6 common myths about AS9100 Rev D

There are many expectations and assumptions about AS9100 Rev D, but only some of these are true. When you are creating an aerospace Quality Management System (QMS) using the requirements of AS9100 Rev D, it is important to separate the fact from the fiction so that you know what to expect during your implementation. If you understand the actual facts about AS9100 Rev D, you will be able to use these facts to dispel the popular myths that people will bring up when they are opposed to implementing AS9100 Rev D within your organization.

What are the common myths you need to understand about AS9100 Rev D?

Below are six common misconceptions about AS9100 Rev D, with one truth included; don’t let these misunderstandings hinder you in your implementation of AS9100 Rev D.

1) AS9100 Rev D is only for big aerospace suppliers – This is where the partial truth can be found. AS9100 Rev D is intended to be used only by aerospace companies, also known as aviation, space, and defense organizations. However, the standard is not intended only for large organizations. The standard is purposefully written to be descriptive, but non-prescriptive; this means that the requirements say what needs to be done, but not how to do it. For instance, the standard will tell you that you need to have a method of controlling the prevention of counterfeit products, but how you do this is up to you. In this way, the requirements of the standard give good “best practices” of what your QMS needs to include to be effective, no matter if you are a small, medium, or large-sized aerospace organization.

2) We need to document everything – While some documentation will be necessary to ensure that the processes of your QMS are properly implemented, and that you have records to show that the planned arrangements have been met, it is not true that absolutely everything needs to be documented. If you can ensure that your process will be done adequately to meet your needs, and you have the records to demonstrate this, you have enough documentation for that process. Detailed and in-depth procedures are not necessarily required for everything. For more information, see this article: List of mandatory documents in AS9100 Rev D.

3) AS9100 Rev D tells us how we need to do things – As has been mentioned above, the requirements say what needs to be done, but not how to do it. AS9100 Rev D states that you need to plan, implement, and control the processes that you need to assure the safety of your product during its entire lifecycle; however, as it pertains to your organization and product, it is up to you to determine how these processes will work. The standard notes that these processes may include such things as management of risks and safety-critical items, but this is only a suggestion of what you may include.

4) The quality department “owns” the QMS – While many of the processes within the QMS, such as the internal audit, are typically performed by the quality department, this does not mean that the quality department owns the entire QMS. The QMS is intended to cover every aspect of the business, from planning through delivery of your products and services, and in doing so is owned by every process owner in the organization. The QMS works best when it is the way you do business, not an add-on system that exists solely to satisfy someone else.

5) The QMS needs to be perfect right away – One of the main principles behind the QMS is that a company needs to continually improve over time, so this means that the QMS is not intended to be perfect right away. The processes need to be adequately monitored and stable, so that you can find any problems and provide a correction and corrective action to these problems, but this is not the same as being perfect. You first need to put in place the necessary processes to meet your customer needs and expectations, and then work to find ways to improve over time so that you improve your customer satisfaction and overall business success. This is where your QMS will show benefits over time.

6) AS9100 Rev D costs a lot to implement and maintain – There is no doubt that there is some cost associated with implementing your AS9100 Rev D QMS, but the long-term benefits should outweigh this initial expense. If you are implementing AS9100 Rev D as a way for you to drive improvement in your company, and to work towards increasing your customer satisfaction, you will find that your return on investment is high and you will continually find cost and time savings in your organization. If, on the other hand, you choose to only pay lip service to your QMS and do nothing about improvement, then you may be right – this will be a big expense.

Find out more on the benefits of AS9100 Rev D here: 7 Key benefits of 9100 Implementation.

Implementing AS9100 Rev D: The beginning of your journey

There are, of course, many other myths about AS9100 Rev D, but these are likely the most common. In addition, the misconceptions listed will need to be overcome if you are trying to use AS9100 as a means of helping your company to better control your processes, so that you can increase customer satisfaction and improve your overall success. As the start of your journey, AS9100 implementation can lead you to better integrated processes that work well together and allow you to save both time and money in the long run; hopefully, dispelling these myths at the start will help you to achieve this goal.

To clarify your understanding of the AS9100 Rev D standard, use this white paper: Clause-by-clause explanation of AS9100 Rev D.

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.