Last year, too, it was seen that the quality of products, processes, and systems within the German automotive industry is of the highest level.

    Last year, too, it was seen that the quality of products, processes, and systems within the German automotive industry is of the highest level.

    Quality management at the VDA

    For the automotive industry, the quality of its products is a key factor for business success. Manufacturers and suppliers have continued to raise the quality of new automobiles in recent years— despite increased complexity, shorter development cycles, and greater model diversity. At the same time, warranty and guarantee periods have been extended to offer customers even greater reliability. In line with rising quality levels, quality management in the automotive industry also needs to be constantly developed. Quality requirements for processes, parts, and components must be met throughout the entire manufacturing and supply chain. In this context, the automotive industry is increasingly regarding quality not merely in terms of product quality, but rather as a central principle throughout the entire product creation process, from development to its use by the customer.

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    Quality Management Center of the VDA

    The VDA coordinates the entire quality management of the German automotive industry. For example, the VDA Quality Management Center (VDA QMC) develops new methods and techniques for quality management together with manufacturers and suppliers. The VDA QMC publishes all such jointly developed definitions, regulations, and requirements for quality management within the industry.

    At the highest administrative quality level, the VDA Quality Management Committee (QMA) defines and further develops the Association's quality standards. In the quality management working groups, experts from the member companies draw up the decisions in detail.

    As the administrative office, the QMC implements the decisions of the QMA. For example, the QMC publishes and markets the VDA QMC volumes in which standards are published. It also offers VDA QMC training courses as part of its own educational and further education programs. These courses train employees from the manufacturers and suppliers in the application of the QMC systems and standards. In addition to QMC's own training and further education, license partners also offer QM courses. The QMC is also a contractual partner and supervisory body of the certification societies. These societies inspect the quality management systems of companies within the global automotive industry according to special certification schemes of the QMC, and award certificates. As a rule, compliance with the processes and standards of the QMC is a prerequisite for becoming a supplier to a company in the German automotive industry.

    International activities

    In 2015, the international activities of the VDA QMC were further increased. The number of participants in QMC training courses rose by almost 30% in 2015 compared to the previous year. An increase of 10% was recorded in China, with only the Russian branch suffering a drop in participants (of 11%) due to the difficult economic situation. More than 16,000 participants attended VDA QMC training courses worldwide.

    In mid-2015, the company also succeeded in gaining new license partners for QMC training in South Korea. The Korean Foundation for Quality (KFQ) and the South Korean subsidiary of TÜV Süd are now training employees in the local automotive industry in the application of German quality standards.

    Regular assessments take place to ensure that the training provided by the license partners meets the QMC specifications. In addition, there are regular further training courses for trainers and once a year the large international licensee meeting is held, where innovations in quality standards are presented and discussed. This ensures that the high level of VDA QMC training is maintained worldwide.

    Automotive Quality Institute (AQI)

    In 2015, the VDA founded a new company in cooperation with the Technical University of Berlin to develop concepts for quality assurance in future technologies and innovations. The Automotive Quality Institute (AQI) can draw on a comprehensive network of experts in the automotive industry via the QMC and on scientific expertise via the cooperation with the TU Berlin. The AQI deals with issues of modern quality assurance in the following areas: Connected and automated driving, new technology materials, Industry 4.0 and Big Data.

    In the case of connected and automated driving, for example, AQI will look at whether known quality assurance methods can be applied to these new technologies or whether they need to be developed from scratch. In this context, IT security in particular is gaining a completely new significance. In addition, quality issues will be addressed that arise with such new materials as fiber composites or natural materials in large-scale production. Other areas of focus in the fields of Industry 4.0 and Big Data include the use of artificial intelligence for large amounts of data and the networking of industrial processes.