IATF16949 - Interpretation of Customer Requirements clauses

#1
All companies want to give the customer what they want, equally there is always a negotiation as to what a customer gets for what they pay.

In the past all our big customers have had a general master service agreement (e.g. version 2.0) which has been signed of by both parties, and these refer to a version of their customer requirements (e.g. version 6.0).

So even if the customer updates their requirements (e.g. version 7.0 for new packaging & labelling requirements), we continue to work to version 3.0, as this is what is referenced & agreed in the general master service agreement.

We only change to their version 7.0 customer requirements once the general master service agreement is updated (e.g. to version 3.0) to reference their version 7.0 customer requirements.

In the past all external auditors have agreed this is a sensible interpretation of the standard.

We now have a new auditor who is intimating that we have to work to the updated customer requirements (e.g. version 7.0), even though the general master service agreement still refers to customer requirements 6.0.

Who is correct our past external auditors, or our potential new auditor?

I do realise that in an ideal world we would look to meet the new customer requirement, which we try to do; my question related to what the standard requires us to do

Has anyone got any further guidance on this please?
 
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Johnny Quality

Involved In Discussions
#2
Darius,

It seems to me that you work to the general master service agreement as that it what both you and your customer have agreed and signed off on. It's in writing, everyone's reviewed and agreed to.

If they bring out new customer requirements but both parties agree to new requirements by signing them off then I see the new document as not enforceable.

Is there anything in your purchase agreements or otherwise that dictates that you must meet the new requirements immediately? What clause does your auditor believe you are not meeting?
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#3
I would say that the master agreement rules if it calls out specific versions of customer documents. There is a similar situation with drawing specifications. For example, a drawing might call out corrosion testing per ASTM B117-09, while the current version is -19. The key for customers is to not call out specific versions, but rather say something like, "Must comply with the current version of document xxx." The key for suppliers is to be aware of this wording, and not agree to something that's not actually in hand and understood.
 
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