Craftech staff met with a consultant this week to learn about the qualification process for AS9100.  We began the certification process at the beginning of March.  This qualification process will build on the work we already did to become ISO 9001 certified.  In qualifying for AS9100, we will be proving that our products are high quality enough to be used in aviation and defense equipment.  Pretty exciting!  I’ll be sharing information with you, the reader, on quality management in general and on AS9100 specifically as we work our way through this process.  Here’s what we learned this week:

AS9100 is the quality management system (QMS) for the Aviation, Space and Defense Organizations (AS&D).  It represents the first international effort to form a standard quality management system for the aerospace industry.  The latest revision is Rev. C released in January, 2009.  AS9100 was developed as a cooperative effort of the International Aerospace Quality Group.  The latest revision brings AS9100 into alignment with ISO 9001.  AS9100 includes 100% of the ISO 9001:2008 requirements plus about 80 additional aerospace and defense specific clauses.

There are also two other standards which are subsets of the main AS9100 for organizations who only perform the following:

AS9110 –Maintenance and Repair

AS9120 –Stocklist Distribution

AS9100 outlines the major principles and goals of an effective quality management system without actually prescribing the actions necessary to set up said system.  The system designer is encouraged to develop a QMS that is specific to his own company while following the tenants of AS9100.  In fact, the designer is encouraged to develop an effective QMS before implementing AS9100.  In an attempt to ensure that every QMS caters to the user, AS9100 requires that companies include any additional requirements of their customers, regulatory agencies, and local, state and national laws in their system’s documentation.

Both AS9100 and ISO 9001 list the same eight major principles. Although the principles are the same as ISO 9001, they are far more rigorously applied here.  The eight major principles are:

  1. Customer Focus
  2. Leadership
  3. Involvement of People
  4. Process Approach
  5. System approach to Management
  6. Continual Improvement
  7. Factual Approach to Decision Making
  8. Mutually Beneficial Supplier Relationships.

Successful use of the eight management principles aims to result in improved creation of value, improved quality, higher customer satisfaction and greater monetary returns.

AS9100 relies on the “Deming Cycle” which requires that organizations plan, implement, audit and act to continually improve process performance. 



The general requirements of AS9100 are similar.  The most general requirement is that “The organization will establish, document, implement, maintain and continually improve the Quality Management System (QMS).” (ExoLytic, Inc.).  The organization must:

  • Identify processes that need to be controlled and determine how they interrelate.
  • Determine how to control any outsourced processes.
  • Address customer and applicable statutory and regulatory quality management system quality requirements.

The Federal Aviation Administration has stated that AS9100 is “a comprehensive quality standard containing the basic quality control/assurance elements required by the current Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 14, Part 21.” Both the U.S. Department of Defense and NASA have reviewed the standard and have published information on how subcontractors can best follow it.

Does your company require AS9100?  Do you have experience going through the certification process?  Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments section below! 

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