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Aerospace experts discuss changes to industry quality management standards at the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance Symposium

Nearly 60 aerospace quality experts met in Seattle September 16 to discuss possible changes to quality management standards that help ensure that aircraft parts and equipment are delivered on time and in good working order.

In order to provide safe planes for the public to fly in, Aerospace Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) like Boeing and Airbus require suppliers to meet rigorous global certification processes. As part of the process, suppliers are audited to ensure that they meet international standards.

“ISO standards are reviewed every five years to ensure they stay up-to-date. Revisions are part of the ISO process and are to be expected,” said speaker Alan Daniels, Boeing's BCA Process & Systems Management of International Quality Standards.

As consumers' demand for lower cost air transportation continues to grow, commercial aircraft manufacturers like Boeing are requiring lower prices, defect free products, and on-time delivery. To help drive their demands, aircraft manufactures have established a common quality management system standard to which all aerospace part suppliers must be certified. To achieve certification, aerospace suppliers must use accredited certification companies who agree to follow the guidelines established by the Americas Aerospace Quality Group (AAQG). This certification process is intended to ensure that suppliers are able to maintain product conformance while meeting the rigorous demands of the international standards and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) like Boeing, Airbus and others.

According to speaker Sidney Vianna of DNV Business Assurance, “Certification should lead to customer satisfaction. If it's not, it's not fulfilling its mission.”

Although changes won't take effect until 2016, suppliers were pleased to learn that some of the proposed changes to ISO 9001, AS9100 and AS9101 will result in less paperwork. A number of attendees cheered when they learned that a 25-page checklist was no longer required, and that on-line forms were being considered.

PNAA's Standards Update Symposium was held in conjunction with AAQG's semi-annual meeting, and took advantage of the gathering of AAQG subject-matter experts from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Aerojet Rocketdyne, DNV Business Assurance, as well as local supply-chain representatives GM Nameplate, Orion and Avcorp. AAQG experts meet regularly to discuss certification process revisions, but the meeting is held in Seattle only every three to four years. PNAA coordinated the pre-meeting symposium to inform the Pacific Northwest aerospace supply chain of pending changes and to provide members an opportunity to offer input in the revision process.

“It is essential that Pacific Northwest suppliers have the latest information on certification process changes so that they can provide their products to companies around the world. Whether they supply for Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, Bombardier, Lockheed or others, the Washington Aerospace Cluster needs to be able to provide quality parts, on-time and at a competitive price. Certification gives OEMs confidence in our supply chain,” said Melanie Jordan, PNAA Executive Director.

Press release issued by PNAA Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance on September 20, 2013


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