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How To Find The Right Automotive ISO Consultant

A car, mid-production, in a hangar with two technicians working on it.

In today’s growing automotive industry, automotive consultants have a larger role to play than ever, when you consider that the technological advances have been proceeding at such a pace that it simply isn’t possible for most companies to keep pace with all of the changes that are happening. 

In that situation, they need to take on an automotive ISO consultant who can advise them on which are the best of the new methods that they can apply to their organization’s workflow, as well as which of the latest techniques are perhaps not ideal for their company’s needs.

The automotive industry is a huge, sprawling corporate landscape, with plenty of pitfalls and technical details at every corner, which essentially makes running any automotive industry firm an exercise in attention to detail. 

Keeping that in mind, the requirements as laid out in documents such as ISO 9001 and  IATF 16949 must be adhered to, but often can present too much of a time drain for most companies to be able to feasibly devote labour, time, and capital. However, it’s also not an option for organizations to operate without a thorough understanding of these documents, and that’s where automotive ISO consultants come in.

Why Automotive Consultants Are A Good Option

By outsourcing the comprehension and application of the procedures defined in these documents, companies can save themselves a major headache which they otherwise wouldn’t have a good way to account for. 

In addition, comprehensive automotive ISO consultants will offer a wide range of different services, each of which are targeted at a different aspect of the company’s ability to function in the automotive industry. Examples of some of these services include APQP Training, MSA consulting, IATF 16949 training, and SPC consulting, to mention but a few. Seen through the appropriate lens, it becomes clear that automotive ISO consultant services offer a package most companies simply can’t do without. 

But there’s a catch. In today’s world, dozens of options abound when it comes to trying to pick a firm who offers automotive consultancy services. A simple google search will turn up pages’ worth of results, with every single company claiming that their services are the best around. How, then, is an organization supposed to make an educated decision as to which firm is the best for them? Are there set guidelines by which a business could differentiate between automotive consultants who are worth their time and money, and those who are not?

Fortunately, there are. In the following article, we’ll be discussing exactly what you need to keep in mind when you’re considering which automotive ISO consultants to take on board your organization. 

While the ultimate choice is still going to rely heavily on what exactly your company needs—and nobody understands your organization’s particular needs and wants so well as you do—there are some general rules which can be a good way to sort through the overwhelming amount of automotive consulting services out there, and we’ll talk briefly about some of the practices which a) offer the best return on time, and b) can be said to be the best way of representing any given automotive ISO consulting firm’s value to your company. 

Of course, the list isn’t exhaustive and isn’t intended to be. Any list of features that claim to describe everything you need to know about picking through automotive consulting services isn’t telling you the whole story. While there are some methods which can be broadly applied, there are other, more precise details which are simply too numerous to mention. The purpose of this list, therefore, isn’t to give you absolutely everything you need to know. That’s an impossible task, since only you know which services are the most important for your organization. 

Rather, the idea is that by the end of this article you’ll have a firm grasp on the most important points, and from there can continue to carry out your own research with a more finely-tuned sense of what your organization might benefit best from. The point is to whittle down the colossal amount of choice in accordance with the most important aspects of any given automotive ISO consultant service so that you don’t need to spend any more of your time on the topic than you absolutely have to.

With that in mind, let’s get into the list. Here’s how to find the right automotive ISO consultant for your organization.

Top Three Ways To Decide On The Right Automotive ISO Consultants

1: In-Depth Familiarity With The Relevant Documents

A collection of documents organized on a shelf.

The single most important factor to take into consideration when you go about trying to come up with the best automotive ISO consultant for your business is how well they know the required documentation. There are two documents which stand out in their importance, and these are the ISO 9001 and the IATF 16949 Standards. The International Organization for Standardization, more commonly known as ISO, is the governing body that lays out the foundation for the industry standards for any given automotive practice. At the ISO Edge, we’re intimately familiar with these two documents, which puts us in the perfect position to help your company out.

By updating the standard as to what is and what isn’t best practice, these QMS documents can essentially be seen as a yardstick by which it’s possible to measure how well your company is performing in relation to both its competitors and to the field as a whole.

A thorough understanding of the relevant Standards (such as IATF, ISO 9000, ISO 9001, ISO 9004, and ISO 19011) should be the cornerstone of any decent automotive consulting practice. Indeed, if they don’t spend time on their website discussing these documents, it’s likely that they’re not as proud of their knowledge as they should be, and that could throw up a potential problem for your organization in the future, as it attempts to build towards a more sustainable business model. 

The core feature of any automotive ISO consulting firm is the ability to take the time your company can’t afford to ensure conformance with the Standards That’s why you’re going to hire them in the first place—because they know the documents better than anybody, and because you just can’t spare the manpower in your own organization to get familiar with the field. 

2: An Emphasis On Sustainability And Robustness

A wind farm.

Any new business processes that you design with the help of an automotive ISO consultant is going to need to tick two major boxes: sustainability and robustness. Sustainability is crucial because as the technological boom continues to pick up speed, resources are going to grow increasingly scarce. 

As an illustrative example, imagine that you are a manufacturing company that has hired a firm to help you design some new equipment which you’ll be able to use in 100 years’ time. If that firm came up with a model that made exclusive use of the fossil fuels we know for a fact won’t be around for too much longer, you’d feel a little hard done by, wouldn’t you? After all, that’s not what you paid them for. 

It’s the same with automotive ISO consultants. Any comprehensive strategy must take account of the fact that in fifty years’ time, the industrial landscape is going to look radically different than it does now. Sustainability simply must be at the core of the firm’s ethos if they’re going to be able to help you in a long-term, meaningful way. And that point brings us on to the other key principle any consulting firm worth its salt must take account of: robustness.

A robust system isn’t one that can respond to pre-identified problems. That’s just a regular system, and while it’s crucial to have, it’s hardly going to be a make or break proposition. A robust process must retain enough flexibility and versatility with regards to the operating margins within which it operates so that it can stand up to challenges which nobody can foresee. That’s what we mean by the term robust in the context of the automotive industry. 

A good analogy to highlight the point is the fact that skyscrapers are built to sway a little in high winds. A large part of their design was intended in order to allow the whole system—in this case, the skyscraper—to essentially move around within the confines of its design in order to accommodate added stress. Similarly, the systems and processes an automotive ISO consultant firm helps you design must be able to account for changes and stresses without collapsing completely. 

3: A Wide Range Of Services On Offer

There are a huge amount of ways an automotive ISO consultant group can help your organization out. From SPC consulting to FMEA training, each area of expertise can offer support for your business in a different way, which is why it’s vital to ensure that the firm you end up choosing is going to be able to provide a wide enough range of services to account for any needs your organization may find itself faced with. 

While the services themselves typically only come in two forms (consulting and training), each of the different methods can help your group to achieve different goals, and they all make use of the most cutting-edge advancements in statistical and mathematical science to refine your existing processes and help to create new ones, which should be safeguarded against all eventualities they might be faced with in the future. 

If an automotive ISO consultant firm doesn’t offer a wide range of services, and in fact only offers one or two ways they can help you out, the odds are that that company isn’t going to be enough to account for all the needs your organization may be faced with throughout the duration of your contract with them. It’s crucial to make sure that you’ll be able to access a certain service in the future even if you don’t need it at the moment. 

The main areas to look out for are IATF 16949 training or consulting (as the IATF 16949 Standard is one of the most important regulatory documents for the automotive industry), management-focused protocol training (such as SPC or APQP consulting), and industry-specific problem-solving measures, like those provided by FMEA consulting services. 

If you’ve come across a firm you like, but they only account for one of the above broad categories of automotive ISO consulting, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll be faced with a problem in the future that firm won’t be able to cope with, and as a result you’d be better off going for a different choice. 

Conclusion

There you have it: the top three criteria you should be looking at as you go about sorting through the extensive list of automotive ISO consultants in order to find the best match for your organization. 

Each of these categories is crucial if you’re going to find a firm that can provide your company with the help it needs, both now and in the future, and if you’ve found a firm that completely ignores one of the areas, it’s probably best to avoid it and continue the search elsewhere.

If you’re in the market for a comprehensive automotive ISO consultant group, have you considered checking out some of the services offered by The ISO Edge? We have systems in place to help you out with all of the major areas, as well as a long list of satisfied clients who can testify as to the help we’ve been able to provide them. You can find out more about our company here, and this link will take you to a high-level overview of the services we provide so you can see just how much we’ll be able to help out your company with any challenges you may be faced with in the future.