(UPDATE 10 March 2015: Sources close to the IATF have indicated that Joe Bransky has left the IATF. Oxebridge is confirming and will report on this shortly.)
It’s known that the North American plants where Takata’s deadly airbags were manufactured were not only at the center of the scandal, but were also ISO/TS 16949 certified by an as-yet unidentified certification body, accredited by the IATF. The same appears to be true for the third Inflation Systems Inc. plant in Mexico.
We’ve reached out to IATF spokesperson Joe Bransky, former head of GM North American quality, and have so far received no response. In fact, it appears neither Bransky nor any other IATF rep has come out on the scandal, which so far has resulted in the deaths of five people, the result of shrapnel exploding out of poorly designed airbag systems.
Every day the IATF doesn’t address the issue, name the registrar involved, and give a valid explanation as to how this happened on their watch, is another day that the ISO certification schemes descend further into disrepute. If Joe Bransky is willing to take credit for when things go right, he should step up and reveal — with honest clarity — what happened when things go horribly, horribly wrong. That’s leadership.
I say “honest clarity” because it is likely the IATF will fall back on the old canard that ISO certifications are based on “a sample” and not really indicative of a company’s ability to produce a quality product. “It’s not a product certification” they will say.
Of course, that doesn’t appear anywhere on the ISO certificates. Instead, it says “the quality management has been deemed in compliance with XYZ standard.” It doesn’t say “but only based on a tiny sample during the few days we were on site, and that doesn’t mean the company still won’t manufacture products that are likely to kill you.”
Those caveats are also nowhere to be found in the official IATF blurbs, boasting how “ISO/TS 16949 is a robust global automotive standard requiring process driven compliance to assure control of product and process…”
Bransky needs to instead come out loudly and clearly, as loudly and clearly as he’s been every time he takes a microphone for a keynote speech or public meeting, and explain this mess. Then he needs to tell us all what the IATF is doing to make sure it never happens again.
About Christopher Paris
Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 30 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001:2015. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.