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!

The Power of Happy Employees: Boosting Productivity through Satisfaction

This synergy between satisfaction, engagement, and productivity is a dynamic force that can significantly impact the bottom line. In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the profound connection between employee satisfaction and productivity, shedding light on how organizations can harness this power. We’ll also touch upon the importance of tools like the employee engagement survey in understanding and enhancing these critical factors.

The Happy Employee Phenomenon
Before we dive into the correlation between satisfaction and productivity, let’s first understand the concept of the “happy employee.” A happy employee is not just someone who enjoys their job; they are enthusiastic about their work, feel valued, and are emotionally connected to their organization. A happy employee is satisfied with their role, the workplace environment, and the company culture. They find meaning and purpose in what they do.

Happy employees exhibit several traits:

High Motivation: Happy employees are self-motivated. They take ownership of their tasks, proactively seek solutions, and put in extra effort to achieve their goals.
Improved Focus: Employee satisfaction often goes hand in hand with improved focus and concentration. Satisfied employees are less likely to be distracted, resulting in higher productivity.
Strong Commitment: When employees are happy with their work, they are more committed to their organization’s success. They have a sense of ownership and are more likely to stay with the company for the long term.
Enhanced Creativity: Contented employees are more creative and innovative. They are open to new ideas, willing to experiment, and contribute to the company’s growth.
Better Communication: Happy employees tend to communicate more effectively, both with their colleagues and management. This improved communication streamlines processes and fosters collaboration.
Increased Resilience: Satisfied employees are more resilient in the face of challenges. They are better equipped to handle stress and adversity, leading to more consistent productivity.
The Link Between Employee Satisfaction and Productivity
The relationship between employee satisfaction and productivity is a two-way street. Satisfied employees are generally more productive, and increased productivity, in turn, contributes to their job satisfaction. Here’s how these two factors interconnect:

Motivation: Satisfied employees are more motivated to perform their best. They derive fulfillment from their work, which translates into increased effort and better results.
Reduced Absenteeism: Happy employees are less likely to take unscheduled absences. Their job satisfaction leads to better attendance, resulting in consistent productivity.
Lower Turnover: Job satisfaction is a significant factor in employee retention. When employees are happy, they are more likely to stay with the organization, reducing the costs and disruptions associated with turnover.
Collaboration: Satisfied employees are more likely to engage in positive interactions with colleagues. This collaborative environment fosters efficient teamwork and problem-solving, enhancing overall productivity.
Creativity and Innovation: Job satisfaction stimulates creativity and innovation. Employees who enjoy their work are more willing to think outside the box and contribute new ideas, which can lead to process improvements and increased productivity.
Quality of Work: Happy employees are more focused on the quality of their work. Their attention to detail, dedication, and sense of ownership translate to higher-quality output.
Customer Satisfaction: Satisfied employees often provide better customer service. Happy, engaged employees are more likely to create positive interactions with clients, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Using Employee Engagement Surveys to Measure Satisfaction
Understanding employee satisfaction and its impact on productivity requires effective measurement and analysis. Employee engagement surveys are a valuable tool in this regard. These surveys are designed to collect feedback from employees about their work experience, job satisfaction, and engagement levels.

Here’s how employee engagement surveys can be instrumental in gauging employee satisfaction and productivity:

Collecting Data: Employee engagement surveys collect quantitative and qualitative data from employees. These surveys ask questions about job satisfaction, workplace culture, relationships with colleagues and supervisors, and overall engagement.
Identifying Areas of Improvement: The survey results provide valuable insights into areas where employees are most and least satisfied. Organizations can identify specific issues that need attention to improve satisfaction and, consequently, productivity.
Benchmarking: Employee engagement surveys allow organizations to benchmark their results against industry standards or previous survey results. This benchmarking helps in understanding where the organization stands in terms of employee satisfaction.
Monitoring Changes Over Time: Conducting regular employee engagement surveys enables organizations to monitor changes in satisfaction and engagement levels over time. This information can help assess the impact of improvement initiatives.
Developing Action Plans: Employee engagement surveys provide the data needed to develop actionable plans for improvement. Organizations can create strategies and initiatives to address specific areas of concern and enhance satisfaction and productivity.
Strategies to Enhance Employee Satisfaction and Productivity
Now that we’ve established the powerful correlation between employee satisfaction and productivity, let’s explore some strategies that organizations can implement to enhance both aspects:

Recognition and Appreciation: Acknowledge and appreciate employees’ efforts and achievements. Recognition programs can boost morale and job satisfaction.
Professional Development: Offer opportunities for skill development and career advancement. Employees who see growth potential are more likely to be satisfied and engaged.

Products and Services That Can Benefit Through Cartoon Character Licensing

There are many products and services that can benefit through cartoon character licensing. In this article I would like to discuss some examples and hopefully give entrepreneurs a spark of inspiration.NurseriesIf you run a nursery or a childcare centre, you might want to consider licensing the rights to use an endearing cartoon character to be your brand mascot. Having an identifiable brand with a cute cartoon character for a mascot will really make kids fall in love with your establishment. And if you run your business right, you can later leverage on the brand recognition the cartoon character has created for you to develop a franchise.Credit Cards Corporate looking credit cards are boring. They might be suitable for corporate folks, but how about the younger population? University and even college students are finding the ability to earn decent money even before graduation these days and many of them can afford to own a credit card. At this age, it is safe to say that they would prefer a cool or ‘kewl’looking card as opposed to the corporate-looking one. The clever usage of a suitable cartoon character on a credit card can do wonders for its application rate as proven by Asian countries like Hongkong, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. The same principle can be applied too to membership cards for stores selling merchandise catering to such a demography.Books Whether you are writing a storybook for kids, a puzzle game book, a music training book, a book on parental guidance, or even a self-help guide for adults, consider licensing a cartoon character. Cartoon characters don’t always have to look childish or cute. They can also look quirky and different (think the Simpsons). Use the right character for the right product, and for the right demography. You can’t go wrong with that. The thing is, books that have a strong identity sell better, and what better way to do that than using a suitable character to help you establish that identity? As an author, you can look forward to establishing a book series using the character as a series mascot if you plan ahead and your first book sells well enough.Greeting Cards Cartoon characters work very well on products that carry a message and greeting cards is one such product. Pretty pictures of sceneries are just so passé. Since greeting cards are meant to convey a message and warm the heart, why not have a character with the right appeal and attitude do the job?Clothing and Apparels If you are launching a new clothing or apparels line for kids or young adults, you might want to consider using cartoon characters to improve the aesthetic quality and brand appeal of your merchandise. A suitable character with the right look for your product can really sky-rocket its sales.Toys, Novelties and Stationery There is an increasing number of toys, novelties and stationery designed for tweens and young adults flooding the market. Innovation and aesthetic cuteness are the key factors driving sales for these merchandise. For the cute factor, nothing beats a cartoon character.In all the examples above I would like to stress that I support the licensing of lesser-known characters as opposed to the more famous characters. I share my views regarding this in another article. If you visit my website or search on the internet for ‘Character Licensing for Your Product? Forget Mickey and Bob!’ you would be able to find the article.