AS9100 is the international standard for quality management in the aviation, space, and defense (AS&D) industry.
The standard applies to airport and airline operations, as well as organizations that provide aircraft equipment and accessories, maintenance and spares, flight operations, and cargo handling services.
This article explains what AS9100 certification means for your organization and how you can achieve it.
Why Is AS9100 Important?
Given the stakes in the aerospace industry, it makes sense that it has some specific and unique requirements. It’s essential that the sector produces high-quality, reliable products and services that meet rigorous standards.
But that’s where the AS9100 standard can help. It provides a framework that helps organizations meet the demands of the industry, establishing best practices for implementing a quality management system (QMS) in the AS&D industry.
Any organization that works in the AS&D industry must be AS9100-certified, and this doesn’t only apply to the U.S. It’s a global standard, meaning the same rules apply to organizations across the globe.
But don’t consider it simply as an international framework that standardizes processes. By achieving AS9100 certification, your business can enjoy many related benefits.
1. The Production of Safe, High-Quality Products and Services
The AS&D industry has strict quality and safety regulations to ensure that customers receive products and services that are safe and high quality. Not only does AS9100 ensure customer safety when using products and services, but it also increases customer satisfaction through improved, efficient processes.
2. Inclusion in the Online Aerospace Supplier Information System (OASIS)
Every AS9100-certified organization must be included in the Online Aerospace Supplier Information System (OASIS).
It’s a searchable database run by the IAQG, and it acts as a useful marketing tool that reinforces your credibility. Aerospace companies can browse company and purchasing information to find suppliers that meet quality and regulatory requirements.
3. Continual Improvement
One of AS9100’s core principles is continual improvement. This process allows certified organizations to implement iterative design practices and change their processes to become safer and more efficient.
They can do this through a cycle of evaluating current performance, identifying opportunities for improvement, and implementing changes.
4. Ensure Compliance With Specific AS&D Regulations
Suppliers and stakeholders want to know that the products and services that organizations provide comply with the relevant regulations and legislation. By achieving AS9100 certification, you can be confident that the organization has taken the necessary steps to produce high-quality and compliant products and services.
What Is an AS9100 Quality Management System?
An AS9100 QMS is the framework at the heart of the standard. It requires that organizations meet quality objectives by documenting processes, procedures, and implemented changes.
With a QMS, organizations will find it easier to coordinate changes that help them meet customer and industry expectations, comply with industry regulations, and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their systems.
A QMS contains a framework consisting of policies and processes based on seven core principles:
- Customer focus
- Process approach
- Continual improvement
- Relationship management
- Evidence-based decision-making
Differences Between AS9100 and ISO 9001
If you’re familiar with quality management systems, you might wonder how AS9100 differs from ISO 9001. The latter is an industry-neutral standard for implementing a QMS, and AS9100 was built upon its framework.
Many of its requirements, such as the seven core principles, are the same, but AS9100 contains additional requirements tailored to the AS&D industry.
The additional requirements mainly concern the Product Realization, and the Measurement, Analysis, and Improvement sections of the AS9100. These sections contain a number of requirements related to:
- Project management
- Risk management
- Ethical behavior
- Additional safety requirements
- Product design and development
- Human input
- Configuration management
There are also two supplementary standards in the AS9100 family: AS9110 and AS9120. These were also established by the IAQG, but they have an even more specific scope. AS9110 applies specifically to commercial, private, and military aircraft maintenance. Meanwhile, AS9120 requires distributors of aircraft components such as fasteners, electronics, and gaskets to implement a QMS based on AS9100.
The specific demands of the AS&D industry mean that AS9100 compliance is generally considered to be harder and more time-consuming to achieve than ISO 9001. Fortunately, if your organization is certified to AS9100, you automatically receive the same status under ISO 9001 for the scope and locations listed on your certificate.
What Is AS9100 Certification?
To achieve AS9100 certification, your organization must first implement the standard’s requirements and have a fully operational QMS in place. After that, you should conduct an internal audit to verify that all implemented processes work as planned. If you spot any issues at this stage, you should make necessary improvements and again check that the system works as intended.
Only after you’ve performed these checks can you select a certification body to perform a certification audit. This process is split into two parts. In stage one, the auditor reviews the organization’s documentation to ensure appropriate policies and processes are in place.
This is often done remotely to save time and money, with the organization providing copies of all relevant documentation. If the auditor is satisfied with what they read, they will move on to stage two, which is an on-site audit. Here, the auditor will assess the processes in person and interview key staff members to gauge their understanding of the QMS.
Achieve AS9100 Success With Orion Registrar
Are you ready to begin your AS9100 certification project? Orion Registrar’s expert auditors can help you with our certification services.