How to Get AS9100 Certification – A 6 Step Guide

How to Get AS9100 Certification – A 6 Step Guide

As aerospace quality standards continue to evolve, AS9100 certification is becoming increasingly important in the industry. This quality management system standard is designed specifically for the aerospace sector, and its requirements go beyond those of ISO 9001. Learning how to get AS9100 certification, and achieving it, tells customers, stakeholders, and regulatory bodies that your organization meets the highest standards for the design, development, and production of aerospace products. This 6-step guide highlights the basic steps involved in getting AS9100 certified and how to prepare your organization for the process.

1. Understand the Requirements of AS9100

Prior to learning more about how to get AS9100 certification, start by familiarizing yourself with the AS9100 standard and its requirements. The AS9100 standard outlines the quality management system(s) needed to conform to the requirements and create customer satisfaction, meet regulatory requirements, and improve performance. It is important that everyone in the organization is aware of the standard, your commitment to it, and how it will affect their work. Conduct an internal audit of your organization's processes to identify areas that need improvement and develop an action plan to address them.

2. Implement a QMS That Adheres to the AS9100 Standard

Designing and implementing an AS9100 compliant quality management system is critical to how to get AS9100 certification. The system should define your organization's policies and procedures and cover all relevant processes. It is usually best to begin by establishing a core team of employees responsible for the development and implementation of the system. Ensure that everyone involved in the project receives proper training. Document everything thoroughly and ensure it is properly integrated into the organization business's documentation. It's important to establish a document control process, too.

3. Conduct a Gap Analysis

Before seeking out how to get AS9100 certification, conduct a gap analysis to see how well your company’s existing system meets AS9100 standards. This analysis will identify areas where your company needs to improve to meet the AS9100 requirements. This information will be useful when it comes to developing an effective corrective action plan that you will need to follow to achieve AS9100 certification. 

4. Conduct Root Cause Analysis

If any gaps are discovered in the analysis, it’s important to conduct root cause analyses to determine the underlying factors contributing to these gaps. The goal of the root cause analysis is to identify permanent solutions to the problems by eliminating their causes. It’s also important to document all corrective actions that are taken and conduct follow-up audits to ensure the changes made are effective.

5. Certification Audit

Engage an accredited certification body (like Smithers) to learn more about how to get AS9100 certification and to schedule your organization’s certification audit. The audit is conducted in two stages: Stage 1 is a review of documentation, and Stage 2 is an on-site implementation audit. Nonconformance is reported and assigned to specific corrective action owners during the Stage 2 audit. The certification body's objective is to verify that the implemented quality management system is consistent with the standard's requirements. It's important to note that audit duration will vary based on the organization's size and complexity.

6. Continual Improvement

Achieving AS9100 certification is a significant milestone, but it is far from a one-time effort. Continual improvement involves sustainment of the quality management system and ongoing evaluation to ensure that it aligns with organizational objectives. How to get AS9100 certification, and keep it, requires ongoing surveillance audits to ensure that an organization’s quality management system continues to meet the standard's requirements. It's important that everyone involved in the organization continues to support and improve the quality management system.  

Achieving AS9100 certification requires a lot of effort but it is well worth it. The certification provides a competitive advantage in the market, strengthens an organization's reputation, and helps to ensure employee and customer satisfaction. The benefits of certification far outweigh the time and cost involved in the process.
To learn more about how to get AS9100 certification, contact us today with any questions you may have. Or to schedule an AS9100 certification audit, request a quote, today!

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