AS9110 is a standard that defines the requirements for a quality management system (QMS) for organizations whose primary business is providing maintenance repair, and overhaul services (MRO’s) in the aircraft industry.
The AS9110 standard was published in January 2003 after the airspace industry realized that the requirements for establishing an efficient QMS in MRO organizations were different from those of the original equipment manufacturers (OEM). This standard, formally titled AS9110 Quality Maintenance Systems – Aerospace – Requirements for Maintenance Organizations, was developed by the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) through SAE International. The AS9110 standard is based on AS9100 and adds specific requirements that are critical for the MRO of commercial, private, and military aircrafts.
Aviation safety is crucial. Every day millions of people fly around the world and expect to reach their destination in a safe manner. In order to do this, airlines rely on a vast, global, and ever-growing network of repair stations to keep their fleets operating safely and cost-effectively. Most airspace products are designed to work for 50 years and more, so proper maintenance is crucial for the safety of the operation.
In the MRO industry, there are still many organizations that rely on inspection and test for their quality controls. This approach aims at reacting to nonconformities rather than preventing them. AS9110 provides a framework for organizations to leave this reactive approach behind and establish an effective QMS. Some of the areas of emphasis in the AS9110 standard include:
- Detecting and preventing counterfeit and suspect unapproved parts
- Human factors (recognizing human factors that affect workers)
- Safety management systems
- Technical data
- Project management and risk management
The prime candidates to seek certification to the AS9110 standard are FAA 145 certified repair stations. Those seeking Parts Manufacturing Approval (PMA) from the FAA to manufacture aircraft parts and components are also likely to seek AS9110 certification. However, AS9110 applies for any MRO organization in the aircraft industry that wishes to adopt a comprehensive quality system focused on areas directly impacting product safety and reliability.
Organizations that successfully establish and implement AS9110 can benefit from a solid quality management system that will boost their performance by:
- Providing access to the best practices of the aerospace industry
- Identifying and maintaining authority requirements
- Meeting or exceeding customer requirements through a system of continual improvement
- Ensures the airworthiness, integrity, and safety of the products that are brought back into service
Those organizations who decide to be certified in AS9110 will be listed in the Online Aerospace Supplier Information System (OASIS), the international database which publishes all aerospace quality certifications, which are required by many OEMs. This will undoubtedly expand any organization’s market and elevate their QMS to the global standard adopted by the aerospace industry.
To the novice quality manager, ISO jargon can be extremely overwhelming. What is an NCR? What do you mean by OFI? Are we certified or accredited? But before you go and pull out your hair, let’s take a moment to go over some of the most frequently used terms and their definitions with regards to ISO and Management System Certification.