ISO 9001 vs. AS9100

As you probably know, ISO 9001 is an international standard for implementing a quality management system, and is maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). As such, it is intended to be useable by any organization, service or manufacturing, in any industry sector. AS9100, on the other hand, is intended for exclusive use by aviation, space, and defense organizations (often referred to as the aerospace industry), and is maintained by the Aerospace division of SAE International and the International Aerospace Quality Group (IACG). If your company is involved in the aerospace industry, or looking at becoming involved, then you may want to include the requirements of AS9100 in your quality management system implementation. But, what is the AS9100 standard, really?

How is AS9100 structured?

Because ISO 9001 has become the fundamental requirement for implementing a quality management system for the majority of companies around the world, AS9100 has used the ISO 9001 standard as the foundation for its requirements. AS9100 takes the complete ISO 9001 standard requirements and simply includes additional requirements and notes (in bold and italics) throughout the document. Due to this, it would be possible to implement a quality management system that is compliant with ISO 9001, with the implementation of certain requirements only applicable to a smaller part of your organization that is engaged in the aerospace industry.

What are the additional requirements?

The first big addition is in the requirements for planning for product realization. This planning activity includes additional requirements for project management, risk management, configuration management of the products, and control of work transfers (between facilities, to suppliers, or between suppliers). Risk identification and risk assessment are then carried throughout the requirements of the standard, as these are seen as very important for the aerospace community.

The next big additions occur in the design and development area of the standard. Along with the steps for design verification and validation are additional prescriptive requirements for testing and documentation of these two design stages. (See ISO 9001 Design Verification vs Design Validation for more information on the difference between these). Additionally, the section on design changes is linked back to the additional section on configuration management.

Purchasing and purchased product contain many additional requirements around supplier control, more information needed in the purchasing information sent to suppliers, and an added control on purchased product that is released for use in a controlled way before all verification activities are done.

Probably the largest amount of change comes in the production and service provision section, which is not surprising since this the area of biggest difference from one industry to another. Some of the important requirements involve verification of production processes and control of the changes to production processes, as well as required controls on production equipment (including tools & software) and support after delivery. Finally are some specific product preservation methods that are common in the aerospace industry, such as shelf life control.

The last big changes relate to required actions for a non-conforming process and specific requirements on what needs to be considered for product monitoring and measurement (such as criteria for rejection and special measurement instructions). The final changes include an additional requirement to take action on other processes and products when a non-conformance is found, and some further requirements on corrective actions like flow down of corrective action to suppliers.

ISO 9001 vs. AS9100: How they are the same and how they differ

Some thoughts on application of AS9100

It is important to remember that the AS9100 standard is written and designed by the aerospace industry for use in aerospace applications and has little application outside the industry. However, as I mentioned earlier, if you have parts of your company that are related to the aerospace industry, or you are considering adding such areas to your company, then investigating the feasibility of adding the additional requirements of AS9100 to your quality management system might be a good first step. And remember that you can choose to make these additional areas applicable throughout your company if this will be beneficial, or restrict the application to the aerospace areas of your company. The decision is up to you.

Click here to see a free white paper Checklist of Mandatory Documentation Required by ISO 9001:2015.

Advisera Mark Hammar
Mark Hammar
Mark Hammar is a Certified Manager of Quality / Organizational Excellence through the American Society for Quality and has been a Quality Professional since 1994. Mark has experience in auditing, improving processes, and writing procedures for Quality, Environmental, and Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems, and is certified as a Lead Auditor for ISO 9001, AS9100, and ISO 14001.