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How to Prepare for a VDA Audit With Checklist

A VDA audit evaluates your supply chain processes so that you can become a supplier to German automakers. Develop action plans for solving problems on time, so that you can improve and optimize your manufacturing processes. Learn more about the benefits of the VDA audit checklist.

What Is a VDA Audit Checklist?

A VDA audit is a comprehensive process audit tool established by the Quality Management Centre of the Association of Automotive Industry (VDA-QMC) and the German automotive industry. It is intended for organizations that provide automotive products or services. Passing the audit enables you to cater to German automakers.

Whether your business is big or small: A VDA audit checklist can be used by any organization in the automotive industry. It is an audit tool that you can take advantage of if your company is involved in the research and development of functional systems and products or the manufacture of products or services in the automotive industry.

A VDA audit is an audit tool that can effectively detect significant problems or abnormalities and what caused them. This audit tool helps you develop action plans for solving the problem on time. In other words, a VDA audit allows you to improve and optimize your manufacturing processes and make your organization more efficient and successful.

In this article, the following points are explained:

1. The benefits of VDA certification

2. The meaning of VDA 6.3

3. The Seven Phases of the VDA Process Audit

4. A powerful tool for easier auditing

Auditor during a VDA audit with production managers

What is the benefit of VDA certification?

In the present day’s competitive environment, you need to put your ideas into action right away. The time between product development and mass production phase has become shorter. It is necessary more than ever to adhere to the standard. The German automobile industry has made VDA certification mandatory for their Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers.

A VDA audit certification gives you prestige and international recognition in the automobile industry. It promotes consistency and ensures quality in the production and supply of parts for automobiles. It also helps you reduce your costs and mitigate risks in your production and transport process. And of course, it can serve as a great marketing tool when selling your products to the German automotive industry.

If you are a business involved in the manufacturing of parts for the automobile industry, you must have an Automotive Quality Management System (AQMS) for VDA 6.3 certification. Apart from being a statutory and regulatory requirement, a VDA certification also makes your customer confident.

VDA 6.3 Meaning: What Is a VDA 6.3 Process Audit

VDA 6.3 is the part of the VDA documents that focuses on the production process. In contrast, VDA 6.1 is a system audit while VDA 6.5 is a product audit.

VDA 6.1 focuses on the verification of the overall effectiveness of the organization’s management system. VDA 6.5 ensures that the product is compliant with the defined specifications throughout the manufacturing and dispatch processes.

VDA 6.3 makes sure that your organization’s product realisation processes are effective. It is an extension of ISO 9001:2015, which is an international standard for Quality Management Systems and ensures customer satisfaction and organizational efficiency.

It is governed by the Deming Loop: Plan-Do-Check-Act, which is also called the Deming wheel or the Deming cycle. It is an iterative method that facilitates the continuous improvement of processes. It is an important element in lean management.

The PDCA model is a powerful tool that you can use for evaluating multiple solutions and avoiding waste in your production process by identifying ineffective solutions before mass production. It is necessary when implementing Six Sigma or Total Quality Management (TQM) initiatives.

Some of the requirements to pass the VDA 6.3 audit are:

  • Assessment of product suitability according to Formula Q-capability/Q-capability software.
  • IATF 16949: 2016 or VDA 6.1
  • Internal Audits according to IATF 16949:2016 Formula Q-capability or KVP Continual Improvement Process.
  • Self-assessment at least once annually according to Q-capability with documentation.

Certification centers will perform the VDA 6.3 audit in 2 different stages. During the first stage, they will evaluate your organization’s documentation system and the basic VDA 6.3 requirements. The certification body will return for a final audit where all requirements are thoroughly evaluated. You must be able to show documentary evidence to demonstrate compliance.

If the certification body is satisfied with their evaluation, they will write their recommendation and submit it to accrediting agencies that will issue your VDA 6.3 certification.

A car in the production process

The Seven Phases of the VDA Process Audit

Anyone who wants to carry out a process audit in accordance with VDA 6.3 in their company should implement all seven process elements so that no influencing elements are overlooked:

Phase 1: Potential Analysis. This is used in the evaluation of new suppliers. However, it is also used when evaluating the new location of an already existing supplier or when new technologies or new products are introduced.

Phase 2: Project Management. Project management makes it possible for product development to happen quickly and with little to no issues. To pass a VDA audit, you must have a sound project management system in place that will allow you to align all areas of work from product design to purchasing and manufacturing.

Phase 3: Planning of Product and Process Development. This includes the steps necessary when taking your product from ideation to market availability. Your organization must have an efficient process for refining your product. The product planning and development process have five stages, idea stage, concept stage, product development stage, test marketing stage, and commercialization.

Phase 4: Carrying Out Product & Process Development. To pass the VDA 6.3 audit, your organization must have qualified employees and available material resources to carry out the product development process. This phase also will include performance tests and inspection specifications.

Phase 5 Supplier Management. The minimum requirements for phase 5 include defined and documented criteria for selecting suppliers. You must also have a contingency strategy or measures in place for identifying risks in the supply chain. Other requirements in this phase are quality assurance agreements (QAA) and legal and regulatory requirements.

Phase 6: Process Analysis Production. This phase ensures that you have taken the necessary measures for a safe and secure start of production. The correct product quality and quantity must be provided. It must come in the correct packaging at the agreed time and place. Therefore, in this phase, you must have proper inventory control and sufficient transport facilities.

Phase 7: Customer Care or Customer Service. The final phase is about quality agreements with the customer. You must make sure that your customers can reach you in case of problems with the product or if there are complaints about the transport process.

A Powerful Tool for Easier Auditing

Digital technology helps suppliers and automotive manufacturers continuously improve their production processes, avoid errors and reduce waste. The use of digital checklists in VDA auditing facilitates the inspection process by making it easier to collect data, share information directly and evaluate results immediately.

Lumiform is a powerful mobile app for audits and inspections. Thanks to the digital checklists provided for the VDA audit, auditors can record all checks on-site via a mobile device and store them securely in the cloud. The time-consuming process of filling out and evaluating paper lists is wholly eliminated with Lumiform. With the digital audit tool, auditors can achieve the following during their VDA audits:

  • Get started digitally right away by using one of our templates from Lumiform’s library.
  • Adapt the downloaded template to your company’s specifications in a few steps using the drag-and-drop form builder, or create a custom template from scratch.
  • Using the super intuitive mobile app, you and your teammates conduct VDA audits on-site with ease and in less time
  • All audit results, images and comments are automatically bundled in a digital report whose data you can provide for VDA certification.
  • Comprehensive analyses help you to identify inefficient areas in your production process more quickly and thus to continuously improve your auditing and inspection processes.

An auditor after a VDA audit in front of a newly produced car

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