Quality Magazine

Key to Quality: AS9100C - Driven by Globalization, Required for Success

January 8, 2009
AS9100C changes are reviewed in depth.

The obvious changes to the newly minted AS9100C standard are rooted in ISO 9001:2008. Because ISO 9001 is the foundation for AS9100, along with ISO/TS16949, each standard shares the rationale of the AS9100C, as summarized here: globalization, evolving business models and what I like to call “outsource-mania,” has produced vulnerable organizations through product liability. Just think back to the toy recalls of 2007, and you will know exactly what I mean.

I have reviewed the AS9100C changes in depth, and I would first like to note that the globalization of industry, coupled with the diversity of regional and national requirements, have complicated our objective to meet or exceed customer expectations and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. Compounding the problem is the transition of the United States from an industrial nation to a service-driven nation during the past 10 years.

As a result, look around and you will find that today’s manufacturing organizations face many challenges-such as language barriers and lack of tribal knowledge-when it comes to purchasing products from their global supplier bases. On the flip side, these supplier bases face many of the same difficulties when it comes to delivering products to multiple customers, each with varying quality standards.

To understand the intent of AS9100C, it is important to gain an understanding of the essential terms and definitions that make up the body of the standard. The reality is that we cannot apply any requirement, method, principle or acceptance unless we communicate in the same language with our manufacturers and supplies, and AS9100C can help in this endeavor.

During the last several decades, my experiences as a quality management and NDT professional in the U.S. Navy and the private sector have taught me that it is very important to develop and nurture tribal knowledge, and organizations that let it slip through their fingers are doomed to failure. Unfortunately, in most cases of corporate restructuring, the loss of tribal knowledge is collateral damage, traded for “Lean Principles” without long-term thinking.

Today we have the opportunity to embrace the AS9100C standard, which I truly believe will strengthen our ability to deliver products across all industry sectors that are high in quality and meet or exceed customer expectations. Don’t get left behind; make sure your organization is on board with AS9100C.