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Identifying interested parties and their requirements according to AS9100 Rev D

With the release of AS9100 Rev D, great emphasis has been placed on understanding the interested parties for your aerospace Quality Management System (QMS), as well as knowing which of their requirements apply to you. However, you may wonder what this means, how to determine who the interested parties of your QMS are, and what you should do with this information after you have determined it. Here is a bit about what the standard says about determining the interested parties for your QMS processes.

Who are the interested parties for your QMS?

In Section 4.2, the AS9100 Rev D standard talks about understanding the needs and expectations of the interested parties of your QMS, and if you are reading the standard in the order of implementation, this takes place right after understanding the organizational context. This makes sense because these interested parties will have a big effect on the ability of the organization to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and legal requirements. In fact, Section 4.4.2 requires you to maintain documented information, which includes a general description of your interested parties.

Consider these groups when you are determining which parties have an interest in the successful delivery of your products and services:

  • Your customers: Who has more interest in the quality of your products and services than the people who use them? Not only do these people have an interest, they will also very often have specific, written requirements and needs that you must address in the aerospace industry. These can be the most important interested parties because meeting their needs is necessary to ensure repeat business, and they can also be the easiest parties to determine the needs and expectations of.
  • Government agencies and other organizations: In the aerospace industry, there are very often government agencies that control the production and delivery of products and services. When lives depend on the quality of the delivered products, such as in aviation and defense contracts, there is a high degree of government oversight on these deliverables. These can be not only extremely important requirements to know, but also essential requirements to meet.
  • Shareholders: The costs and sales of your products and services will directly affect your financial bottom line, so those who own a share in your company will be interested in the performance of your QMS. One expectation of the QMS that could be very important for this group of interested parties is the savings found through continual improvement.
  • Employees: No one is delighted to work for a company that is known to provide faulty or sub-standard products and services, and your employees will be no different. Even if they do not directly purchase your products and services, they will want to know that they work in an environment that provides satisfaction through well-produced products and services.

Why is it important to identify your interested parties?

The AS9100 Rev D standard does not just ask you to identify interested parties and their needs, but this information is used several times throughout the requirements. It will come as no surprise that these needs and expectations will carry over into the requirements of your QMS processes. Briefly, here is where the requirements are needed:

  • Section 4.3 – QMS scope needs to take into account the requirements of interested parties.
  • Section 5.2.2 – When appropriate, your Quality Policy needs to be made available to interested parties.
  • Section 7.1.6 – When interested parties expect measurement traceability, which is very often the case in aerospace, it needs to be maintained.
  • Section 8.2.3 – Product and service requirements may need to include requirements from interested parties.
  • Section 8.3 – Interested parties may have design and development requirements, such as expectations on control and involvement in the process.
  • Section 8.7.1 – When nonconformities affect delivered products, you need to report this to interested parties in a timely manner.
  • Section 9.3 – When interested parties have concerns, your management review must address these issues.

Interested parties: Necessary for proper QMS planning

When you appreciate the necessity to understand the needs and expectation of interested parties, and how this is used within the QMS, you can easily see that these expectations are used throughout your QMS processes. You need to know this information to properly plan your QMS, and how you will deliver your products and services, so that nothing is missed in your execution. Without the critical step of identifying your interested parties, you could miss crucial information that is required to have a successful QMS implementation, so perform this assessment well for better success.

Want to find out how close your QMS is to meeting the AS9100 Rev D requirements? Find out with this online AS9100 Rev D Gap Analysis Tool.

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.