AS9100: Exploring Aerospace’s Quality Management System

By September 18, 2020blog
AS9100: Exploring Aerospace’s Quality Management System

The term ‘quality’ can mean different things to different people. But in the aerospace industry, where there’s truly no room for error, quality can only exist in objective terms.

For our purposes, quality is defined as specific standards and parameters that ensure the integrity of a product and the reputation of a certified company that should instill confidence in buyers throughout the supply chain. Or, put simply, quality is the byproduct of paperwork and inspection. 

Because of the sensitive and critical nature of the industry, quality compliance standards like AS9100 are not an option for companies to achieve nor for buyers to demand. Here’s a closer look at the AS9100 system of quality management and how it applies in the aerospace industry.

What is AS9100?

Designed specifically for the aerospace industry, AS9100 remains a non-negotiable commitment. In fact, some of the largest industry players like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, NASA, and the U.S. Department Defense requires its suppliers to maintain AS9100 certification. 

At first glance, AS9100 looks and functions much like ISO 9001. Both quality management systems share characteristics concerning leadership, continuous improvement, employee development, processes, and customer focus. There are also a few standards that are specific to the aerospace industry, which are the main differentiators between the two systems.

Most notably, a First Article Inspection, sometimes called an FAI, is a core piece of AS9100. The FAI is a thorough verification of an inspected item to ensure it complies with all requirements outlined in the engineering drawings, purchase order, and specifications, as well as any other applicable requirements. To complete the FAI, companies must supply the FAI form, annotated drawing, and any other supporting documents. 

Such a detailed approach not only satisfies AS9100 requirements for improved traceability but also gives producers ample opportunity to identify any flaws or inconsistencies prior to sending the product to market.

The Benefits of AS9100 Certification – For Organizations and Buyers

The impact of AS9100 certification is a two-way street. Organizations can expect a proven, tested system that gives them a quality framework specific to the industry. They’re held to high standards to maintain their certification, and must also re-certify every three years to ensure they adhere to any new additions or amendments to AS9100.

Buyers can expect to benefit, too. Because of the focus on continuous improvement and a customer-focused approach, quality tends to be higher with AS9100-certified companies compared to those with no certification. What’s more, part of their quality management system encourages companies to proactively seek buyer feedback. Responses are put to use in adjusting and improving products and services moving forward.

It’s a win/win scenario that both sides should explore and see how they can use it to their own advantage.

AeroMed Group’s Commitment to Quality

At AeroMed Group, we haven’t been shy about our AS9100 certification. It’s something that we work hard to maintain; we believe that quality leaves no room for guesswork.

For more insights, head back to the AeroMed blog.