July 28, 2014

Opening the Door to More Business – Westport Obtains TS 16949 Certification

Westport achieved a significant accomplishment in the trucking and automotive industry recently, receiving TS 16949:2009 certification. This quality management designation is issued by SAI Global, a registrar of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). 

“One of the first questions customers ask is: do you have a certified quality system?” says Westport’s Director of Quality, Hector Hernandez. “Obtaining this certification puts Westport in the position to compete with the best suppliers in the world. It will open the door to more business for Westport.”

This certification is a requirement to do business with most of the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the car and truck industry worldwide. Westport also obtained the environmental certificate ISO 14001 in 2012 as well as ISO 9001 in 2009.

TS 16949 certification measures the effectiveness of business processes; it’s important because it drives continuous quality improvement at Westport.

The difference between ISO and TS, says Hector, is “ISO looks at whether you have a system and TS looks at the system that you have and asks, ‘Is it effective?’”

As a tier one supplier to OEMs, Westport will now seek tier two suppliers who also comply with TS 16949. All the supply chain in the automotive industry is linked now, from OEMs to the last chain of tiers:

“It’s an exclusive club that every participant in the chain should be part of so we all speak the same language,” he says.

Many departments were involved in the two-year-long path through Westport’s TS 16949 creation, implementation and certification of the system.

The team evaluated and adjusted aspects such as measuring customer satisfaction, publishing control plans, design and process analysis, laboratory controls and calibration; many new processes were created and are now firmly in place.

“Quality systems are like a living person. When we implemented ISO 9001 in 2008, it was like having a baby, slowly introducing people to it and teaching them how to work with it,” Hector says. “Then they began to use the system, becoming actively engaged with it and improving it. Now that we have TS – it’s like having a mature teenager. We are paving the path for the future, working in a more mature system.”

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