Product safety is an increasingly high priority for the automotive supply chain, and rightly so: recent years have seen a string of global product safety crises in the industry. Carmakers and their suppliers are the subject of media and regulatory scrutiny like never before, and the trail of recalls, regulatory investigations and litigation speaks for itself: despite significant advancements in quality management standards and techniques, automotive businesses continue to stumble into crises as a result of design and manufacturing errors, poor communication/document management or inadequate crisis planning.

As part of its ongoing work to position the UK automotive sector as a leader in product safety and quality management, Industry Forum has teamed up with product liability experts at leading global law firm Eversheds Sutherland to provide a series of sessions helping UK automotive businesses to understand their legal responsibilities and liabilities and to improve their systems so as to minimise the risk of product safety crises and respond better when they occur.

Introduction to IATF Standards and Product Liability

An interactive one day session aimed senior management and lead engineering/quality staff, explaining the rationale and purpose of IATF 16949:2016. The session will demonstrate using practical examples and real life scenarios that by compliance the letter and spirit of the IATF framework, businesses in the automotive sector can help to reduce the risk of product safety incidents and limit their exposure.

Preparing for and Responding to Product Safety Crises

How well prepared is your business for a product safety crisis? Who will make the decisions? How will you get to the bottom of the issue? Can you be confident that action can be taken quickly and decisively to protect public safety? How will you protect the business against the threat of claims, investigations and adverse publicity?  This session, aimed at senior decision makers responsible for handling product safety issues, will examine best (and worst) practice in planning for and responding to product safety crises. Learning lessons from real-life examples and using interactive scenarios. 

Mitigating Liability Risk Through Quality Design, Manufacturing and Customer Communication

This session, building on the principles discussed in Introduction to IATF Standards and Product Liability, focuses on the vital role which design and manufacturing processes play in managing product liability risk. Aimed at quality professionals and senior design and production staff, the interactive session will draw on the combined expertise of Industry Forum and the product liability team of global law firm Eversheds Sutherland to cover:

  • A ‘post mortem’ of historic automotive product safety crises: what went wrong, and lessons to learn for design and manufacturing future automotive products.
  • The role played by failure mode identification techniques such as FMEA/Functional Safety in identifying and addressing design and production risks before they arise. Ways to improve risk identification and analysis and the importance of documenting the process. New challenges arising from increasing product complexity.
  • The relevance of industry standards (including IATF), UNECE and other regulatory frameworks and their impact on potential liabilities. Principles applicable where technology is outpacing regulation.
  • New technologies and the development risks defence: to what extent does the law expect you to anticipate the impact of new materials/design/technology on product safety? How can you manage this risk?
  • Managing supplier quality: contractual arrangements, the importance of audit/quality monitoring of component suppliers and managing communications with the supply chain.
  • The importance of adequate warnings and instructions for use.
  • Field data monitoring: why it matters, the legal responsibilities on OEMs and suppliers and practical guidance.
  • The importance of effective traceability systems in limiting and focussing corrective actions: identifying and prioritising high risk components, and practical tips and pitfalls.

Find out more about these courses here: