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ASL - Buying from unqualified manufacturers through qualified distributors

I work at an AS9100 certified Aerospace Company, which has changed hands quite a few times so our process owners have rotated through the years. Our current ASL (Approved Supplier List) contains a combination of suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors. Many of the manufactures have dropped to the “Unapproved” status due to a mere lack of audits & surveys. However, most of the material we buy are through distributors (like Fastenal), who are “Approved” on our ASL. Then we have situations where the manufacturers were never on the ASL, but since the distributor is, we buy through the distributors. I have no idea if the distributors are doing the due diligence to qualify and maintain the manufacturers internally to them, but I doubt it. Our Supplier Quality department doesn’t know, and in fact believes that as long as we buy from approved distributors on the ASL, we are somehow “covered”. Granted, we are getting certs, CoCs and good traceability, but that’s besides the point. If we want to buy from a new, unknown manufacturer, and just buy through distributors, how are we assured that the new manufacturer is compliant to a a standard SQMS, or meet the intent of AS9100 even? Are we not obligated to have the manufacturers approved on our ASL (through surveys, audits, and qualification) regardless of how we purchase from them?

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Good day Cativo. I am sorry about the delay in this response.

I work in medical instrument field, not aerospace. But I can tell you that many fasteners sold through Fastenal etc. in fact are not required to have PPAPs etc., it is based on an evaluation of their criticality.

Aerospace may be an exception to this based on how critical fasteners can be. You will need to look at interested parties' requirements, including regulatory, and go from there to establish your critical parts list and update your ASL based on that.

I hope this helps!
Your PO to the distributor should specify (flow down) what you need with respect to what your customer's requirements are and the distributor has to certify to it.
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