The aerospace industry is one of the most regulated in the world, so it should come as no surprise that it undergoes numerous types of audits to prove its quality and efficiency. In order to ensure your manufacturing facility follows all the rules and regulations, audits are crucial. They confirm that your facility complies with the standards of your industry and document the actual state of your operations.
Audits are also crucial for third-party compliance, as well as for internal operations and compliance. Regarding aerospace, there is one specific audit that is highly recommended that all companies perform to prove that the parts they manufacture are in compliance with the law and to endure pilot and passenger safety. This post will discuss what an as9100 audit is and why it is vital for companies in the aerospace sector to get certified.
Importance Of Aerospace Manufacturing Audits
Aerospace manufacturing audits are essential because they help companies identify and prevent potential defects that may lead to safety issues. It is vital for aerospace manufacturers to have these audits performed on their products to identify any possible defects or problems and ensure that they are safe for use. In essence, aerospace manufacturing audits are crucial to ensuring that companies produce high-quality products at competitive costs with consistent standards. Depending on the company’s size, they can perform them in-house following a strict set of criteria or outsourcing them to organizations specializing in auditing.
What Is This Type Of Audit?
AS9100 is a globally recognized standard that defines the quality requirements for the design, production, and installation of aerospace products. It is an international standard set by the American Society for Quality (ASQ), and it was first published in 1999. AS9100 defines the requirements for an organization’s quality management system, including quality policies, plans, and procedures. It also identifies the responsibilities of various levels of management within an organization. Even with all this information, you might wonder what is AS9100 auditing all about. The goal of AS9100 is to help organizations improve their quality systems and achieve compliance by providing guidance on developing, implementing, and maintaining their quality management systems. There are three ways in which this audit can be performed:
- On-site: As the name suggests, this is done on-site over several days. Audits require different numbers of days depending on several factors, including the organization’s size, complexity, risk, and nature. The guidelines dictate a total amount of time that can be taken so that the process does not continue indefinitely and can be concluded satisfactorily.
- Remote: These audits have become more popular since the onset of the Covid pandemic but have always been an option for companies that meet certain criteria. You will use remote conferencing to provide the data required to complete the audit. Remote auditing is generally considered to be inferior to the other two options.
- Self-audit: These can be performed by your company or requested by a customer for you to complete on their behalf. If a customer requests a self-audit, you must perform an internal audit and demonstrate that your standards remain high.
How Are as9100 Audits Performed
As previously mentioned, As9100 audits are performed to ensure that a company follows the necessary safety and quality standards in place in the same way ISO 9001 does. However, you have several options when it comes to carrying out the actual audit.
An AS9100 internal audit is a process that an organization carries out itself and provides assurance that it has met the requirements of its quality management system. An internal audit is a systematic and documented examination of the quality management system of an organization. It helps improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the quality management system by identifying deficiencies, including areas where improvements could be made.
You may think that an external audit is when an external company comes in and performs the audit on behalf of the company. However, this is not the case, and instead, an external audit could come about for several reasons. For example, an existing or potential customer would require your company to perform the audit to provide them with assurances that you match up to their expectations. Furthermore, you may request any of your suppliers to perform this audit as the requirements extend the entire length of the manufacturing process.
If you want to become as9100 certified, you will need to select a registrar to examine your business and first check if you are eligible for certification after the auditing process. In other words, it is an essential part of the process.
Once you have received a green light from your document audit, you are deemed eligible for certification. You will have to pass the other auditing processes, but you can become certified once everything is done and you meet the criteria. This certification is highly valuable for both current and prospective customers as they can see that your business is operating within industry norms and your products are safe to use. Nonetheless, you should be aware that the register you picked during the documentation audit will periodically check that you are still in compliance with the standards.
How You Can Prepare For An Audit
It might seem like a daunting prospect to get your business ready for any audit, let alone an AS9100, but there are some steps that you can take to mediate the process, including:
- Giving yourself enough time to prepare: As with any review, you should give yourself enough time to get everything ready. You should conduct your own internal audit and see if anything you can correct is lacking.
- Provide training to get employees up to standard: To pass an inspection, your staff will need to be thoroughly trained and understand what the process involves. Because quality management is a large part of the process, your QA staff should understand what is expected from them.
An AS9100 audit is necessary to attract new customers and retain existing ones. It shows them that you are following the highest standards regarding the aerospace industry and your place in it.