The Launch of AS9100 Rev C Will Make Firms More Competitive

The International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) released a revision to AS9100, the quality management system (QMS) for the aviation, space and defense industries.  But, unlike the recent release of ISO 9001:2008 (which was more of an amended version), Revision C will have considerably more impact.  Its benefits, however, far outweigh the impact of implementation.  The new requirements are intended to make significant improvements in quality and reductions in cost – throughout the value stream.The Standard’s payload includes several new requirements and clauses that focus on planning, project management, and risk management.  Its trajectory will also traverse on-time delivery performance, the formal monitoring of customer satisfaction trends, and formal plans to ensure continual improvement – all are mission critical.  IAQG’s mission is to dramatically raise the on-time, on-quality delivery (OTOQD) performance across all three business sectors.BackgroundTo do business in aerospace today, you need to comply with AS9100, the international standard for aerospace quality.  AS9100 now includes the requirements of the ISO 9001:2008 Standard, plus additional requirements imposed by the aerospace, aviation and defense industries.  AS9100 places additional emphasis on structured design and validation methodologies, configuration management, and identification and traceability.IAQG is the lead organization responsible for revisions.  The first draft of the AS9100 revision was developed in July 2007, after considerable inputs from stakeholders.  A coordination draft was sent to all stakeholders in November 2007.  The IAQG 9100 Team met in April 2008 to address all comments.  The formal ballot draft was released in May, and the official release was on January 15, 2009.The IAQG 9100 team consists of eighteen members representing Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific IAQG Sectors.  Among the various stakeholders are:  Civil aviation authorities, defense and space industry and authorities, certification/registration bodies, trade associations and IAQG member companies.Transitioning to AS9100CTransition details are still being finalized.  We expect that both revisions will remain current for over 2½ years.  IAQG has proposed a maximum thirty month implementation schedule from date of publication.  Unfortunately, it is not quite that simple.  The reason is because AS9101D, the Quality Management Systems Assessment Standard, has not yet been approved.This Assessment Standard is currently being revised in order to simplify it, and to make it easier to facilitate a value-added, process-based audit.  Changes are expected to be rather significant.  And it isn’t until this sister Standard is approved, that the approximate six-month development period (for sanctioned courseware to train third-party auditors on the revised standards) can even begin.If the AS9101 Standard is released in the next several months (Q1 or Q2) – and if it takes about six-months to develop sanctioned training materials – it probably will be Q4-2009 or Q1-2010 before any certification body can audit to the AS9100C Standard.  So, third-party auditors can’t do anything until the AS9101 Standard is also launched, and the sanctioned training materials are released to the certification bodies.Once the Assessment Standard has been released, the primary thrust of the first six months will be to develop auditor training materials.  The challenge for the next twelve months will be to train the certification bodies and auditors.  This suggests that the earliest opportunity for organizations to be registered to the new Standard (early adopters) will be about six months from publication of AS9101D.During the next twelve months, all organizations that have not opted for early adoption will need to upgrade to the new Standard at their next surveillance audit or re-certification.  So, it appears that the maximum allowed time to upgrade will be thirty months from publication of AS9101D, and any certifications that are still to AS9100B will no longer be valid.  Detailed transitioning requirements will be available at or around the time AS9101 is officially released.Overview of the ChangesRevision C changes include expansion of the scope to include “Aviation, Space and Defense,” changes to the design specification, greater focus on planning and project management, and additional emphasis on risk management and mitigation.  Keep in mind that ISO 9001:2008 changes have also been incorporated.Additionally, two new terms were introduced – special requirements, and critical items.  Special requirements are those identified by the customer, or determined by the organization, that have high risks to being achieved.  Critical items (e.g. processes, characteristics, parts, software, etc.) are those that have a significant effect on product realization and use of the product.These changes present new challenges to those working to the AS9100 Standard.  For example, emphasis on risk management serves to reduce liability and costs associated with “escapes,” as well as to obviate costs associated with remediation (that might also include litigation).  Essentially it requires organizations to establish a process for managing risks to achieve customer, statutory and regulatory requirements.Other implementation benefits include measuring, analyzing and improving product quality and on-time delivery performance, and the formal monitoring of customer satisfaction data and trends.  Also, improvement plans will be needed to ensure continual improvement.  Understanding and embracing these changes will better position your organization for growth and profitability.The Path ForwardThis is a good time to evaluate the overall effectiveness of your current quality (business) management system.  If you are not measuring on-time delivery performance and customer satisfaction trends, do so, and don’t wait.  This is no time to procrastinate – it just makes good business sense.If you want to brush-up on project management and be better prepared to address the new clause (7.1.1), ISO 10006:2003 QMS – Guidelines for Quality Management in Projects can be used as an information resource on how to apply project management, using ISO 9001′s principles and structure.In addition, we encourage you to visit the official IAQG website at http://www.iaqg.org for additional information.  And if you come across any articles by L.L. “Buddy” Cressionnie, read these.  He is the Americas lead for the IAQG 9100 Team.  Visit the SAE International website as well at http://www.sae.org for related useful information.  Just click on “aerospace.”Also, obtain a copy of the AS9100C Standard. Copies can be purchased from your national standards body, ANSI, in the United States, SAE International, or from the American Society for Quality.  Remember, this standard includes ISO 9001:2008 QMS requirements and specifies additional aerospace, aviation, and defense QMS requirements – shown in bold, italic text.One last thought.  AS9100C provides the framework for a fundamental business model.  It is the foundation from which to build a competitive, customer-centric enterprise.  If you think it’s just another standard that can be taken lightly, think again.  It makes a strong business case.  And that translates to improved business results, and a sustainable competitive advantage.  It’s a matter of survival!

Business Productivity on Vacation – Sure It’s Possible, Just Leave Your Personal Tech At Home

Interestingly enough, I live in a resort city, and snowbirds come here on vacation. It seems I can barely go to the local Starbucks without meeting someone I’ve never met before, from some exotic and faraway place. Having been to every single city in the United States by way of motor home over a seven year period, I’ve been a lot of places, however, every once in a while I meet someone from a rather interesting place with an interesting story to tell.

In the last few weeks, I’ve met several people who were on vacation, but they were also making them a work vacation, and trying to get some business related project done of theirs. One individual admitted to me that they didn’t take any other personal tech devices with them, and even asked me for directions, because they had left their iPad and smart phone at home. They just didn’t want anyone to contact them from work, because they were strategizing and coming up with new ideas and plans to help in their company. This made it awkward to get around town and find things, but they said it was heavenly not having the minute to minute barrage of incessant information flow from work.

They did admit that they were having a challenge because all of their information flow had stopped, and now couldn’t believe how much free time they had even when they were intensely working on this special business project of theirs. Indeed, I met another individual, who was on vacation, and he did take some of personal tech productivity tools from work with him, when he tried to get away to work on a project, but he was flustered and frustrated because folks that he’d been consulting with at work were asking him what to do, because they were at a loss while he was out of the picture. Such is the challenge of management?

This individual had told me after I asked him; “why are you thinking so hard,” because he looked perplexed – that the folks at work were launching a new project, and they had their priorities all messed up, and in the wrong order. In other words, it could turn into a disaster if he didn’t help them fix the problem. Worse, he was on vacation, and he was trying to get some work done on his own. He just didn’t have time for this. I mentioned that another person I’d met left all their personal tech devices at home when they went on their productivity work vacation.

He indeed also thought that was a great idea, and wished that he’d done just that himself. Therefore, maybe you should consider all this and think on it if you need to get out of the office and away to get some solid and productive working and thinking time in on some important project you must complete.

Lucrative Product Launching – 8 Steps to Product Launching

Perhaps the most exciting part of product creation and development is the much awaited launch itself. This is a very important aspect since this will formally introduce your product to the market. There are so many ways on how to organize the launching of your product. Here are eight effective steps:

1. Plan way ahead of time. The ideal lead time is at least three months before the formal product launch. This is to give you enough time to contact the needed suppliers, caterers and other people that may play important roles during the product launch.

2. Build up interest for your product and create a need for your product. At least a few weeks before the product launch, a certain need should be developed. Your product should serve as “final answer” to that need.

3. Tap resources. What do you need during the launch? Will you need caterers, resource speakers and sound equipment? Figure out how and where you can get those needs.

4. Get a publicist. This person will aid your media relations needs and to build up interest for your product in the tri-media.

5. Put up a website about your product. This will help formally introduce your product to the market.

6. Offer discounts to people who will pre-order your product. Again, this can help boost interest and word of mouth for your product. Offer irresistible discounts to make sure that many people will place early orders.

7. Develop flyers, business cards, media advertisements and email flyers. Use these to promote your product as well as the date of the formal launching of your product.

8. Announce the date of the product launch at least two weeks prior. This is enough lead time for people to check out your website, flyers and other marketing collaterals.