AS9100 standards apply to aerospace quality management systems (QMS). The standards are international and were developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers and the European Association of Aerospace Industries. For a company to obtain AS9100 certification it must provide evidence that its operations satisfy the QMS requirements and will continue to do so. The certification is becoming more commonly required in the industry. Obtaining certification can take several months or years, but there are methods to speed the process of obtaining the approval.
Identify certification standards. Research the QMS standards required for your specific product and purchase the AS9100 workbook. The workbook and other gathered information will detail what your company must do to satisfy all requirements.
Set a time line for certification. You can obtain AS9100 certification more rapidly by setting a specific time line. This time line can be divided into different steps, each of which will lead to fulfilling all certification requirements. Without a strict time line, you may find that your company begins to lag behind in its goal of quickly obtaining certification. Six months is an extremely short, but realistic, period of time to obtain certification.
Appoint a lead auditor for the process. Becoming AS9100 certified fast requires placing one person in charge of the process. This person will be responsible for establishing, scheduling and completing the goals required for certification. To meet the time line, this appointee should have experience with AS9100 certification procedures. If you do not have an employee with this experience, consider outsourcing this job to a lead auditor. An auditor from an independent AS9100 certification company will work to obtain certification.
Schedule a meeting with a registrar. A registrar reviews a company’s operations to determine if they satisfy QMS requirements and entitles the company to certification. Registrars also review the company every six months to ensure continued compliance. Typically, the relationship lasts at least three years. Prior to choosing a registrar, interview at least three to determine whether the registrar is a good fit for your company. Registrars can be found locally or nationally, but local registrars will be less expensive.
Begin competing AS9100 tasks. Typical QMS standards require that the product’s manufacturing, performance and suitability conform to industry standards. Items may need to undergo a quality assurance check during and after processing to satisfy all requirements. Record keeping, traceability and detailed inspections are also necessary. Stick to your time line to ensure that the certification will be obtained in a timely manner.
Train employees. Once the procedures have been established and tested once or twice, you must then train all employees on the new standards. After training, employees should employ the new procedures for several days prior to their being reviewed by the registrar.
Schedule an initial qualification review with the registrar. Hopefully, the registrar will offer only a few suggestions to enhance your QMS system. If, however, he has several or rather complex suggestions, you might need to tweak your system prior to obtaining certification.
Schedule a final certification review. This review will determine whether your company's QMS standards satisfy all AS9100 requirements.
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