QS-9000 Standard   


The Quality System Requirements QS-9000, or simply QS-9000, is an international quality management system (QMS) standard for the automotive industry originally developed by and for the 'Big Three' of the American auto industry, namely, Daimler Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors Corporation.


This standard embraces the 1994 ISO-9001 Standard (now obsolete) with emphasis on customer satisfaction and process control. In addition to the 1994 ISO-9001elements, it also  incorporates certain requirements that are particular to the automotive industry. The QS-9000 was introduced to the industry in 1994, and then underwent a revision in 1998.


The QS-9000 quality standard must be complied to by suppliers of automotive production materials, production and service parts, heat treatment, painting, plating, and other finishing services.  Not all suppliers of the automotive industry are therefore required to be certified to QS-9000 standards.


The QS-9000 is divided into three (3) sections:  1) all the twenty (20) ISO-9001 elements plus certain automotive requirements; 2) system requirements defined by the 'Big Three' for their own use, which are referred to as 'Additional Requirements' in the standard; and 3) customer-specific requirements, which are requirements that are unique to every individual automotive or truck manufacturer.


The core activity requirements of the QS-9000 include the following: 1) Quality System Assessment (QSA); 2) Advanced Product Quality Planning and Control Plan (APQP); 3) Production Part Approval Process (PPAP); 4) Potential Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA); 5) Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA); and 6) Statistical Process Control (SPC).


Certification to the QS-9000 consists of the following basic steps:  1) Review of the QS9000 document standard and its support literature and software; 2) Organizational preparation and assembly of a team that will oversee the certification; 3) Development of a Quality Manual that meets the QS-9000 requirements; 4) Development of support documents for your Quality Manual; 5) Implementation of the quality management systems defined in your Quality Manual; 6) Pre-assessment of your quality systems (optional); 7) Certification to the QS-9000; 8) Continual assessment of your quality systems against QS-9000 requirements to maintain your registration.


QS-9000 certification requirements are said to be very demanding, with only a few selected third party entities duly authorized by the automotive industry to give QS-9000 certifications.  Nonetheless, many big companies that got certified to QS-9000 standards have saved millions of dollars through defect and waste reduction, on-time delivery performance improvements, and of course, market share increases.


The main weakness of the QS-9000 is the fact that it is based on the ISO-9001:1994, which has been obsoleted and replaced by ISO-9001:2000.  As such, automotive companies are expected to transition into using the ISO/TS-16949 as the new standard for the automotive industry's quality management systems.


See Also:  QS-9000 Requirements The TS-16949 The ISO 9000 The ISO 14000;

Quality Systems Document Control;




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