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ISO Quality Certification for Aerospace Industry

Narendra Kumar

| Updated: Sep 06, 2018 | Category: ISO Registration

ISO AS9100

ISO AS9100

As the name suggests the ISO AS9100 is a quality management system that is exclusively meant for the aerospace industry that comprises of the aviation, space and defense organizations. The standard was introduced in 1999. Since the ISO AS9001 was a generic quality management system that did not quite address the specific requirements of the aerospace industry, the need was felt to come up with standards that would cater exclusively to this industry.

Hence the AS9000 standard was introduced based on ISO 9001:1994 in 1997. However, even if it was good to deal with immediate needs, the need for a global standard was felt and the AS9100 was introduced by the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) which was also based on ISO 9001:1994. It then became mandatory for all aerospace manufacturers and suppliers globally to comply and/or register to AS9100 to work in the industry.

The AS9100 was published individually by each country’s aerospace association or standards body with own numbering conventions.

ISO 9001 and AS9001

Since the ISO 9001 was generic in nature and did not supplement the specific quality system model for the aerospace industry the AS9001 was introduced as the Quality System Aerospace Model that could be applied to all areas of aviation in design, manufacture, airline operations, accessory supply, spare parts supply and maintenance. The model was based upon ISO 9001and additional quality related requirements were incorporated for the aviation industry. There were 55 industry specific requirements that were added to ISO 9001:1994.

The specific additions have been made to cater to the aerospace industry are as follows:-

  1. Planning for product realization that includes project management, risk management, configuration management and better control of work transfer between the suppliers and the work site.
  2. Design and development including testing and documentation of design verification and validation.
  3. Purchasing and purchased product detailing and additional information.
  4. Non-conforming process
  5. Product monitoring and measurement

AS9100 Revisions

The AS9100 was revised in 2000 for the first time to coincide with the ISO 9001 revision. The second revision was launched in 2004 while the third revision of AS9100 was done in 2009 which primarily targeted at making the controls of the quality management system more effective and time-bound.

The latest revision of the AS9100 happened in the year 2016 and it is has been based on ISO 9001:2015. The difference between the latest version and its preceding ones are:-

  1. Product safety has been included as a new clause
  2. Counterfeit Parts Prevention clause added
  3. Risk clause merged with ISO 9001:2015 risk requirements
  4. Awareness clause added
  5. Addition of human factors in nonconformity management and taking corrective action
  6. To address requirements of stakeholders, the configuration management clause has been explicitly cleared and improvised.

Companies that are already aligned with the previous edition of AS9100 need to upgrade to the latest version by 15th September 2018 coinciding with the implementation of the new ISO 9001:2015.

Objectives of AS9100

  1. The first aim is to standardize various aspects of the aerospace industry and provide finest quality product and services at a global level
  2. Improvise quality of products and services and simultaneously help reduce costs
  3. Compliance with regulatory requirements

Benefits of AS91000 Certification

  1. Manufacturers and suppliers that are AS91000 compliant have competitive edge over others in the industry in gaining new business
  2. Reduction in risk associated with product or service failures and mistakes
  3. Helps companies to sustain and gain market share in the industry at national and international levels.
  4. Customers trust their suppliers that have the AS9100 certification as it is a proof of being able to provide safe products and services. Hence they become preferred suppliers.
  5. A certified supplier can seek registration in the industry approved global online aerospace supplier information system.

Registration and up Gradation Process

All suppliers and manufactures of products and services meant for the aviation, space or defense industry aim at being AS9100 certified. Though the process can be complex and professional guidance is advised, the following steps need to be undertaken by the interested organization to obtain the certification.

Step No. 1: start with the leadership team that is the top management of the company. Finally it is the senior management that needs to be accountable and responsible for having an appropriate quality management system in the company.

Step 2: it is important here to assign resources, budget and finalize the implementation plan

Step 3: in this step the organizational context needs to be identified as well as understanding who the parties are (External and internal) that are interested in the QMS of the organization and how their needs apply to the organization.

Step 4: defining the scope and objective of the QMS and needs to be properly documented

Step 5: align the required processes and procedures that are mentioned in AS91000 revision with the processes and procedures of the intended QMS- identify them and their interdependency. It needs to be documented in details so that the each process has its own intent. The other essential thing that needs to be considered documenting is the records to prove that the process was done as per requirement.

Step 6: implementation of the defined processes, procedures and controls. All internal stakeholders need to be communicated on the proposed QMS – its objectives and implementation plan.

Step 7: training of employees is an essential part of the program. Everyone needs to know about the QMS. Training records to be maintained properly as evidence that all employees have been involved in the new QMS.

Step No. 8: find a creditable external auditor or certification body. This body is responsible for auditing the present QMS against the AS91000 revision requirements.Once the processes, procedures and controls are perfectly in place vis-à-vis AS91000 the auditor would issue the certificate. This is a crucial step where the organization needs to select the right certification body. It is essential that the body has auditors who have relevant training and experience in the industry as well as the type of product that the organization deals in.

Step No. 9 –the processes and procedures need to be repeated on a continual basis as it is essential to maintain records for the practices for a period of time. There could also be areas of improvement and the same can be documented too.

Step No. 10: conducting internal audits before the external audit actually happens. The purpose of this audit is to identify root causes of problems and take corrective actions to eliminate them forever.

Step No. 11: once the internal audit report is satisfactory, the top management needs to review the QMS to understand if it is working efficiently and effectively, as it was meant to be.

Step No. 12: the certification body would review the QMS documents and data and see if they meet the requirements as prescribed in ISO AS91000. Any non conformance found would require corrective action.

Step No. 13:the stage 2 certification audit that is done by the certification body where each and every process and procedure is looked into details, records are checked to make sure if the processes are meeting the intended outcomes. When everything is in order, the body issues the certification.

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Narendra Kumar

Experienced Finance and Legal Professional with 12+ Years of Experience in Legal, Finance, Fintech, Blockchain, and Revenue Management.

Business Plan Consultant


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