17 December 2019

The four key learnings from IAQG Berlin

By Steven Allison

I recently attended the IAQG (International Aerospace Quality Group) event in Berlin which held lots of useful discussions on current issues within the industry.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with them, the IAQG mission is to implement quality initiatives for improvements throughout the aerospace products and services value stream by:

  • Promoting Quality culture
  • Establishing and maintaining Quality Management System standards
  • Delivering the Industry Controlled Other Party Certification system
  • Collecting and offering best practices, processes and harmonized requirements
  • Promoting cooperation between international Aviation, Aerospace and Defense businesses

A key focus of the event was APQP documentation to AS9145.  This standard is continuing to gain momentum even though it was released in November 2016. OEM’s such as Airbus & Boeing are contractually flowing down the requirements of APQP – AS9145 documentation and require their supply chains to provide evidence of compliance.

The event was very insightful on all things AS9145 so here are my four key takeaways:

  1. Supply Chain APQP documentation management flow.

I learned that businesses would like more efficient ways to manage APQP – AS9145 documentation, for example by utilizing software.  AS9145 documentation requirements would be given to suppliers who would then submit their AS9145 documentation. A typical way of managing this documentation is via email with excel action tracker, but this method has drawbacks when it comes to planning, tracking & reporting. APQP- AS9145 is now a risk to any business with a contractual obligation to this standard.

  1. Visibility via Supply Chain documentation for planning.

Discussions were had on how businesses could have visibility of APQP documentation status, with a view to them assisting production and being more proactive on planning.  If you don’t have visibility,  you can’t then make the informed decision to change your manufacturing schedule to enable positive outcomes.

  1. PFMEA clarification: Characteristic from drawing referenced on PFMEA template.

Typical documents that are required for APQP would be Process Flow Diagram (PFD), Process Failure Modes & Effects Analysis (PFMEA) & Control Plan (CP). Specific discussions were around the PFMEA and the characteristics which must be shown. This removes the use of generic product terms such as Length, Diameter and Depth etc, focusing on the traceability of the characteristic that you would balloon as part of your AS9102 First Article Inspection process.

  1. Potential for sub categorising of AS9102(FAI), AS9103(KC) and others within AS9145 standard i.e. AS9145-1/AS9145-2/AS9145-3

APQP – AS9145 pulls together many different standards and at times it can be confusing to know what the requirements really are. There was some talk around potentially sub-categorising and referencing the other standards within AS9145. However, this is still to be determined but it shows that APQP -AS9145 will become the prominent Quality documentation requirement for the supply chain within new plane manufacturing.

Overall, APQP-AS9145 documentation remains at the top of the list for Aerospace & Defense supply chains as this has become mandatory within new contracts. The main question to consider is: how are you going to manage this requirement? Businesses are focusing on this and wanting to have visibility of these processes to ensure they are managed efficiently whilst staying compliant.

For more information on how Ideagen’s APQP software solutions can improve control, visibility & efficiencies of APQP – AS9145, visit:  https://www.ideagen.com/products/q-pulse-pm

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