Difference Between CR (Customer Requirements) and CSR (Customer Specific Requirements)

“It’s not the customer’s job to know what they want.” – Steve Jobs


People do have a difference of opinion and it is possible & logical. But when people have negativity about the other person, then it is not fruitful and healthy. Difference of opinion means that two individuals have their perspective about a particular subject like affiliation to a particular political party. While negativity between two individuals creates an unhealthy atmosphere and discord between them.   

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In the automotive sector, it is important to understand both Customer Requirements (CR) & Customer Specific Requirements (CSR). The customer-specific requirement is part of the customer requirement. Apart from the requirements specified by the IATF standard, there are additional requirements related to the product and management system.

Once you read this blog, you will understand, what is CR, what is CSR, the difference between CR and CSR, and how to effectively implement it in the organization.

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Customer Requirements (Cl 3.1): All requirements specified by the customer (e.g., technical, commercial, product and manufacturing process-related requirements, general terms and conditions, customer-specific requirements, etc.)

Customer Specific Requirements (Cl 3.1): Interpretations of or supplemental requirements linked to a specific clause(s) of this Automotive QMS Standard

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Detailed Information

What is CR (Customer Requirements)?

According to the International Automotive Oversight Bureau (IAOB), customer requirements refer to those that focus on or are specific to the purchase order or product, whether or not related to the IATF 16949 standard, and that is only specific to a customer.

Every customer has their expectation which they want to be fulfilled by their supplier. Many of the requirements are documented and some are implicit (expected) requirements. It could be in the form of

  • Drawing
  • Purchase Order
  • Standards (National & International)
  • Technical Specifications
  • Samples
  • Packing guidelines
  • Transportation guidelines
  • Competency in specific manufacturing or testing process

It is important for any organization to follow the above requirements to survive in the business.

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What is CSR (Customer Specific Requirements)

Customer-Specific Requirements are those that come from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) as a way to supplement the IATF 16949 standard or any requirement or clause stated therein. Hence, customer-specific requirements are a part of customer requirements in general.

Apart from the CR, many customers have requirements related to Management Systems. It is generally in the form of a Supplier Manual. Earlier only OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) like General Motors, Ford, VW, Stallantis, Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Hero MotoCorp, M&M, TVS etc. had their CSR in the form of supplier manual. But, now apart from OEMs, all the major Tier 1 (suppliers to OEMs) also have their CSR like Delphi, Bosch, Autoliv, Denso, Cummins, Motherson, Valeo, and Visteon.

Presently IATF has 10 subscribing OEMs whose CSR is to be implemented mandatorily. For easy understanding & effective implementation, many of the CSR are aligned as per clauses of IATF 16949 Standard.

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Difference Between CR and CSR

There are certain dissimilarities and similarities between customer requirements and customer-specific requirements. Some of the key differences are as follows.


S.No. CR (Customer Requirements) CSR (Customer-Specific Requirements)
1 It is about the ‘Product’ It is about the ‘Management System’
2 Every company has its CR in form of drawings, technical specifications etc. Apart from OEMs, many companies especially tier 1 and 2 do not have specific CSR
3 Customer Requirement is a mandatory requirement Customer Specific Requirement is applicable only where it is available
4 Example of Customer Requirements includes drawing, technical specification, limit samples, product specifications etc. Example of Customer Specific Requirements includes formats, record retention, frequency of management review, qualification of internal auditor, layered process audit, Special characteristics, and core tools like APQP, PPAP, MSA, SPC, FMEA etc.
5 Customer Requirement includes the requirement for CSR Customer Specific Requirement is part of Customer Requirement
6 Customer Requirements are related to the product Customer Specific Requirements are related to a specific clause of IATF 16949

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ISO 9001: 2015

ISO 9002: 2016

ISO 9004: 2018

IATF 16949: 2016

Industry Experts

This is the 182nd article of this Quality Management series. Every weekend, you will find useful information that will make your Management System journey Productive. Please share it with your colleagues too.

In the words of Albert Einstein, “The important thing is never to stop questioning.” I invite you to ask anything about the above subject. Questions and answers are the lifeblood of learning, and we are all learning. I will answer all questions to the best of my ability and promise to keep personal information confidential.

Your genuine feedback and response are extremely valuable. Please suggest topics for the coming weeks.

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