Venture Plastics Inc., a full-service ISO 9001:2015–certified custom thermoplastics injection molder, announced that it has earned the new IATF 16949:2016 certification for automotive customers. The company has plastic processing facilities in Newton Falls, OH, and El Paso, TX.
A Tier 2 supplier, Venture Plastics’ commitment to quality has been part of its DNA for more than 40 years, said the company. Today, Venture Plastics has embedded a quality management system into its core business from the shop floor up through the ranks of its entire management team. Additionally, the company is always looking for ways to improve these processes to effectively meet customer demands and manage costs.
On Oct. 3, 2016, when IATF 16949:2016 was published by the International Automotive Task Force to replace ISO/TS 16949, the Venture Plastics team made a commitment to earn this additional certification as early as possible in 2017.
Dave Douce, Venture Plastics’ Quality Manager, explained to PlasticsToday how the new IATF 16949:2016 differs from the TS standard it replaces. TS 16949 is a standalone system—a “step above” ISO 9001:2000—designed to achieve quality standardization throughout the automotive supply chain. The new IATF 16949:2016 has increased the requirements of a company’s QA system to satisfy quality focused around “risk evaluation.”
“From a 30,000-foot view, it’s a manual to drive a risk analysis process through product introduction and the supplier base all the way to your present systems,” said Douce. “From contingency plan reviews and evaluating products on safety-related components, expectations for safety-related issues under IATF 16949:2016 standards are higher, and more stringent requirements have been added when it comes to safety products that may require more training of personnel. The new standard requires evaluating areas of risk and driving that down through the entire management system. They want you more involved with the customer specification environment, [conducting] more in-depth feasibility studies prior to manufacturing, particularly in safety components such as air bags and seat belt latches. New requirements include a code of conduct, whistleblower rules and other areas on the risk side to protect you as a supplier.”
The changes made from TS 16949 to IATF 16949:2016 evolved in large part because of the safety issues and recalls that have cropped up in recent years. “There have been a record number of recalls, so what they did was re-evaluate the technical specs and upgrade them in key areas,” Douce explained.
“They eliminated the ISO TS terminology and replaced it with just IATF, which is a supplement to ISO 9001:2015,” he said. “You have to purchase an ISO technical specification and abide by that, making sure all your procedures are covered, then buy the IATF manual, which contains the procedures you have to do above and beyond ISO.”
Because the company has had critical automotive suppliers as customer for years, it had earned the ISO/TS 16949 certificate, so meeting the new requirements for the IATF 15949:2016 was achievable by the team within a short time span. By September 2018, the ISO/TS certification won’t be valid, said Douce. “Beginning this month, third-party auditors can no longer audit to the TS standards—they have to audit to the IATF standard.”
Between the two facilities, Venture Plastics has a total of 35 injection molding machines ranging from 55 to 1,450 tons, capable of serving a diversified customer base. In addition to vehicle manufacturers such as BMW, FCA US LLC, Diamler AG, FCA Italy SpA, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, PSA Group and Volkswagen, the company serves the industrial, consumer, major appliance, agriculture, truck and communications markets. The company has an engineering staff, but works with outside mold shops to build molds locally and overseas depending on the requirements.
“The IATF standard gives us a few more hoops to jump through but it’s doable,” commented Douce.