Author: Carlo Boettger, engineer and Head of VDA 6.3 Working Group (Volkswagen AG)
During the revision of the VDA 6.3 process standard, our main aim was to take into account the increasing influence of internationalization, but we also paid attention to ensuring that process audits become more practice-oriented and applicable in practice. Hence, I would like to introduce the aspects which have changed for auditors in the new VDA 6.3 auditing standard.
Simplified evaluation system
In future, it will be possible to use the new, updated process audit even more effectively. As part of the VDA 6.3 working group, 18 companies in the automotive industry and scientists from the faculty of Quality Strategy at the Technical University of Berlin have ensured that all questions are now given the same weighting in the overall result. This reduces complexity — for the auditor as well. However, the familiar A/B/C classification system as well as the classification rules have been retained. The evaluation using the "generic approach" is no longer used.
Although the results of the VDA 6.3 process audit from 2010 are not directly comparable with the results in the latest version, we are convinced that the simplified system coupled with an updated question catalog will make it significantly easier for VDA 6.3 auditors and new auditors to learn to use as well as increase its applicability in the real world.
New requirements for auditors
The quality of the results of an audit depend greatly on the qualifications of the auditor. Hence, when revising the requirements, it was particularly important for us to distinguish between the various requirements for internal company auditors, supplier auditors, as well as auditors who work as service providers. This has led to a more precise description of requirements regarding specialist expertise, relevant work experience, and auditor qualifications. Furthermore, a process for approving auditors and for continuously developing their competence is also required.
Naturally, the training concepts were also revised and adapted. For 2nd-party auditors, a training course by the VDA (or a licensee) including a test is now mandatory. Auditors who work as service providers prove their qualifications with the use of an auditor card which is issued to them upon passing the exam.
We expect that this will further increase the recognition of the audits, as auditors around the globe will be trained according to the same program, and therefore conduct audits according to the same uniform standards. This is particularly important when, for example, clients intend to use the audit results for deciding which supplier they wish to award a contract to. The comparability of audit results and hence the fairness of the audit procedure need to be ensured.
You want to get more information? Please read the article from our expert Carlo Boettger, Head of VDA 6.3 Working Group (Volkswagen AG): "VDA 6.3 auditing standard: An established process audit with a high degree of global relevance on the topic."