AS9100 is the quality management system the aerospace and defense industry follows to ensure quality at every angle. Collectively, the entire industry follows the same QMS, but it’s worth noting that the needs and operations of space, aircraft, and defense companies can vary drastically.
What’s more, AS9100 standards are described in detail but don’t provide any actionable steps that can help you connect the dots. This knowing what to do but not how to do it can lead to confusion and loads of guesswork as to where you need to direct your focus.
That’s why we’re doing some of the hard work for you — here’s a closer look at four clauses of AS9100 that can help you align your QMS with your operations:
Clause 4.1: Understand Organizational Context
AS9100 Clause 4.1 requires you to put your unique industry into context: what are the internal and external factors that impact your ability to align with your QMS? How are contracts awarded? How long do they last? How can you effectively address any issues to achieve objectives?
Clause 4.2: Cater to the Needs and Expectations of Interested Parties
The second part of the fourth clause includes the needs of the stakeholders you serve. In A&D, each of your customers may have very specific needs and requirements that they expect you to fulfill, and these will undoubtedly have an impact on your QMS processes. Legal considerations must also be embedded in these processes, including the control of information and any
technical performance specs or compliance.
Clause 5.1.2: Maintain a Customer Focus
In Clause 5, gaining leadership buy-in is a must. Top-level management must focus on meeting customer requirements. In addition, all of the needs and requirements identified in Clause 4.2 must be addressed throughout the organization so that everyone understands their role and responsibilities.
Clause 6.1: Assess Risks and Opportunities
Last but not least, Clause 6 focuses on the importance of identifying any risks that could prevent you from meeting customer requirements. What could go wrong? What impacts will these risks pose?
You may also look to see if there are any opportunities to improve your QMS processes. These two steps often go hand in hand: as risks are uncovered, they can be turned into opportunities to mitigate their impact.
These four components are not the only ones that will affect your AS9100 implementation, but they do make for a solid starting block. Some of the other moving parts of AS9100, such as planning and evaluation, may come easier when you first put your customers and internal operations into context.
For more insights, head back to the etaGLOBAL blog.