The IATF 16949 structure is split into 10 sections. The first three are introductory, with the last seven containing the requirements for the Quality Management System. Here is what the seven main sections are about:
Section 4: Context of the organization – This section requires the organization to determine its context in terms of the Quality Management System, including interested parties and their needs and expectations. It also defines the requirements for determining the scope of the QMS, as well as general QMS requirements.
Section 5: Leadership – This clause of the standard requires top management to demonstrate leadership and commitment to the QMS, along with defining corporate responsibility and the quality policy. The top management must also assign process owners along with other roles and responsibilities.
Section 6: Planning – The section on planning defines requirements for addressing risks and opportunities and the requirements for risk analysis. This clause also includes requirements for preventive actions, contingency plans, and quality objectives and plans to achieve them.
Section 7: Support – In this clause you can find requirements for the resources and supporting processes needed for an effective QMS. It defines requirements for people, infrastructure, work environment, monitoring and measuring resources, organizational knowledge, competence, awareness, communication, and documented information.
Section 8: Operation – The product requirements deal with all aspects of the planning and creation of the product or service. This section includes requirements on planning, product requirements review, design, purchasing, creating the product or service, and controlling the equipment used to monitor and measure the product or service. IATF 16949 allows for requirements in clause 8.3, regarding design and development of products, to be excluded if they are not applicable to the company.
Section 9: Performance evaluation – This section includes the requirements needed to make sure that you can monitor whether your QMS is functioning well. It includes assessing customer satisfaction, internal audits, monitoring products and processes, and management review.
Section 10: Improvement – The last section of the standard defines the requirements for continual improvement of the QMS, including requirements for nonconformities and corrective actions, problem solving, and error-proofing processes.
These sections are based on a Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, which uses these elements to implement change within the processes of the organization in order to drive and maintain improvements within the processes.