IATF Clause 5 Leadership

Clause 5 of IATF 16949 –Leadership

This article is about IATF clause 5-Leadership. After reading this you will understand meaning of leadership, importance of learning leadership in an organization, requirements of ISO 9001:2015 for Leadership. This article is written along with heading covered in IATF 16949:2016 manual. 

When you completely go though the IATF 16949:2016 manual. You will understand basics of industry requirements, will understand rules and requirement to run any business. This learning explore knowledge about industry. 

You can read IATF Clause 4 before reading this article. 

This clause of the standard requires top management to demonstrate leadership and commitment to the QMS, along with defining corporate responsibility and the quality policy. The top management must also assign process owners along with other roles and responsibilities


This clause places requirements on “top management” which is the person or group of people who directs and controls the organization at the highest level. This reflects increasing market and governmental expectations for improved integrity in social and environmental matters.

Leadership meaning- It is nothing- just responsibility to lead something. Leadership is a skill which involves motivating a group of individuals to work towards a common goal.

Here is the structure of clause 5 of IATF 16949:2016, heading and its explanation is given in article:-


According to ISO 9001, why is there a need to understand leadership in an organization?

In an organization, we need to guide a staff and colleagues with a strategy and a plan to meet this business need of company. Generally the responsibility of deciding company goal and vision come under top management, which could be one personal or group of person who direct or control the organization.  Here top management is leader. Top management is responsible to ensure QMS effectiveness in an organization. Also they are ensuring QMS is operating with business process and have achieved its intended result. QMS is integral part of business. No organization can meet its intended result (Growth, Success, Profit, etc) if QMS is not established. So it becomes important to take charge of establishing QMS and operating it with business process.

Before moving further let’s take a look on what is QMS

QMS-Quality management system is collection of business process, procedures and responsibilities focused on consistently meeting customer requirements and satisfaction.  Reference for QMS is given in ISO 9001:2015, specifies the requirements for a QMS that organizations can use to develop their own programs.

Elements and requirement of QMS in an organization is described in below picture. Most of Automobile manufacturing companies verify these QMS elements or requirements under their regular system audit program. Like in Suzuki they say VSA-Vendor system Audit.


QMS elements are as below, which need to maintain for QMS

  1. Quality objectives
  2. Quality Policy
  3. Organizational structure and responsibilities
  4. Data management  & Document Control
  5. Internal Processes
  6. Product quality leading to customer satisfaction
  7. Quality Improvement & Quality Analysis
  8. Quality instrument
  9. Employee training and engagement
  10. Supplier quality management

Here we have covered 3 major heading of clause 5:-

  1. Leadership and commitment
  2. Quality Policy
  3. Organization roles, responsibilities and authorities

5.1 Leadership and commitment

Now we have understood leadership, the definition and its need in an organization. Here what is meaning of commitment in the heading? Commitment is promise or responsibility. 

Let's see general requirements of ISO 9001:2015 :-

Top management shall demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to the quality management system by:

  1. Taking accountability for the effectiveness of the QMS
  2. Ensuring that the quality policy and quality objectives are established for the QMS and are compatible with the context and strategic direction of the organization
  3. Ensuring the integration of the QMS requirements into the organization’s business processes
  4. Promoting the use of the process approach and risk-based thinking;
  5. Ensuring that the resources needed for the QMS are available;
  6. Communicating the importance of effective quality management and of conforming to the QMS requirements
  7. Ensuring that the QMS achieves its intended results;
  8. Engaging, directing and supporting persons to contribute to the effectiveness of the QMS
  9. Promoting improvement
  10. Supporting other relevant management roles to demonstrate their leadership as it applies to their areas of responsibility

So company leaders has to take responsibility of QMS, Have to established quality policy and quality objectives, defining corporate responsibility and  assigning process owner along with their role and responsibility. Top management will be responsible for checking effectiveness of QMS within the organization. 


5.1.1 Corporate Responsibility

IATF 16949 includes the requirement for an anti-bribery policy, an employee code of conduct, and an ethics escalation policy (Whistle Blowing Policy) to address increasing market and governmental expectations for improved integrity in social and environmental matters in the automotive industry. This implies responsibility and empowerment at all levels and functions of the supplier/organization to follow an ethical approach.

5.1.2 Process effectiveness and efficiency

Top management shall review the product realization processes and support process to evaluate and improve their effectiveness and efficiency. The result of the process review activities shall be included as input to the management review.

5.1.3 Process owner 

Top management shall identify process owners who are responsible for managing the organization’s processes and related output. Process owner shall understand their roles and be competent to perform those roles.

To identify “process” owners whom competent and understand their roles in relation to the QMS. Top management now has greater involvement and responsibility in the management system and must ensure that the requirements of it are integrated into the organization’s processes and that the policy and objectives are compatible with the strategic direction of the organization.

The organization has to review their processes to ensure effectiveness and efficiency of QMS. For review organization must add result of process review into management review.

5.1.4 Customer focus 

Top management shall demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to customer focus by ensuring that:

  1. Customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements are determined, understood and consistently met;
  2. The risks and opportunities that can affect conformity of products and services and the ability to enhance customer satisfaction are determined and addressed;
  3. The focus on enhancing customer satisfaction is maintained.

Top management need to demonstrate consistent customer focus by showing how they meet customer requirements, regulatory and statutory requirements, and also how the organization maintains enhanced customer satisfaction.

5.2 Establishing the quality policy

Top management shall establish, implement and maintain a quality policy that:

  1. is appropriate to the purpose and context of the organization and supports its strategic direction;
  2. provides a framework for setting quality objectives;
  3. includes a commitment to satisfy applicable requirements;
  4. Includes a commitment to continual improvement of the quality management system.

5.2.1 Communicating the quality policy

The quality policy shall:

  1. Be available and be maintained as documented information;
  2. Be communicated, understood and applied within the organization;
  3. Be available to relevant interested parties, as appropriate

The quality policy should be a living document, at the heart of the organization. To ensure this, top management is accountable and has a responsibility to ensure the QMS is made available, communicated, maintained and understood by all parties. There is also a greater focus on top management to enhance customer satisfaction by identifying and addressing risks and opportunities that could affect it.

Top management shall assign personnel with the responsibilities and authorities to ensure that customer requirement are met.  These assignments shall be documented.

Top management needs to demonstrate an understanding of the key risks associated with each process and the approach taken to manage, reduce or transfer the risk. Finally, the clause places requirements on top management to assign QMS relevant responsibilities and authorities, but they must remain ultimately accountable for the effectiveness of the QMS.

5.2.3 Organizational roles, responsibilities and authorities

Top management shall assign the responsibility and authority for:

  1. Ensuring that the quality management system conforms to the requirements of this International Standard;
  2. Ensuring that the processes are delivering their intended outputs;
  3. Reporting on the performance of the quality management system and on opportunities for Improvement in particular to top management;
  4. Ensuring the promotion of customer focus throughout the organization;
  5. Ensuring that the integrity of the quality management system is maintained when changes to the quality management system are planned and implemented.

5.2.4 Responsibility and authority for product requirement and corrective action

Top management shall ensure that:-

  1. Personnel responsible for conformity to product requirement have authority to stop shipment and stop production to correct quality problem.
  2. Personnel with authority and responsibility for corrective action are promptly informed of product and process that do not conform the requirement to ensure that nonconforming product is not shipped to the customer and that all potential non conforming product is identified and contained.
  3. Production operations across all shifts are staffed with personnel in charge of, or delegated responsibility for, ensuring conforming to product requirement. 
This was all about Leadership article. You may also like following article related IATF clauses. 
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Clause 2 of IATF `16949

SCOPE of IATF 16949

IATF 16949 and ISO 9001:2015 relation

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