Mitigating Liability Risk Through Quality Design, Manufacturing and Customer Communication

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Course Overview: 

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. Car-makers and their suppliers are the subject of media and regulatory scrutiny like never before, and the trail of recalls, regulatory investigation sand 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, the SMMT QMD has teamed up with product liability expert sat 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.

The Product Liability Programme consists of the following modules:

  1. Introduction to IATF Standards and Product Liability
  2. Mitigating Liability risk through quality design, manufacturing and customer communications
  3. Preparing for and responding to product safety crises

This session, building on the principles discussed in Module A, and focuses on the vital role which design and manufacturing processes play in managing product liability risk. This interactive session will draw on the combined expertise of Industry Forum and the product liability team of global law firm Eversheds Sutherland

Who Should Attend: 

This module is aimed at quality professionals and senior design and production staff.

Benefits and Learning Objectives: 

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • See why an effective focus on quality in design, manufacturing and customer communication can dramatically improve the ability of your business to avoid product safety crises and mitigate their impact when they do occur
  • Prioritise the key areas where improved practices can make the biggest difference to the outcome of litigation
  • Understand the challenges and opportunities which new technologies are bringing for automotive business seeking to manage product liability risks

Topics Covered: 

  • 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. 


Upon completion of the course you will receive a SMMT Quality Management (QMD) certificate of attendance.

Why Choose SMMT QMD

In order to strengthen the services we provide to the UK’s automotive quality management specialists and further underpin the competitiveness of UK manufacturers, SMMT Industry Forum has created SMMT QMD, its new Quality Management Division.

SMMT QMD was launched at the inaugural Automotive Quality Management Systems Conference in Birmingham in November 2018 and aims to ensure that the UK automotive industry plays an active role in the development and governance of national and international automotive standards. 

SMMT QMD will provide a community of practice to directly support UK quality professionals, ensuring standards are effectively implemented and improving competitive performance. As such, SMMT QMD will now provide the following services:

  • An industry association for quality managers
  • Training, professional development and resources
  • Publications
  • Practical help and support

Course Booking Details: 

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Further information

SMMT QMD is the Automotive Quality Management Division of SMMT Industry Forum.

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