What is AS9100?
Understanding ‘What is AS9100?’ can seem like a minefield. With all the different terms around the AS9100 standard – from AS9100D and AS9100 Rev D to ISO 9001 - you may be wondering what exactly the standard is, what the differences are between all these terms, and what is required of you to comply.
Luckily, it is all straightforward. Put simply, AS9100 is an international standard that outlines quality management system (QMS) requirements for the aerospace industry.
Let’s explore this further.
AS9100: key things to know
AS9100 sets out the requirements for quality management systems that help aerospace organisations to design, create and provide safe and reliable products that meet customer, legal and regulatory expectations.
Created by the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) and the Society of Automotive Engineers International (SAE), AS9100 is recognised across the globe and by industry giants such as the Federal Aviation Administration, US Department of Defence, and NASA. Since it was first introduced in 1997, the standard has gone through numerous revisions. The latest revision is AS9100 Rev D, or simply AS9100D, which was introduced in 2016.
AS9100 Rev D, like the versions that came before it, is based on ISO 9001. If you are not already aware, ISO 9001 is a standard from the International Organisation for Standardisation. It provides generic QMS requirements for any organisation irrespective of their industry or size. AS9100 is the same as ISO 9001, except that it has additional aerospace-specific requirements that make the QMS requirements more relevant for the aerospace industry.
What are the similarities between ISO 9001 and AS9100?
Both AS9100 and ISO 9001 are intended for organisations who need to show that they can provide products and services in compliance with customer, statutory and regulatory requirements. They are also relevant for organisations who want to improve their performance and customer satisfaction. Like ISO 9001, AS9100 can be used by organisations of any size.
AS9100 follows ISO 9001’s structure, where it is divided into 10 clauses. The clauses to be aware of are summarised below:
Context of the organisation
Consider all issues that can impact your strategic objectives and how you plan your QMS. Concentrate on factors and conditions that affect your products, services, investments and interested parties, and make sure your QMS is appropriate for your organisation.
Take accountability for the effectiveness of your organisation’s QMS and promote a culture of quality throughout your organisation.
Address any risks and opportunities, define your QMS objectives and how you will achieve them, and plan for and manage any changes.
Consider what resources you need to support your QMS and provide these. Ensure employees are competent in their roles and have a sound awareness of the QMS and how it relates to them. Plan and executive effective communications, and ensure that you document information required by AS9100.
Plan and implement controls for all of your operational processes. Establish products and services requirements, carry out a proper design and development process, and control externally provided processes, products and services. Other requirements include performing production and service provision in a controlled environment, and not distributing products and services until they have been verified. You should also take action to spot and manage non-conformances.
Evaluate the performance of your QMS by considering what you will measure, who will measure it, how this will be done and when. You should establish a way to measure customer satisfaction, which AS9100 seeks to improve, and management must review the QMS at regular stages.
Identify improvement opportunities, document your process for handling non-conformities, and work to constantly improve your QMS.
What is the difference between ISO 9001 and AS9100?
In addition to the above, there are specific AS9100 requirements to fulfil the industry’s particular needs. These include measures that affect:
1. Production and service provision
Verify production processes and equipment and control any changes to these, and provide post-delivery support. There are also additional requirements on measures for product preservation and shelf-life control.
2. Planning for product realisation
These requirements relate to project management, the risk management process, configuration management of products, and control of work transfers to and between facilities and suppliers.
3. Purchasing and purchased product
Further controls on suppliers are required, such as inspections, audits, and First Article Inspection Reports. Extra purchasing information for suppliers is also required, and there is an additional control on purchased product that is released in a limited or controlled way prior to the completion of verification activities.
4. Design and development
These requirements impact the testing and documentation of the design verification and validation stages.
5. Non-conforming process
AS9100 provides further requirements when dealing with non-conformances. If you find a non-conformance in your products or processes, you must take action to correct them.
How can you become certified with AS9100?
You will need to adopt a quality management system that fulfils the AS9100 requirements. A registrar will then carry out an audit to confirm that you have fulfilled the obligations outlined in the standard. If you pass, you will become AS9100 certified. It is important that you consistently maintain and improve your quality management system, even after becoming certified. This will not only help you stay compliant, but it will ensure that your organisation continues to excel.
Achieve AS9100 quality management
Our aerospace QMS software can help you improve your quality management system with integrated AS9100 software modules.