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Internal Auditor Qualification for ISO/TS 16949

What are the requirements for ISO/TS 16949 internal auditor qualification? I've heard from a consultant that auditors must be qualified by an AIAG member organization. Is this true?

--Perplexed in Peoria


Subclause 4.17.3, Internal Quality Audits--Auditor Qualification, in ISO Technical Specification 16949:1999 states, "The supplier shall comply with customer requirements for internal system and process auditor qualification." The question, therefore, is, "What do your customers require to demonstrate that your organization's internal auditors are qualified to conduct an in-house assessment of conformance with ISO/TS 16949?"

 "Remember that ISO/TS 16949 was developed by the International Automotive Task Force, which consists primarily of the U.S. and European (and now Asian) automakers, which may or may not be your customers," explains Jim Mroz, editor of "The Informed Outlook" newsletter. "If one or more of your customers has indicated that it requires competency for your internal auditors to be considered qualified, then you need to comply with those qualifications. If you aren't certain, check with your customers to verify whether they have a set of auditor criteria.

 "Nowhere in the standard does it indicate that auditor certification, whether by AIAG or any other body, is proof that an auditor--or any other employee--is qualified to do his or her job.

 "What ISO/TS 16949:1999 does say about employees being qualified is found in Subclause 4.18.1, Training--ISO 9001:1994, which notes, 'Personnel performing specific assigned tasks shall be qualified on the basis of appropriate education, training and/or experience, as required.'

 "Unless you have a customer who has specified that it expects your internal auditors to be certified by an outside body (e.g., RAB, ASQ, AIAG) or approved by the customer, your organization simply needs to ensure that its internal auditors have the education, training and experience needed to conduct an internal ISO/TS 16949 audit. For guidelines on auditor 'qualifications,' I recommend the RAB qualifications for auditor certification."


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