How does AS9120 differ from AS9100?

As was mentioned in the article How does AS9110 & AS9120 relate to AS9100 Rev D?, AS9100 Rev D is not the only standard available for creating an aerospace Quality Management System (QMS). The AS9120 Rev B standard is available for companies who are aviation, space and defense distributors who wish to create their QMS. So, how different is AS9120 Rev B to the AS9100 Rev D standard?

What is common between AS9100 Rev D & AS9120 Rev B?

Both the AS9100 Rev D standard and the AS9120 Rev B standard are based on the internationally-recognized ISO 9001:2015 standard for creating a quality management system. Both standards take all of the requirements of ISO 9001:2015, and then add in specific requirements for the aerospace industry. The additional requirements are presented in the document in bold and italics so that you can see what has been added, and no requirements from the ISO 9001:2015 standard are removed.

The standard that you choose is directly related to the type of aerospace organization that you represent. In both cases, if you are not in the aviation, space and defense industry, then these standard requirements will not be easily applicable to you; but the application of the requirements will differ if you create products and services, or distribute products in the aerospace industry.

Clauses which were not included in AS9120?

Along with some minor requirement deletions, there are five main sub-clauses which were added to the ISO 9001:2015 standard in AS9100 Rev D, but were not included in AS9120 Rev B. The clauses are:

  • Operational risk. Operational risk has not been added to AS9120, even though it was added to AS9100. However, clause 8.1.1 has been included with the heading “(not used)”, and no requirements text. This allows the numbering of the clauses to be the same between AS9100 and AS9120. The requirements to have a risk management process presented by the company’s operations are not included in AS9120.
  • Product safety. Product safety, which was added to AS9100, is also not included in the AS9120 standard. Like the clause above, clause 8.1.3 is also titled “(not used)” with no requirements text to keep the numbering the same. However, as the requirements for a product safety process are not needed by the distributor the requirement is not added.
  • Tests for design verification and validation. Clause has not been included for distributors as this is only applicable for the design of aerospace products.
  • Special processes. Clause on validation and control of special processes is not in the AS9120 standard since distributors will not have special processes like product manufacturers do.
  • Production process validation. Clause, also referred to as First Article Inspection (FAI), is not included in the AS9120 standard since production processes are not applicable to distributors. For more information on FAI, see the article How does First Article Inspection fit into AS9100 Rev D?

How does AS9120 differ from AS9100?

What is additional to AS9100 Rev D?

The biggest additions to AS9120, that were not in AS9100, are in the definitions. The following are the main definitions that have been added that are specific to aerospace distributors:

  • Certificate of conformity: The document that states that the product meets all requirements.
  • Distributor: Organization that purchases, stores, splits and then re-sells products.
  • Splitting: Dividing up a batch of product without affecting characteristics.
  • Test report: Document showing evidence of testing, often including test data.
  • Unapproved part: A part not produced in compliance with statutory, regulatory or customer requirements, such as an unapproved supplier. The standard also includes a separate definition for a ‘suspected unapproved part’ which would need to be investigated to confirm if it was an unapproved part.

Along with these definitions, and the minor requirement changes that mention these terms, there is one main sub-clause which has been added specifically for the aerospace distributor. This is clause 8.1.5, prevention of suspected unapproved parts. The requirements in this sub-clause are nearly identical to the requirements in clause 8.1.4, prevention of counterfeit parts. Clause 8.1.5 requires that you have a process to prevent the release of unapproved or suspected unapproved parts just as you would with counterfeit parts. This process must also be appropriate to the risk posed to your organization.

For more information on the process for counterfeit parts, see the article: Practical guidance on preventing counterfeit parts by applying AS9100 Rev D.

AS9120 Rev B: Making the QMS easier for aerospace distributors

The aerospace distributor has many different requirements from the aerospace manufacturer, and this is seen in the implementation of the AS9120 Rev B standard. While it may have been easy for organizations to claim exclusions to the various AS9100 Rev D requirements which were not in AS9120 Rev B, this would not address the fact that there are additional requirements needed as a distributor. So, if you are an aerospace distributor it is worth looking at the AS9120 requirements as a more simplified set of requirements which can better help your business grow.

For a better understanding of the AS9100 Rev D requirements, download this free 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.