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Standards

Understanding AS9100 Revision D

Transition planning for the aerospace industry’s key standard

Published: Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 11:02

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As widely useful and broadly applicable as it may be, the ISO 9001 standard covering general requirements for quality management systems (QMS) cannot address all stakeholder needs in every sector. Component functions and operations of discrete industries often require additional standards to ensure that sector-specific procedures are undertaken and completed in a standardized and generally accepted manner.

AS9100, the standard covering a QMS within the aerospace industry, was first launched in 1999. For many if not most organizations within the aerospace sector, certification to AS9100 is a non-negotiable imperative for working with key customers such as the U.S. Department of Defense, major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and airlines.

Released in fall 2016, the latest version of the standard is AS9100 Revision D (AS9110 Revision C, specifically for aerospace maintenance, repair, and overhaul [MRO] organizations; and AS9120 Revision B, designed for aerospace warehousing and distribution organizations, were released at the same time). Certificates for the prior versions of this sector-specific family of standards (AS9100 Revision C, AS9110 Revision B, and AS9120 Revision A, respectively) will no longer be valid as of September 2018. That means registered organizations have a little more than a year to complete their transition to the new version of the standard—if you are such an organization and have yet to begin your transition planning, you should quickly consider your next steps. Time is shorter than you think, but resources are available to help you prepare.

New content: risk and context

In addition to sector-specific changes in the language regarding product safety, counterfeit parts prevention, and configuration management, AS9100 Revision D fully incorporates the language of ISO 9001:2015. This means that risk-based thinking and a fuller appreciation of the organizational context are factored into operational strategy and management.

“AS9100 Revision D helps enhance a certified organization’s ability to meet customer requirements and satisfy expectations,” says Gene Morrison, Intertek Business Assurance’s global aviation, space, and defense program manager. “It accomplishes this not only through a focus on risk-based thinking, but also by providing a consistent foundation for business systems of all sizes and complexities.”

Similar to ISO 9001, risk-based thinking within AS9100 Revision D is not prescriptive in nature. Management of registered organizations merely need to prove that they have systems in place to understand and address their specific operational risks. How they choose to do this is up to them, but they will need to demonstrate to their certification body that they can execute risk-based thinking with competency and consistency across the enterprise.

The organization’s operational context will determine to a large extent how management interprets and mitigates risk. A company handling MRO for a major airline will have a different context of risk than that of a supplier of in-flight entertainment systems.

Read more about the specific language changes and features of AS9100 Revision D.

Making the transition

“Organizations must complete their transition to AS9100 Revision D no later than September 14, 2018,” says Morrison. “That means that certifications to Revision C of the standard will no longer be valid after that date. Bear in mind, however, that certification bodies such as Intertek will require some time—think in terms of 90 days at a minimum—to schedule and complete certification audits prior to this date. Of course, if nonconformities are uncovered in the initial audit, it will take more time to reschedule and complete any necessary follow-up audit or audits.”

Morrison also points out that all audits conducted to the standard from now onward (the deadline was June 15, 2017) must made to Revision D.

It’s important to note that valid AS9100 Revision D certifications must be uploaded to the OASIS database managed by the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG). AS9100 is published by the IAQG, which is a cooperative organization covering the Americas, Europe, and Asia, and is sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the Aerospace and Defense Industries Association of Europe (ASD), and the Society of Japanese Aerospace Companies (SJAC).

OASIS is a key resource for customers wanting to work with suppliers in the aerospace industry, as the database shows all organizations that have up-to-date AS9100 certifications. This is invaluable for users but does add another layer of complexity in terms of additional time, effort, and planning for organizations in their transition efforts.

To transition in the most practical and efficient way, it’s helpful to think in terms of a gap analysis during which key organizational stakeholders can gather and look at the language differences between Revision C and Revision D of the standard. Only after comprehending and detailing these changes can you begin to consider your own internal procedures in light of what may need to change to conform to the requirements of the new version of AS9100. These changes were made by the framers of the standard to improve customer satisfaction, so consider the various opportunities for excellence that the new framework of AS9100 Revision D may present. Remember that the key to getting the most out of registration to any standard is not the certification on the wall—it’s the rigor and responsive methods of the certification process that brings out the best in your organization, your processes, and your people.

Learn more about transition planning for AS9100 Revision D.

Next steps

The impending revision update means that time is of the essence in transitioning to the newest version of the AS9100 standard. From understanding the changes and their implications to considering your transition timelines to a gap analysis uncovering specific areas requiring further effort, gathering as much information as possible will be an immense help to you and your team.

For further details about AS9100 Revision D and the opportunity to ask questions of a quality professional with extensive experience in this sector, be sure to check out Intertek’s AS9100 Revision D Update Webinar with presenter Gene Morrison, to be held Sept. 14, 2017, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern / 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Pacific. Register here to attend.

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Intertek

Intertek goes beyond testing, inspecting, and certifying products. Intertek provides a systemic approach to supporting its customers’ quality assurance efforts in each of the areas of their operations including R&D, raw materials sourcing, components suppliers, manufacturing, transportation, distribution and retail channels, and consumer management. Intetek’s network of more than 40,000 employees in 1,000 laboratories and offices in 100 countries provides quality and safety solutions to a wide range of industries.