Overview of the AS9100 Quality Management System Standard for the Aviation, Space and Defense Industry

By Scott Dawson
September 28, 2018

AS9100 Certification – 2023 Update

“In the aviation, space and defense industries, quality, product safety and on-time delivery are paramount. The major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) work with a global supply-chain made up of manufacturers and distributors, which includes thousands of small businesses. To ensure quality, safety and on-time delivery of the millions of components, assemblies, and software that make up the aircraft, vehicles and other OEM systems used in the field, the AS9100 standard has been developed.”

— Scott Dawson, President, Core Business Solutions

What Is the AS9100 Standard?

Developed by the International Aerospace Quality Group, AS9100 is a global quality standard that sets requirements for processes related to safety, products, and performance in the aviation, space, and defense industries. Largely based on the ISO 9001 standard, it is designed specifically to be utilized by manufacturing and service companies within the aerospace sector and satisfies DOD, NASA, and FAA quality requirements.

The standard includes the addition of requirements related to work transfers, prevention, and detection of counterfeit parts, control of critical items, monitoring of external providers, stringent production process protocols, and prevention and detection of foreign objects.

All managers and employees need to be involved in the implementation of the AS9100 quality management system (QMS) requirements and will work together to prepare for a third-party audit that will confirm the company’s compliance with the requirements of the standard.

Who Does the AS9100 Standard Apply To?

The AS9100 standard is specific to product and service providers in the aviation, defense, and space industries. Though there are no laws requiring AS9100 certification, this standard is sometimes needed for business participation with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other parts of the supply chain.

Benefits of the AS9100 Standard

Companies that are in or have partners in the aerospace industry should get AS9100 certified. Organizations that fall within these categories include:

  • Aerospace parts and assembly designers.
  • Aircraft component and material manufacturers.
  • Quality management companies working with aerospace manufacturers.
  • Organizations that work in the aerospace industry frequently or irregularly.

AS9100 provides benefits to companies of all sizes, especially in the aerospace field. As a globally-minded business, you will find value in the following areas of excellence:

  • Increased efficiency: Following AS9100 standards means creating quality management systems that improve production speed and consistency, enabling you to boost your company’s productivity.
  • Improved relationships: When you focus on creating a better product through business evaluation and improvement, you maintain better customer and stakeholder relationships.
  • Boosted business opportunities: Adhering to AS9100 standards means showing potential customers your company has what it takes to meet their needs, increasing your marketability and business opportunities within the aerospace and defense industries.
  • Improved risk mitigation: AS9100 will help you evaluate your business risks and develop and implement best practices for minimizing them, resulting in better process quality, traceability, and safety.
  • Enhanced organizational knowledge: Developing an AS9100 quality management system requires your entire team to get involved, enabling your staff to participate in role development and training and improve their knowledge and understanding of their jobs.

Is AS9100 a Good Fit for Your Organization?

While the AS9100 standard has been developed for companies in the aerospace and defense sector, it is important to note that several other standards may be better suited for your business. For example, the AS9120 standard must be used by parts distributors seeking certification. 

Likewise, you may find value in certification to several other standards, including but not limited to 14001 (environmental), 45001 (health and safety), or 27001 (information security).

Though it takes work to earn your AS9100 certification, the time and effort are worth it. With a better QMS, you can benefit your company and customers. As the end users of your product or service, your customers are the ones who are impacted to the highest degree by your QMS.

If your organization identifies with any of the following statements, AS9100 may be a great option for you:

  • You want to improve your quality management systems to minimize risks.
  • You want to expand your company’s business opportunities to the aerospace field.
  • You are already ISO 9001 certified.

AS9100 standards are based on ISO 9001 standards, so if your company already adheres to ISO 9001 regulations, implementing systems for AS9100 certification will likely be fast and simple.

How to Become AS9100 Certified

To receive your AS9100 certification, you must first learn the requirements for this standard and apply them to your business, such as quality assurance, process documentation, and data management. Then, follow these steps to become certified:

  • Internal audit: First, you’ll need to get an internal audit of your QMS that will take place at your business location.
  • Management reviews: AS9100 requires reviews where management assesses your company’s progress, evaluates its data, and identifies how effective its QMS will be.
  • Third-party audit: Next, an authorized third-party registrar must perform your Stage 1 and 2 audits. You will provide them with logs and other relevant materials for QMS assessment, including proof of our internal audit and management reviews.

How Can CORE Help You?

The AS9100:2016 (AS9100D) standard is quickly becoming a sought-after certification for signing contracts and new customers. As mentioned before, the potential for negative impacts related to poor quality is highly concerning in the aviation, space, and defense sector. Achieving certification proves to your customers, future partners, and industry that you have evaluated the risks your business may face and implemented a quality management system that ensures positive outcomes.

Work toward improving your quality management system and receiving your AS9100 certification with Core Business Solutions. With our CORE technology platform, we help small businesses streamline their ISO compliance so they can enjoy the many benefits of certification.

Contact us to learn more about CORE today!

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