Engagement is Critical

To meet the requirements of a strong quality management system, particularly in the automotive sector, requires both internal and external stakeholder engagement – and puts a particular focus on the role of top management.  With this focus, maintaining strong alignment and communication within the organization and with the supply chain is crucially important. Organizations may bring stakeholders into a formal review process or may exchange information through industry standard protocols such as ReqIF [link to Part III blog], in order to ensure optimal QMS performance. Regardless of method or specific process – maintaining clear documentation, managing change, capturing approvals and/or electronic signatures at appropriate milestones, and maintaining overall traceability of quality and safety data are all key to success in this complex web of internal and external stakeholders.

Jama Connect for Automotive includes a fully functional framework that teams can use to start getting value immediately as a component of a quality management system aligned to IATF 16949:2016. This includes complete documentation for how to complete each process most efficiently in Jama Connect for Automotive. Industry-specific Professional Services are also included to guide customers through the inevitable customizations needed by each organization.


To learn more about how Jama Connect for Automotive can help your team simplify compliance, streamline development, and speed time to market, download our solution overview.

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