How Defense Subcontractors Can Meet AS9100 Requirements

The construction and maintenance of aircraft involves a variety of products. These products – along with parts and supporting equipment/subsystems – are designed and manufactured by dozens of companies with different specialties. One thing all of these suppliers must have in common is a concern for quality and compliance.

Manufacturers supplying the aerospace industry face the decision whether to become AS9100 certified. An international quality management system standard, AS9100 builds on ISO 9001 and adds requirements specific to the aircraft, space and defense industry. Suppliers must be able to trace all components of a failing part back to its origin. To do this, and ultimately hold suppliers accountable for providing reliable products, they must have the ancestry of those components on file.

From its inception, one of the tenets of AS9100 has been to mandate what a quality management system must achieve, but not how to achieve it – leaving the latter up to the supplier. As a result, the way the requirements of the standard are met can vary dramatically from supplier to supplier. Some manufacturers that are ISO 9001 certified create their own systems that meet AS9100 requirements. The AS9100 standard’s flexibility allows these companies to fine-tune existing quality management systems and avoid investing the considerable time and money required to purchase and implement new enterprise-level software.

In fact, dB Control was able to modify its existing quality system to meet AS9100 requirements. Even though our system wasn’t originally designed for part tracking and traceability from procurement through final build and shipping, we scrupulously monitor the process. To learn more about how we go above and beyond the AS9100 standard, Operations Manager Vlad Di Natale wrote an article you can find here.