Quality Management in the Automotive Industry

Learn how versiondog can Assist with Continuous Improvement and Quality Management in the Automotive Industry

automotive industry manufacturing

The automotive industry is continuously working to improve the quality of the vehicles they produce.

Every move in the automotive industry is done with a goal to continuously improve the value that both existing and future customers experience. Safety, efficiency, comfort, and design are just a handful of areas that are subject to continuous development and quality management in the automotive industry. These developments generally only become visible after the product has been released to the market.

Therefore, companies in the automotive industry need to ensure that they are constantly evolving, setting new standards for themselves, and continuously adapting operationally and organizationally.

In the past, quality management in the automotive industry has primarily been driven by the automotive companies themselves. However, an international standard is helping pave the way for quality management in the automotive industry. The IATF 16949:2016 international standard is one of the most widely used in the world. It covers quality management for the automotive industry, but also promotes the idea of continual improvement in innovation and organization.

How did the IATF 16949:2016 international standard come to be?

Prior to the IATF 16949:2016 standard, changes made to standards of the automotive industry were different from nation to nation.  The task of harmonizing these norms necessitated an inordinate amount of communication and coordination between the various suppliers and producers. It wasn’t until new, far-reaching norms were introduced and established that a solution was found. With the primary aim of establishing a global QMS standard, one that took into consideration the complexity inherent to the supply chain of the automotive sector, an international task force was created. The task force was comprised of the leading automotive manufacturers and their trade associations from around the world. This task force is known as the International Automotive Task Force (IATF). The task force was formed in order to provide “a common set of techniques and methods for common product and process development for automotive manufacturing worldwide.” Everyone involved had until September 2018 to define their customer requirements and ensure that the standard would meet and surpass expectations now and in the future.  The standards set ensure consistent and high quality products and services that meet expectations and enhance customer satisfaction, an important asset when it comes to guaranteeing market competitiveness.

Data Management and Quality Management for Automotive Industries go Hand-in-Hand

To a certain extent, the new IATF 16949 came out of a change in thinking in the automotive sector. The automotive industry is considering costs generated by unplanned stoppages, production downtime, and product recalls more and more often, instead of focusing on direct production costs only. This development has played an important part in paving the way for a new quality management standard.

Increasing the quality of the processes in production, and thereby the quality of the product, is key to reducing these costs. It is no coincidence that the process requirements, requirements for controllers, and documentation requirements in production facilities continue to grow as quality become a larger focus.

Data and documentation play an important role in the Industrial Internet of Things. Almost every process generates data, and the majority of today’s production facilities are controlled by programs. These programs are constantly being revised, adapted and optimized, and are in a state of constant change. The data that is incurred as a result is of great importance in many ways. It can be used as documented proof related to production processes for audit trails. It can also be used to backup data, assess efficiency, ensure quality, and analyze data via Key Performance Indicators. In addition, it can also be used to monitor data usage or to simply display how data is managed in an automated production environment. Section 8 of the IATF 16949 makes many references to “traceability” being a key “requirement for ensuring conformity of products and services.”

How exactly does versiondog support quality management in the automotive industry?

audit infographic

A robust data management system for quality management needs to document, manage, and analyze production data, versions of programs, and data sets. Only if the production data is handled perfectly is it possible to use it as the basis for smoothly running processes and thus have an error-free production facility.

A data management system for automated production environments, like versiondog, needs to be capable of meeting new customer requirements and actively use those requirements to increase quality.

Over time, data management processes have greatly evolved. The old days of using USB sticks have been replaced by automated data management systems. versiondog is a data management system that allows you to create versions of program data sets, generate and extract backups, backup data running on devices, and compare previous backups and versions of programs.

The production process is monitored by the data management software and all events are documented in accordance with the requirements set out for audit trails. Thanks to versiondog you always have the data you need in order to perform a restoration. The software shows WHO changed WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, and WHY, thus giving the customer more security, safety, certainty, data availability and, most importantly, quality. The strengths of this data management system help support all production processes, generating greater clarity and transparency, which quality managers, auditors, auditees, and manufacturers can all benefit from in equal measure.

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