The revised standard has elements of a high-level structure based on ISO9001:2015 but with a greater emphasis on change management, risk assessment, and mindset. The AS9100 is also focused on product safety and the process approach.
Any audit or review of a regulation requires the lines of communication to be open, and it all starts with employees understanding not only the standard itself, but also the requirements of the regulatory bodies. Seeing things from both sides allows better understanding for all involved. This really does help take some of the headaches out of inevitable auditing.
It is important to invite feedback and discuss topics of concern that are raised by both senior management and all other levels of employees. Sometimes being on the frontlines with customers allows staff to see things you may not.
So why do we want AS9100 certification?
This standard is a global effort with the aim to a standardization of quality management implementation, specific to the Aerospace industry. There are a number of reasons to be compliant, but none as important as creating internal operational efficiencies, reducing double handling, and streamlining processes.
Secondly, but equally important, is the knowledge that in some circumstances the ability for you to conduct business on a day-to-day basis relies on AS9100 registration. Customer requirements demand it. Speaking of customers, guess who will benefit from improved internal processes? Yes, your customers will. Every time.
Finally, we have the one thing that all business owners respond to - the bottom line. Reducing costs and freeing up cash flow allows other projects to be brought forward.All of these things can be achieved by the implementing of suitable document control software.
Systems in play
When looking at whether a system of document control, processes, and quality controls are working for your business, a few things must be in place. Consider the requirements of compliance, yes, but also consider your people.
Does your current system allow management to know exactly what is going on, in every aspect of your business? From current processes accessible to everyone involved, right through to reporting and corrective actions, any compliance requirement can be met with confidence where there is an interactive and intelligent system in place.
Are you ready?
If your organization is to pursue to AS9100 certification you must already know that it takes a level of commitment.
Clearing your system as compliant, and deciding if your system is effective or not, is scary stuff, to the uninitiated. But wait. Before you run off screaming, what you are simply trying to achieve here is maximum compliance through awareness of your current limitations.
The best thing for an organization that requires this standard, is to have items for focus when preparing for document review. Call it an audit checklist, if you like.
Where to go from here?
Now comes the interesting part. After all this, there is now a need for all eyes to be on post-certification procedures.
Ongoing post-surveillance of systems are not meant to be something dreaded, or more alarmingly, ignored in any way. They are simply a form of continuous improvement goals that every organization needs to address for continued health and viability as a business. Don’t forget compliance and audits are here to stay, but that does not mean they have to be a headache. Compliance rules and regulations are there to help you, even though you may not see it that way to begin with. If you feel your systems are fully functional and complaint from the get-go, you would be in the minority.
Introducing and using a system that allows compliance for now, and one that moves with your organization for a complaint future, will give you the freedom to focus on other goals.