What is AS9100?
In the aerospace industry, a small error in the supply chain can have catastrophic consequences. AS9100 was developed to manage the extensive global supply chain of aerospace manufacturers and to ensure that each is implementing an effective quality management system. AS9100 is based on the framework of ISO 9001 and follows the same high-level structure. A company conforming to the requirements of AS9100 also meets the requirements of ISO 9001.
AS9100 certification provides third party validation of the processes an organization has put in place to manage the quality of the product/service they deliver. It can also provide confidence to customers that the organization adheres to the highest standards of quality and safety.
Is AS9100 certification mandatory?
AS9100 and ISO 9001 allow organizations to self-declare conformance. However, if you are looking to do business in the aerospace industry AS9100 certification is practically mandatory.
AS9100 and ISO 9001 allow organizations to self-declare conformance. However, if you are looking to do business in the aerospace industry AS9100 certification is practically mandatory. For a company to be listed on the OASIS supplier database, it will need to have AS9100 certification. Companies not registered with the OASIS supplier database will have trouble doing any business in the aerospace sector.
Is it worth it?
AS9100 certification comes at a cost, of course. There are recurring costs as recertification occurs every 3 years and there are annual surveillance audits conducted in the intermediate years. Developing and maintaining the system will require resources including training time and time spent on improving processes.
In addition to being listed with OASIS, meeting the requirements of ISO 9001 and AS9100 provides other benefits. One of these is the creation of feedback loops for communicating and implementing opportunities for improvement. Another is that it ensures non-conformities are addressed and that effective corrective action is taken. In addition, it ensures that management remains more involved in the system and that quality is integral to the management system.
What about audits?
While AS9100 certification may reduce the possibility or frequency of a supplier audit, it does not imply that an organization will not get audited. Supplier audits look at an organization’s compliance to supplier requirements as well as the AS9100 standard. Certification to AS9100 also does not reduce the internal checks required by the company. AS9100 certification audits will not go to the same depths that internal audits can, which is why internal audits are vital to the success of the system.
An organization looking to do business in the aerospace industry will need to consider AS9100 certification when implementing a system. Care must be taken in the system implementation not to use a one size fits all template and to make the effort to build a strong management system that will deliver benefits beyond just the certificate on the wall.