IATF 16949:2016 Clause 7.2.1 Competence

Competence is defined as the set of skill & personnel characteristics which can demonstrate easily in presence of someone and based on demonstration we can improve these skill & personnel characteristics so the efficiency or performance of function or system can be increase.
Competence shows that you have the ability to do something in well manner. It also tell that you are capable to performing a task or job effectively that is assign to you. It include the knowledge and skills needed which is required to a problem or task which his assign to someone. It is the ability of someone to apply knowledge and skills to achieve intended results. The standard is focus that everyone, not only the top management, become familiar with the QMS requirement such that guideline, policies, goals, targets, objectives and the way to achieve them. Standard want that everyone who is part of organization and giving their contribution towards QMS must aware about the things and also know about the impact if they are not performing their task holistically.

In the context of IATF standards (specifically the IATF 16949:2016 standard), competency refers to the ability of individuals or organizations to perform their assigned tasks effectively and consistently. The standard emphasizes the importance of having competent personnel who possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to carry out their roles and responsibilities. IATF 16949:2016 includes specific requirements related to competency, such as:

  1. Identifying the necessary competencies: Organizations must determine the competencies required for each role and function within their quality management system. This involves identifying the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to perform the tasks effectively.
  2. Providing appropriate training: Organizations are required to provide training or take other measures to ensure that personnel possess the necessary competencies. This includes initial training for new employees, as well as ongoing training to maintain and enhance competencies.
  3. Evaluating competency: Organizations must assess the effectiveness of their training programs and evaluate the competency of personnel through various methods, such as performance evaluations, examinations, or practical assessments.
  4. Documenting competency: Competency requirements and evidence of competency must be documented, including records of training, qualifications, and evaluations.

Overall, competency, as defined by the IATF, relates to having the right skills, knowledge, and experience to carry out tasks effectively within the automotive industry, particularly in the context of quality management systems.

Clause 7.2.1 Competence

In addition to the requirements given in ISO 9001:2015 clause 7.2 Competence. Clause 7.2 also has the following additional requirements. Organization have to establish and maintain a document process for training need identification including awareness and activity for achieving the competence of all performing activities which can affect the product & process requirement. Process for qualification of personnel who performing specific task for achieving customer satisfaction.

Please click here for ISO 9001:2015 clause 7.2 Competence

Planning for HR process controls requires having a documented procedure that defines or references – competency criteria; skills evaluation; identification of training needs; types of training; provision of training; how training effectiveness is evaluated; methods to communicate awareness of the importance of quality requirements and meeting quality objectives, to all employees. Criteria for competency must be developed based on appropriate education, skills, training and experience for activities, tasks, functions and processes. The level and detail of such qualifications will depend upon the complexity of product, process, technology and customer and regulatory requirements. It is up to your organization to determine the necessary criteria for the various functions and activities affecting product and QMS. A “Skills Matrix” is a useful tool used by organizations to determine and manage the competency levels required by different activities and functions. The competency criteria for personnel with responsibility for design and development must be defined as well as the specific tools and techniques they need to use. These may include – computer-aided design (CAD); design for manufacturing (DFM); design for assembly (DFA); design of experiments (DOE); etc. For a full list of these tools, refer to the IATF TS 16949:2002 guidance document.

Identifying training needs

The standard requires the supplier to establish and maintain documented process for identifying training needs. Training should not be carried out just because a training course is available. Training is expensive and should be directed at meeting specific needs. Training needs can be identified in two ways: as requirements for training and as a plan for providing the required training. Requirements for training arise in several ways as a result of:

  • Job specifications
  • Process specifications, maintenance specifications, operating instructions, etc.
  • Development plans for introducing new technologies
  • Project plans for introducing new equipment, services, operations, etc.
  • Marketing plans for launching into new markets, new countries, new products and services
  • Contracts where the customer will only permit trained personnel to operate customer owned equipment
  • Corporate plans covering new legislation, sales, marketing, quality management, etc.
  • An analysis of nonconformities, customer complaints, and other problems
  • Developing design skills , problem solving skills , statistical skills.
  • Introducing a quality system, thus requiring awareness of IATF 16949, the quality policies and objectives, and training in the implementation of quality system procedures, standards, guides, etc.
  • The procedures that govern these activities should include provisions for training. As a minimum they should specify the skills and knowledge required of a person carrying out the activities and where necessary the examination criteria for judging that the person has acquired an adequate level of proficiency.

The requirement for identifying training needs has two dimensions: new training needs and retraining needs. Retraining should be identified by assessing the effectiveness of previous training, the recency of its application, and then scheduling the appropriate courses. Once the training requirements have been specified, managers should plan the training needed for their staff. This requires a training plan. Although the standard does not specifically require a training plan, without one you may have difficulty demonstrating that you have identified the training needs. All plans must serve an objective. You train people for a purpose: to give them skills that you want them to have. The skills required must be specified in the first place. You could have several training plans, each covering a different subject. Technical training could be separate from managerial training and professional training separate from manual skill training. Each manager should plan for the training of his/her own staff so there may be department training plans, divisional training plans, company training plans, etc. The training plans should identify the person responsible for coordinating the training, the type of training, the organization that will deliver the training, the course material to be provided, examination and certification arrangements, the venue, the dates of the courses, and the attendees. It is interesting to note that the only procedures required are for identifying training needs and not for designing training courses, conducting training, or maintaining records.

Qualification of personnel

The standard requires personnel performing specific assigned tasks be qualified on the basis of appropriate education, training, and/or experience, as required. This requirement is somewhat vague as it does not define what a specific assigned task is. Any task assigned to an individual could be a specific assigned task: e.g. window cleaning, typing, fitting, managing, designing, etc. Within organizations some staff are appointed to particular positions that are unique in the organization and others perform jobs that are common within a particular group. So the window cleaning, typing, and fitting jobs are not assigned to a specific individual whereas the manager, and sometimes the designer, is assigned a specific task unique to themselves. Such personnel make judgement upon which the determination of quality depends and so they should be qualified to make such judgement. To be qualified, a person should be able and competent to perform the required tasks at the time they are required to perform them. It follows therefore that a footballer with a broken leg would not be qualified to play football; similarly, a person who takes a training course but has not acquired the skills is also not qualified. A person who once had the skills but has not applied them for some time may also be considered not qualified for the task. This suggests that a person’s current ability needs to be evaluated in order to qualify personnel for specific assigned tasks. You will need to maintain documentary evidence that these personnel have the necessary education, training, and experience to carry out the tasks assigned to them. This is where job specifications can help. For each of these positions — not the individuals but the position they occupy — you should produce a job specification that specifies the requirements an individual must meet to occupy this position. It should include academic qualifications, training, and experience requirements, as well as personal characteristics, so that in recruiting for the position you have a specification with which to compare candidates.

Increasing sensitivity to customer requirements

The personnel whose work affects quality to be informed of the consequences to the customer of nonconformities with quality standards. This is tougher than you might think but you can make it easier. You have produced the Design FMEA and the Process FMEA and in these two documents you have the basic information you need to inform your staff. The FMEA should have identified the sources and causes of failure. Make your staff aware of these documents but also provide other information that enables them to see the effect a part failure has at system level or on the complete vehicle. Staff may have no idea of the function the part they are producing performs, where it fits, how important it is. This education is vital to increasing sensitivity. In many organizations this sensitivity is low. The manager’s task is to heighten sensitivity so that everyone is in no doubt what effect a nonconformity has on the customer.

Evaluation of training effectiveness

The standard requires training effectiveness to be periodically reviewed with special attention given to customer-specific requirements. If the education, training, and/or experience has not been effective, the person concerned could be considered to be unqualified. Therefore in order to ensure that staff are suitably qualified, the effectiveness of the education, training, and/or experience received should be evaluated.
There are three parts to the evaluation:

  • An evaluation of the training course or training activity immediately on completion
  • An evaluation of the training received weeks after the training
  • An evaluation of the skills developed months after the training

Training course evaluation (the initial stage) Course evaluation by the students themselves can only indicate how much they felt motivated by the training courses. It is not effective in evaluating what has been learnt. This is more likely to be revealed by examination at the end of the course or periodically throughout the course. However, the type of examination is important in measuring the effectiveness of the training; e.g. a written examination for a practical course may test the theories behind the skills but not the practical mastery of the skills themselves. A person may fail an exam by not having read the question, so examination by itself cannot be a valid measure of training effectiveness. You want information to be conveyed to your staff, a lecture with accompanying slide show may suffice. Slide shows are good for creating awareness but not for skill training. For the latter, practical opportunities are needed.

Training effectiveness — short term (the intermediate stage) On returning to work after the course, it is important that the skills and knowledge learnt are put to good effect as soon as possible. A lapse of weeks or months before the skills are used will certainly reduce the effectiveness. Little or no knowledge or skill may have been retained. Training is not about doing something once and once only. It is about doing something several times and at frequent intervals. One never forgets how to ride a bicycle or drive a car regardless of the time lapse between each attempt, because the skill was embedded by frequency of opportunities to put the skill into practice in the early stages. Therefore to ensure effectiveness of training you ideally need to provide opportunities to put into practice the newly acquired skills as soon as possible. The person’s supervisor should then examine the trainee’s performance through sampling work pieces, reading documents he/she produces, and observing the person doing the job. If you have experts in the particular skills then in addition to appraisals by the supervisor, the expert should also be involved in appraising the trainee’s performance. Pay particular attention to the trainee’s understanding of customer requirements. Get this wrong and you could end up in trouble with your customer!

Training effectiveness — long term (the final stage)
After several months of doing a job and applying the new skills, the trainee will acquire techniques and habits. The techniques shown may not only demonstrate the skills learnt but also those being developed through self-training. The habits may indicate that some essential aspects of the training had not been understood and that some re-orientation is necessary. It is also likely that the person may have regressed to the old way of doing things and this may be due to matters outside his/her control. The environment in which people work and the attitudes of the people they work with can have both a motivating and demotivating effect on an individual. Again the supervisor should observe the trainee’s performance and engage the expert to calibrate his/her judgement. Pay particular attention to customer requirements and whether the trainee really understands them. If there are significant signs of regression you will need to examine the cause and take corrective action.

Periodic evaluation
Once the skills have been acquired through evidence of a person’s performance, the supervisor can revert to the annual appraisal of performance and identify retraining needs through that process.

Maintaining training records
The standard requires the supplier to maintain appropriate records of training. Whenever any training is carried out you should record on the individual’s personal file, details of the course taken, the dates, duration, and exam results. Copies of the certificate should be retained on file as evidence of training. You may find it useful to issue each individual with a personal training log, but do not rely on this being maintained or retained by the person. Often training records are held at some distance away from an individual’s place of work and in certain cases, especially for certificated personnel performing special processes, individuals should carry some identification of their proficiency so as to avoid conflict if challenged. Records of training should include records of formal training, where the individual attends a training course and on-the—job training, where the individual is given instruction while performing the job. The records should indicate whether the prescribed level of competence has been attained. In order to record competence, formal training needs to be followed by on-the-job examination. The records should also indicate who has conducted the training and there should be evidence that this person or organization has been assessed as competent to deliver and evaluate the training. Training records should contain evidence that the effectiveness of training given has been evaluated and this may be accomplished by a signature and date from the super visor against the three stages of evaluation — initial, intermediate, final. Periodic reviews of training records should be undertaken to clearly identify retraining needs. You will need two types of training records: those records relating to a particular individual and those relating to particular activities. The former is used to identify an individual’s competence and the latter to select by skill the competent people for specific assignments.

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