Stanley Cherkasky’s picture

By: Stanley Cherkasky

At the beginning of this year, the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) released revision C to AS9100, the quality management system (QMS) standard for the aviation, space, and defense industries. Unlike the recent release of ISO 9001:2008 (which was more of an amended version), AS9100:2009 will have considerably more modifications. Its benefits, however, are most definitely worth the endeavors of implementation. The new requirements are intended to make significant improvements in quality and cost reductions throughout the value stream.

The standard’s payload includes several new requirements and clauses that focus on planning, project management, and risk management. Its trajectory will also traverse on-time delivery performance, formal monitoring of customer satisfaction trends, and formal plans to ensure continual improvement—all are mission critical. IAQG’s mission is to dramatically raise the on-time, on-quality, delivery (OTOQD) performance across all three industry sectors.

Russ Russo’s picture

By: Russ Russo

The original title for this article was “How to Win the Baldrige.” But of course, no one can give you some secret on how to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality award. Instead, this article sets a less daunting objective: to identify the practical steps in writing a Baldrige application. Your overarching goal for writing an application and participating in the awards process is to transform your organization into a high-performance organization. As a start on that journey, this article provides some guidelines for writing an application that appropriately reflects your achievements and makes your organization a contender for the award. 

A few caveats to begin: First, working with the Baldrige criteria and the awards process is a journey, not a single step. Although any organization may apply for the award and use the experience to improve their performance, even the very best organizations discover that it is rare to win on the first submittal. Actually, organizations may be better served by first applying to their state level award. Quality Digest has a list of most state quality awards that is updated frequently. Most states adopt the national criteria, and the experience of working with the state program is a solid foundation for applying for the national award. 

Chet Kagel’s picture

By: Chet Kagel

Command Medical Products of Ormond Beach, Florida, is a medical-device manufacturer that designs, manufactures, assembles, and packages disposable medical devices such as intravenous tubing, blood bags, IV bags, and catheters. Command Medical initiated its journey into lean manufacturing to improve manufacturing processes in order to maintain its competitiveness in the global marketplace.

Command Medical hired HPK Group to provide lean-manufacturing training workshops and to facilitate its first kaizen event, which involved the extrusion of medical tubing along with the assembly of a clamp to control flow and a spike for connection to other medical devices.

Dan Seal’s default image

By: Dan Seal

Many of us in the aerospace community have come to know the value of data in the Online Aerospace Supplier Information System (OASIS), a reliable resource for aerospace supplier certification and registration data housed and maintained by SAE International. The OASIS database is available to everybody at You have to register to have access to it, but it is free. The OASIS database includes the accreditation bodies approved for the process, the certification bodies accredited for the scheme, all of the auditors approved for the aerospace scheme and, finally, the certified suppliers. The database contains information about the certified suppliers registered to the aerospace standards AS9100, AS9110, and AS9120.

There are some new changes being implemented in the OASIS database in 2009. Here are some of the key items noted from the OASIS web site:

Quality Digest’s picture

By: Quality Digest

Here’s a story that proves once again that exciting quality applications can occur anywhere in the world.

BHP Billiton operates the EKATI Diamond Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territo­ries, approximately 200 miles northeast of Yellowknife—just below the Arctic Circle. Arctic winter gear designed for temperature well below -45°C is standard attire during the long winters, when the sun barely rises above the horizon. Although the setting is harsh, it can also be a beautiful place to observe and enjoy a truly unique perspective on nature.

EKATI is proud of its commitment to become the safest, lowest-cost pro­ducer of quality diamonds in the world. Employees at EKATI are passionate about creating a safe and sustainable business and thriving communities, as well as developing people. This business strives to select, develop, and retain the right people while extracting value from low-value ores. The business drivers are to create zero harm, increase margin per ton, and create an engaged workforce.

Walter Pastorius’s picture

By: Walter Pastorius

Assemblers of large objects, such as automotive bodies, have strongly recognized the need to continually improve processes to enhance dimensional integrity of assemblies, maximize customer aesthetic perception, and optimize product performance.  

Implementing laser sensors for dimensional monitoring has allowed assemblers to move from low-volume sampling to inspecting every production part, and more recently, implementing in-process monitoring and error-proofing for rapid response to dimensional variation.

Assembly process monitoring

In the past two decades, a number of technological advances have been made in the dimensional monitoring of assemblies. Until the late 1980s, dimensional monitoring was typically accomplished by removing a component from the assembly line and transporting it to a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) or off-line checking fixture. Time required for CMM measurement was several hours, resulting in data being available for only a few components per day, and not providing statistically significant results.

John W. Stoneback’s default image

By: John W. Stoneback

Is your toolholder showing wear in the areas indicated on the toolholder shown?

We’ve been asking this question for some time now, and we know the answer. Normally, close inspection of the tapered area will show a difference in finish at the threaded area a


Toolholder in fixture (black)


Standards Council of Canada’s default image

By: Standards Council of Canada

Abiding by strict environmental rules can at times seem as much like a religion as a lifestyle. It’s often difficult and even conflicting to balance the intention to live “green” with the attractions of modern convenience. Moving into igloos or pit houses made of mud, is sustainable, yes, but not realistic for most people.

Buildings aren’t only a symbol of modern convenience, they are often hubs of economic activity, and model comfortable living. They’re also environmental enemy No. 1. From consuming natural resources, to polluting the air during their construction, to draining energy supplies during their life cycles, buildings (commercial and residential) top transportation in the total amount of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, U.S. buildings are responsible for approximately 30 percent of carbon dioxide emissions and 60 percent of the country’s electricity use.

In Canada, buildings are responsible for 37 percent of that nation’s primary energy use and account for almost 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Canada Green Building Council.

Francisco Castaño, Gerardo Mendez, Julio Ayala, and Linda Day’s default image

By: Francisco Castaño, Gerardo Mendez, Julio Ayala, and Linda Day

The approach of using a Wiki to document a quality management system (QMS) may seem overwhelmingly obvious in a year or so, yet we are far from that today. Chances are you've used Wikipedia on the web, but you may not appreciate the power that a Wiki can bring to virtually every facet of documentation and management systems. This case study describes how Geometrica used a Wiki to document its QMS and achieve ISO 9001 certification in record time while avoiding the bureaucracy that often plagues this process.

The problem

Documenting a QMS is an intense process for every organization, and Geometrica's case was no exception. Geometrica engineers, manufactures, and builds domes and space-frame structures around the world, and although the company was confident of its quality control procedures, its clients were increasingly insistent on ISO 9001 certification. Its policies and procedures were already documented in various electronic and hard-copy formats, but these documents had been developed unsystematically to respond to problems, client demands, and training needs. There was no single approach or cohesive structure.

Michael Casey’s picture

By: Michael Casey


ince 1979, an automotive-parts manufacturer had one premier product that is used by automakers such as General Motors, Toyota, Ford, Honda, Mercedes, and Daimler-Chrysler. For competitive reasons, this business didn’t want to share their name for this article.


In May 2008, the company conducted a survey to help the product-development team, which was considering branching out to make another automotive product. They wanted to solicit customer input to verify that their design direction would meet customers' needs. By designing a targeted customer survey, the operations, engineering, and maintenance departments gathered eye-opening customer feedback that led to several significant design changes that better aligned the new product with customers' priorities.

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