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AS9100 - Where to start - Small company (10 employees) and I am the Quality Dept.


Starting to get Involved
Hello! This is my first post and its a doosie!

I work for a small company(10 employees) and I am the Quality Dept. I have been tasked with readying the company for the Aerospace standard.

Looking for any suggestions from the group as to where do I start? I know I can buy templates of the web but not sure if that is worth the cost.

Thanks in advance,



Involved In Discussions

First, order the AS9100D standard itself.

Second, take a look at some free templates.

That's a good start, then just revise it to meet what you want your QMS to do.
I didn't use this (reference removed), but I did use the Risk Management tool from it, with some additions.

Good Luck!
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Captain Nice
Staff member
Please read discussions here on Canned Document systems. Remember - Canned "systems"documents are NOT a replacement for not fully understanding the requirements and your existing internal systems.

Some Canned Document package reviews: ISO 9001 Reviews and Resources


Involved In Discussions
Yeah, I agree with Marc about the Canned "systems", they can be quite "sucky", but some of the forms can be helpful. Like I said, I didn't use one, except for one of the forms. The rest, I liked what I had already developed better.
While reading the standard is great, I think you need to do some leg work learning about a QMS in general. Find some books which will give you an overview -- ISO in plain english is one. Search the web for some power point presentations about the updates. Read this entire site -- ok not the whole site but spend a week on here and you'll learn more than enough. Good luck.

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator

Understand how your company interacts with its customers, suppliers and regulators to understand and fulfill the needs of your customers within the scope of your services and products.

Do this with your top management to determine your company’s mission (it may go beyond customer needs to include other stakeholders) and the processes that are essential to the fulfillment of the mission. Having listed the key processes agree with the TM who best understands each of these processes.

From these sessions you should be able to show what your company does to convert the needs of its customers into cash in the bank (to run the business and invest in improvements). You’ll also be able to describe the interactions of the company with its suppliers and customers and between its key processes.

By determining the key processes you’ll also where the company invests its time and resources in assessing and determining risks that are managed by TM, your colleagues and yourself in fulfilling the mission.

Then study AS9100 some more to determine any missing controls of existing processes and any missing processes from your organization working as a system to fulfill its mission.

You may find lead auditor training useful for honing your skills in questioning, listening and evaluating evidence of control.

Then work with each of the process owners to capture (document) their process and its interactions (search for SIPOC here). Have PDCA in mind when you do this to capture what is done to prevent problems. Ask the process owners to obtain as-is review comments from those across several functions who make the process work (aka process team) in fulfilling its objectives. Design any missing controls and new processes carefully with the process owner and then ensure training follows for the people to become competent in running the new control or process effectively. Auditing often is an example of a new process.

Ask TM to launch their management system so they show their commitment to it or call this system the teamwork system for wider buy-in - adjust this according to the culture of your company.

Please let us know how you do.

Good luck,



Quality Manager
Do you have a time frame yet?

I've had the chance to do this a couple times from the ground up now, two shops with 10 and 8 employees and no quality management system. One shop is now pretty big, give me a year and I'll tell you how the other one is :). I promise there is light at the end of the tunnel! I would definitely start by getting a current copy of the standard and pouring over it. I would avoid package deals that try to shortcut things, you want to build your QMS around your company not the other way around.

If you're fortunate enough to have a decent "Internal Auditor" class for AS9100D nearby I would encourage that. You can check technology centers and vocational schools. I've also done the "Lead Auditor" class for AS9100D and I think the internal one would help you get familiar with the standard without digging too far too soon. Getting the right 3rd party register can also help. If you'd like the name of one I like feel free to send me a private message.

Also, know that when you eventually pull the trigger on certification you will have a Stage I audit and a Stage II audit. And they don't have to be scheduled back to back. The Stage I can be a nice gap analysis with a little bit of time to get ready before the Stage II. I forget what the max time between them is. I'd guess 2-4 months but hopefully someone that knows for sure can chime in.

There are also consultants available if the company is willing. Some are awesome and worth every penny and some are not. I also know of one and if you'd like her contact information just send me a message. So much of what the standard requires is good business practice stuff that shops do every day. A lot of what we do is just getting that wording translated to every day practice. You'll get familiar with the language as you go.


Involved In Discussions
Im in a similar situation, as a company we are looking to receive AS9100D accreditation over the next twelve months and are starting to fill the gaps. The difficulty we have here is the movement in the management areas we have had to fulfill required roles. I have for the past two years been the health and safety manager here and due to resignation and retirement gaps here have been left at a critical time. I have 20 years experience as an electroplater and conversation coater as well as my nebosh qualifications so have been moved in to the quality side as a team of one at the moment with part two of our gap analysis next week and only doing the job for four weeks. I have the standards I have the gap analysis and Im learning quickly but if anyone has any learning tools or such or advice on manipulating AERO DNA ERP, I would love the advice.

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