What is the AS 9100 Quality Management Standard?

AS9100 is the quality management system (QMS) standard specific to the aerospace industry. The current version, AS9100C published in 2010, includes the ISO 9001 standard verbatim and adds supplementary requirements that apply to the aerospace industry.

These supplementary requirements emphasize areas that impact on process and service safety, quality and reliability for aerospace products. It is designed to meet the complex and unique demands of the aerospace industry, from commercial aviation to defense and include several additional requirements to ISO 9001 that participating aerospace OEM companies felt were necessary to clearly define their expectations for aerospace suppliers.

The requirements within AS9100 are complementary to contractual and applicable regulations. Those implementing a QMS conforming to AS9100 must ensure that the specific requirements of their customers, country regulatory agencies (such as the FAA and the JAA) and local, state and national laws are also referenced within the system's documentation.

First published in May 1997 by the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) as AS9000, the AS standard has evolved to AS9100:2004 Rev. B and is recognized by all major Aerospace OEMs. It combines and harmonizes requirements defined by the SAE in the Americas and the European Association of Aerospace Industries in Europe,

The aircraft and aerospace industries have recognized AS9100 as a means for continually improving quality and on-time delivery within their supply chain. Most of the major aircraft engine manufacturers, such as General Electric's Aircraft Engine division (GEAE), Boeing, Rolls-Royce Allison and Pratt & Whitney, are requiring their suppliers to be certified to AS9100.

What are the AS 9100 family of standards? The AS 9100 QMS family comprise the following three standards:

  1. AS 9100 Quality Management System - Aerospace requirements - for details see above

  2. AS 9110 - Quality Maintenance Systems - Aerospace - Requirements for Maintenance Organizations. AS9110 focuses on the maintenance, repair and overhaul aspects of the aerospace business. Aircraft are designed to perform for 50 years or longer, but properly maintaining them is essential for the product's total life cycle and continued safe operation. AS9110 is used to complement the expanded use of ISO 9001 by major aerospace repair stations worldwide.

  3. AS 9120 - Quality Management Systems - Aerospace - Requirements for Stockist Distributors. AS9120 focuses on organizations that deal directly with OEMs and accumulate aerospace materials and products for resale. These distributors or stockists while providing a useful service, can affect product performance if they fail to handle parts and materials correctly or lose a part's chain of custody from the OEM to the customer.

AS9120 complements AS9100 and may be used by OEMs or others in the aerospace supply chain. This standard applies to "pass through" distributors (i.e., businesses that accumulate and distribute parts and materials rather than add value or work on the products themselves). Value-added distributors are subject to the appropriate requirements of AS9100.

4.In addition, there are a number of supplementary documents and tools that are referenced for use in conjunction with these primary standards. These documents amplify specific AS 9100 clause requirements and in some case prescribe a defined methodology for addressing it. Please refer to the International Aerospace Quality Group website for details -

Who does AS 9100 apply to?

AS9100 certification can be used throughout the entire aerospace supply chain including the design and manufacture of airport and airline operations, replacement parts, supply and maintenance, cargo handling, overhaul and repair depots and flight operations.

What are the benefits of certification to the AS9100 standard? AS 9100 certification provides the following benefits:

Provides access to the best practices of the aerospace industry Demonstrates your commitment to deliver quality products and services to your customers Brings your quality management system to level with the global standard adopted by the aerospace industry Improves your new market / new customer prospects on a worldwide basis Reduces multiple expectations and number of 2nd and 3rd party audits Creates independent feedback to foster continual improvement Improved customer satisfaction Reduces organizational waste, inefficiencies, and defects Facilitates continual improvement in business processes and customer satisfaction Improves process consistency and stability

What is the AS 9100 certification process?

Most Certification Bodies (Registrars) use the following process with slight variations:

1. Apply for certification The CB generally sends you an Information Request package that includes a questionnaire. They use the information to plan your certification program and the cost to your organization. The information requested, generally includes:

Details of your organization in terms size, number of facilities, area, headcount, type ofmanufacturing operations and equipment, etc. Your industry category; products and services; and business processes to ensure theyare qualified to provide you with certification services. Your proposed scope of registration in terms of - the number of sites, processes, andrange of products and services; any product or clause exclusions to your QMS scope. Your preferred dates for the documentation review, pre-assessment, and registrationaudit Key contacts of executive and quality management representatives There is a lot of other information they will request of you in their questionnaire. Don’t just automatically provide them the information; engage in a dialogue with them (preferably in person with their sales/marketing personnel), when filling out the information, so you have an understanding and appreciation of the basis and use the information will be put to.

2. Pre-assessment Before the actual certification audit, a CB auditor makes a preliminary visit of your facilities, briefly reviews your QMS documentation and conduct an informal check of the QMS implementation. In essence, this preliminary audit intended to uncover areas in your QMS that might need special attention. During the initial visit the audit scope and audit program is agreed upon, as well.

A Pre-assessment is an optional activity. It adds value in that it provides an organization with a clear view of the gaps in its state of readiness, a few months prior to the formal certifiction audit. More and more organizations now prefer experienced consultant auditors to do the Pre-assessments as they not just identify the gaps, but also provide solutions to correcting them. CB auditors may only report on the gaps, but are not allowed to provide solutions.

*3. Certification *- Comprising two stages, both carried out on-site. First, a Stage 1 assessment which consists of a system review and planning visit to confirm that the system is designed to meet the requirements of AS9100. Secondly, a Stage 2 assessment to verify the effectiveness of the implemented system against the requirements of the standard and the commitments made in the company’s quality policy.

4. Surveillance - Regular surveillance visits review the ongoing effectiveness of the system in achieving the policy commitments. The frequency of surveillance visits is 6 or 12 months. This regular assessment process maintains the integrity of the system and supports continual improvement.

Scoring System - Each visit is subject to a scoring system, the results of which are entered into an Online Aerospace Supplier Information System (OASIS) database which is administered by the SAE. This is defined in the AS9101 rev. B checklist document. Access to the OASIS database for information on organizations certified to AS9100 is available to the general public. Access to the scoring results is limited to only authorized controlling entities for the Registrar Management Committee.

5. Re-certification - entails a complete QMS audit similar to the certification audit, typically performed once every 3 years after certification.

Organizations planning on AS 9100 certification must ensure that they have an effective QMS in place and that all customer and regulatory requirements have been identified and addressed.

There are many other contractual factors governing your relationship with your CB. Did you know that we can help you negotiate the most optimal financial and contractual terms with your CB? Most organizations leave thousands of dollars on the table without even knowing it.Give us a call at 905-593-8867 for details.

What are the key supplementary requirements of AS 9100 beyond the ISO 9001 standard on which it is built?

Within AS9100, supplementary requirements have been made to many ISO 9001 clauses. Most are based upon existing best practices, which have been integrated into AS9100 to ensure that manufacturers meet the industry's expectations. Key additional requirements include:

· Key Characteristics - the standard provides guidance for managing variation when a "key characteristic" is identified. Keys are features of a material, process or part in which the variation has a significant influence on product fit, performance, manufacturability or service life.

· Configuration management - is critical for support of aerospace products with 50-year plus life cycle. The configuration management process must begin at the product's design-and-development phase and continue along the entire value stream, providing visibility and control of the products functional and physical characteristics.

· Planning product realization is essential for effective and efficient processes. The standard emphasizes planning for all phases of product realization to ensure delivery of conforming product.

· Design-and-development - requires a robust design and development process to meet aerospace industry safety and reliability requirements.

· Supplier management - the aerospace supply chain is long and is a challenge to manage. There are additional requirements for identifying and maintaining suppliers.

· Effective communication is essential. The standard lists several specific areas for consideration. They range from clarifying engineering requirements to managing test specimens and right of access to suppliers' facilities.

·Product safety and quality control - include supplementary requirements for:

Tooling control Traceability program Control of monitoring and measurement devices Control of changes to production processes Flow-down of quality requirements Foreign object detection Control of special production processes Control of servicing requirements First article inspections Control of nonconforming material Review the AS 9100 standard for complete coverage of all supplementary requirements.

What is the aerospace industry position on AS 9100 conformity? The industry is moving towards requiring their suppliers to be AS9100 compliant / certified. By becoming AS9100 compliant / certified, suppliers can gain a competitive advantage and benefit from the process approach and continual improvement that are the foundation of ISO 9001 certified QMS.

Currently, the Boeing Company requires all Boeing suppliers to be BQMS (Boeing's Quality Management System) approved or have a waiver. AS9100 Rev B is a significant part of Boeing's BQMS requirements.

General Electric Aircraft Engines (GEAE) was one of the first manufacturers to require AS9000 compliance by all of their direct material suppliers. Currently, GEAE is requiring AS9100 certification for all new suppliers, and existing suppliers have a gap audit and a certification audit performed to coincide with their existing surveillance audit schedule.

Increasingly, the industry is moving towards third-party certification as a means of demonstrating QMS conformity to AS9100. The Americas Aerospace Quality Group (AAQG), working with the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB), has established a process and requirements for certification bodies (CB’s) granting AS 9100 certification and CB auditors performing audits to AS9100.

The process includes additional training and practical experience and ensures that CB auditors are competent and that CB’s are experienced in the industry. The AAQG has created a Registrar Management Committee to oversee this important function. Its methodology is defined in SAE AIR5359.