AS9100 Rev D Standard: Definition, Guide And Importance

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Organisations in every industry use standards to mark the quality of their products and ensure they are safe for their customers to use. In the international aerospace industry, the standard is the AS9100. Understanding what the AS9100 standard is and how to use it can help an organisation meet the standards to sell products in global markets. In this article, we discuss what the AS9100 standard is, talk about why it is important, explore how it differs from other international standards and describe steps an organisation can follow to earn an AS9100 certification.

What Is The AS9100 Standard?

The AS9100 standard is guidelines for creating and implementing a quality management system (QMS) for organisations in the aviation, space and defence areas. Professionals in organisations in these areas call this collection of organisations the aerospace industry. The International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG), a collection of aerospace industry companies from around the world, first implemented the AS9100 in 1999. This group designed the AS9100 based on the ISO 9001, though the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) does not maintain the AS9100. The goal of the IAQG was to create a standard system for aerospace organisations beyond the simple ISO regulations.

Related: What Is ISO Certification And Why Is It Important?

Why Is The AS9100 Important?

The AS9100 is important because it gives detailed guidance to organisations in the aerospace industry. This industry has an extensive set of requirements that technology, craft and other aspects of the industry meet. The AS9100 is for suppliers to the aerospace industry. These are the organisations that manufacture parts for other organisations, meaning they have critical roles and information in the success and safety of craft and professionals in the industry. Meeting the AS9100 requirements can show an organisation is outputting the best materials, parts and technologies for their customers. The AS9100 has seven standards for quality management it uses:

  • Customer focus: This is the goal of organisations that sell products to customers. These organisations want to create the best products to meet their customers' needs.

  • Leadership from top management: Leadership from the top management of an organisation is important because they can create the culture and standards of an organisation. Top management professionals that embody the processes and standards of an industry can lead organisations to meet the highest quality standards.

  • Engagement of people: The more people that engage in a system, the more feedback a system can have. This is important for improving processes and communicating with customers.

  • The process approach: This is an approach that states everything is an improvable process. In an industry where technology is always advancing, the processes that organisations use also advance.

  • Improvement: The more an organisation can improve its processes, the more it can improve its products.

  • Evidence-based decision-making: Organisations that use this type of decision-making make changes based on the data they collect. Instead of guessing, they can accurately identify the needs of their customers, the standards of the industry and the quality of their products.

  • Relationship management: Managing relationships with customers and suppliers is important for organisations. The AS9100 creates processes an organisation can follow to improve these relationships and through that relationship improve their products.

AS9100 vs. ISO 9001:2015

The AS9100 is an aerospace industry-specific set of standards that guides how organisations can process and check the quality of their products. The ISO 9001 is an international set of standards that organisations across all industries can use to meet global quality management for their products. Primarily, the difference between the two standards is that the AS9100 is a derivative and improvement of the ISO 9001. This means that it uses the same requirements for international products and the same standards but adds specifications for aerospace industry processes and products.

The ISO 9001 has gone through several iterations, with the most recent being the ISO 9001:2015, which the ISO released in 2015. The AS9100 Revision D standard is an updated AS9100 based on the ISO 9001:2015 release. Another difference between the two standards is that the ISO maintains the 9001:2015 standard while the IAQG maintains the AS9100, including updates to the document when the ISO changes.

What Is An AS9100 Quality Management System?

A quality management system (QMS) is the collection and maintenance of records, policies, procedures and processes an organisation uses to guide how it provides products to its customers. It includes processes for quality assurance, which is the ability of an organisation to ensure their products meet organisation, national and international standards in the aerospace industry. It is also a system which accounts for the specific needs of organisations that use QMS and their customers. For example, instead of meeting a threshold for a product, which is the quality assurance of products it also ensures that the organisation meets its own standards.

An organisation's standards may be higher than the international, national and regional standards because they have the technology to make better products. This means that an organisation can customise their processes to meet the abilities they have.

Related: Quality Assurance Vs. Quality Control (With Differences)

What Is An AS9100 Audit?

An AS9100 audit is when internal and external auditors collect information about the processes an organisation uses and then compare that information to the planning the organisation used. This can show discrepancies between the planned processes and the actual processes in an organisation. Understanding these discrepancies is important because they can show where organisations can improve their processes or where products are not meeting the standards of the organisation and the aerospace industry. There are typically two parts of audits for the AS9100: an internal audit and an external audit.

Related: 16 Types Of Audits (And Why Companies Conduct Them)

How To Get An AS9100 Certification

Organisations can earn AS9100 certification to follow the best standards in the industry. The time it takes an organisation to earn AS9100 certification changes based on several factors. First, the amount of design and development an organisation already has can affect how long it takes to earn AS9100 certification because it already has processes in place. The second is whether an organisation already has quality control systems. Finally, organisations with configuration and counterfeit parts management systems can earn certification faster because they have the infrastructure to support the certification. Below are steps you can follow to get an AS9100 certification:

1. Perform internal audit

The first step to earning an AS9100 certification is to perform an internal audit. This is when an organisation's auditors check the processes an organisation uses and compare them to what the organisation plans. For example, an auditor may observe the manufacturing of a specific jet engine and note where production professionals uphold the process and where they deviate from it. Once the auditors make this comparison, they report their findings to the executive leadership of the organisation. This step is important because an organisation can find where they can improve their own processes to meet the AS9100 quality processes.

Related: What Does An Auditor Do? Duties And Responsibilities

2. Let management create reviews of their QMS

After the internal auditors perform their audit, they present their findings to executive management in an organisation. Using this information, the executive leadership can inform their management professionals of changes they want to make to meet standards. From there, managers throughout an organisation can change processes to ensure they met the standards of the AS9100. Then the managers can review what changes they need from executive leadership to make the process efficient and effective. For example, a manager might realise they need more funding to meet the standard and request leadership to supply more funds for their department or team.

3. Adjust the QMS to align with the standard

As information from managers comes back to executive leadership, they can adjust their resources and systems to align with the AS9100. They may receive very few requests from their management professionals or many. To meet the needs of the organisation, it is important to wait for all managers to report their needs and then change upper-level processes to meet their needs. For example, if every manager reports they need more resources, then an organisation may not change all of them. Instead, they might focus on changing the ones with the most impact on the QMS to align with the AS9100.

Related: What Is Aeronautical Engineering? Definition and Career Tips

4. Request external audits

Once an organisation changes its processes and its QMS to meet its processes, it can request an external audit for the AS9100. External audits are important because external auditors do not have connections to the organisation and may find processes that internal auditors overlooked. Like internal auditors, external auditors observe the processes within an organisation and compare them to the AS9100. Once they make their comparisons, they report their findings to executive leadership in an organisation. From that point, the organisation can continue to change its internal procedures to meet the AS9100 if it does not already meet the requirements.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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