AS9100 – Managing The Suppliers Audit
Managing suppliers in the aerospace supply chain is a challenge for the industry. The supply chain can be very long, and within the supply base, there are suppliers that cross over many industries. Because the aerospace industry is so dependent upon their supply chain, AS9100 includes a number of additional expectations for identifying and maintaining suppliers. Supplier approval is just one area covered in the process of managing suppliers.
Effectively communicating customer requirements is very important. The standard lists seven specific areas for consideration. They range from defining engineering requirements to managing test samples and right of access to suppliers’ organizations.
The aerospace industry usually uses one of three methods for product acceptance. An organization might conduct a receiving inspection, perform the inspection at the supplier’s location or assign product acceptance to the supplier. It is required for the customer (aerospace customer) to define the procedures for determining supplier control.
But no element of supplier control is more important than understanding that the supplier is responsible for managing its suppliers and sub-suppliers. This includes performing special processes that are frequently subcontracted to business consulting firms such as surveillance auditing. The supplier must use customer-approved sources which ensure that the processing is properly performed.
A new avenue has opened up in supplier surveillance auditing, which has had the effect of lowering cost and delivering real time results to customers. AS9100 software applications have made it possible to manage the quality requirements for AS9100 from your desk top, while lowering the cost of visiting suppliers less frequently. This system is so effective that some registrars are now considering using it for such requirements as document review, corrective and preventive action effectiveness, quality objective review, internal audit effectiveness etc. All of this is done remotely thus lowering travel costs and disruptions to the customer business. Some requirements will always require on site visits, but the amount of time needed to complete a surveillance audit will reduce dramatically.