Who is the best person to be AS9100D quality representative?

The role of the quality management representative has been part of the aerospace Quality Management System (QMS) for a long time, and even though other QMS standards, such as ISO 9001:2015, have removed this requirement, it has been left in the requirements of AS9100 Rev D. If you are transitioning from AS9100 Rev C to Rev D, you will already have a quality management representative assigned, and there is no need to change this. However, if you are just now implementing AS9100 Rev D as your Quality Management System, you will have to find a person to fulfill this role, but whom do you choose?

What is the role of the quality management representative in AS9100 Rev D?

To understand who the best person for the job is, you need to understand what the job is. I have already discussed in detail the requirements for the quality management representative, as well as some explanation as to why this is retained in the latest revision of AS9100, in the blog post Is the management representative still required in AS9100 Rev D? So, here I will just give a quick point form summary of what the management representative is required to do as per the AS9100 Rev D standard.

The management representative for the QMS:

  • Has the responsibility and authority to provide oversight of the QMS, including making sure that the QMS meets the requirements of AS9100 Rev D, confirming that its processes deliver the intended outputs, reporting on QMS performance and improvement, ensuring the promotion of customer focus, and preserving the integrity of the QMS when changes are made.
  • Has the freedom and unrestricted access to top management that they need to resolve quality management issues.
  • May be responsible for acting as liaison with external parties on QMS matters.

If these are the tasks required of the quality management representative, then who would be the best person in your organization?

Who should you choose as your quality management representative?

Of course, the AS9100 Rev D standard does not directly tell you who to appoint to this position, but judging from the responsibilities that the role carries, there are a few things to keep in mind when you make your decision:

  1. QMS process knowledge – The management representative needs to oversee all of the QMS activities, so they need to know and understand how you have implemented AS9100 Rev D within your company. If the main person responsible for implementing the QMS is not going to be your management representative, then the management representative, at a minimum, needs to be knowledgeable enough to understand what the implementer is saying when explaining the need for resources, or when changes to processes will invalidate the integrity of the QMS.
  2. Issue resolution skills – When there is a quality management problem, the management representative needs to have the necessary skills not just to identify the problem, but to identify the resources needed to address the problem, so that when they take action or address top management for resources, they have an understanding of what is needed.
  3. Customer interface – When customers have questions about your QMS or any other quality issues, they want someone in senior management to address these concerns. So, choosing the person to hold this position depends heavily on who your customers trust to provide information when they need it.
  4. Customer focus promoter – If anyone is going to promote customer focus throughout your organization, it has to be someone who understands your customer needs and expectations so that they can encourage everyone to meet these expectations. This person needs enough credibility and authority behind them to ensure that these are not just empty words; rather, the concept is actually integrated into the company’s processes.

So, who has these qualities in your organization? The person who has these qualities, or can easily gain them, is probably the right choice for the role of quality management representative.

Does the management representative have to be the senior quality manager?

The answer to this question is no; however, this person may be the best choice. It is true that many companies have the senior quality management person as their quality management representative, be they the quality manager, quality director, or vice president of quality. This person does have authorities and responsibilities that align with the management representative position, and for many people in the organization, this person may already be the person to whom employees and customers go in order to resolve quality issues. If this is the case, then adding the label of quality management representative to this person will not be problematic, as they already do much of the work required of the position.

To better understand the requirements for the quality management representative in  an AS9100D-based QMS,  download 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.