Quality Magazine

The Impact of the Audit Score

July 16, 2007


From the pursuit of AS 9100 registration to lean manufacturing, companies are continually looking for the edge that will distinguish them from the competition. For AS 9100 registration, one significant advantage that is often overlooked is the audit score.

International certification guidelines require that AS 9100 audits be scored. This score is posted in the Online Aerospace Supplier Information System (OASIS), which is used by the aerospace community, particularly OEMs, to monitor supply chain audit performance. Many OEMs have minimum thresholds in terms of AS 9100 audit scores, and will look closely at a company’s score to help assess its quality management system and ability to provide premiere products or services. The scores can be used to determine whether OEMs conduct on-site supplier assessments, or even whether contracts are awarded at all.

Organizations pursuing AS 9100 registration can increase their probability of a positive audit score by learning the factors that significantly impact it. For each AS 9100 audit there is a total score to be achieved, which is based on applicable clauses of the standard. For instance, total possible scores would be different for organizations that are responsible for design vs. those that are not.

For any nonconformances (NCRs) that are found during an audit, points are deducted from the total possible score. Key requirements, which are clauses of the AS 9100 standard that have been identified to be most critical, carry a greater point value. Thus, by paying careful attention to key requirements, an organization can receive a higher audit score by ensuring there are no NCRs in these critical areas.

Table 1 shows a requirement that includes five sub-clauses. Since the M is at the top of the clause, all five sub-clauses are considered key.

So how does one know which clauses have been identified as key requirements? In the AS 9100 checklist, AS 9101, there is a column identified as key requirements, which showcases two designations for key requirements. Product-related key requirements are those that could have a direct impact on product conformity. These are identified with a P. Management-related key requirements are those portions of the system that industry has determined need additional management focus and resources in order to meet the expectations of an aerospace quality management system. Management-related key requirements are identified with an M.

For sections of the standard where there are multiple sub-clauses, it also is important to distinguish where key requirements are identified in the clause. Where the key requirement designation is at the very top of the clause, any sub-clause below would be considered key and would result in a significant reduction in the audit score if NCRs were found here.

Table 2 shows an example where there are two product-related key requirements in lower sub-clause; in this example, only sub-clause g) and h) would have a higher impact on the audit’s total score.

In other sections with multiple sub-clauses, key requirements may be identified only with certain sub-clauses. In this case only those sub-clauses with the designation would have a higher score impact.

Altogether there are 57 key requirements identified in AS 9101. These requirements could have a significant impact on the final outcome of an AS 9100 audit. Organizations pursuing AS 9100 registration should place additional emphasis on these focus areas to maximize the results of their audit, and subsequently their audit score. The goal of achieving AS 9100 registration is not just to get a certificate, but also to implement an effective quality system that meets industry expectations and will increase the probability of shipping good product and enhancing customer satisfaction.

Table 3 illustrates a breakdown by section where the key requirements are located. Due to the magnitude of key requirements in Sections 7 and 8, these sections have been broken down by sub section to illustrate where the majority of key requirements are.

So where are these 57 key requirements located throughout AS 9100? A breakdown of the data reveals that 40 of the key requirements are product related-more than two-thirds of the total. Of those, 26 are in Section 7 alone. Every section of the standard contains at least one key requirement.

How do these 57 key requirements impact the score of AS 9100 audits? Within AS 9101 there is a scoring table used to calculate the score of AS 9100 audits. Point values have been allocated by the aerospace industry group based on the importance of specific sub- sections. There are pre-determined point reductions for single and multiple nonconformities. If the nonconformity falls in a key requirement clause, the point reduction is greater. Table 4 illustrates an example of how drastic the point reduction can be.

Table 4: If the nonconformity falls in a key requirement clause, the point reduction is greater. This graphic illustrates an example of how drastic the point reduction can be.

For example, assume two minor nonconformances have been written in Section 4-one is in 4.1 and the other in 4.2.3. Both are in key requirement sections. A section that would have been worth 100 points now has scored 20. By comparison, if the two nonconformities had been in non-key requirement sections, the organization would have scored 80. Obviously the impact of key requirements can be significant.

Organizations seeking AS 9100 registration must realize the impact of key requirements. The score reflects the health of an organization’s quality system, and these results are available directly to customers.

Note that the key requirements are only designated in the AS 9101 checklist, not in the AS 9100 standard. Whether pursuing or maintaining AS 9100 registration, organizations should use the AS 9101 checklist to strategically understand key requirements. Ensuring adequate systems are in place will increase the probability for a maximum score during the audit.



Tec Tips

  • For any nonconformances (NCRs) that are found during an audit, points are deducted from the total possible score.
  • Key requirements, which are clauses of the AS 9100 standard that have been identified to be most critical, carry a greater point value.
  • An organization can receive a higher audit score by ensuring there are no NCRs in key requirement areas.