Audit of Supplier who is working toward AS9100 certification

JaimeB

Starting to get Involved
#1
Good afternoon.

I work for a small aerospace engineering company who is working towards AS9100C certification.

As it stands currently, we have all documented procedures required by the standard, but the extent of implementation/awareness varies greatly.

A little background:
Before I was hired earlier this year, a consultant was hired who "developed" 15 procedures based on AS9100 Rev B. I was hired to distill these procedures into something that reflected actual practice within the company (keeping in mind AS9100 requirements). At the consultant's advice, we were trying to develop all of our procedures first, then provide formal training to everyone and commence the implementation. Once I finished the procedures required by the standard (with input from the consultant, as well as the staff here, including management approval), the consultant advised me that we would now begin working toward Rev C certification, which would require significant rework on ALL procedures (including the ones I developed, knowing full well we would never have a chance to certify to Rev B). :mad:

I don't have a background in Quality, but I have lurked around the cove for nearly 6 months and have received quite an education.:thanks:

To top that off, we had a key person leave the company last month, and I was asked to put my work on the QMS on hold to temporarily fill the vacant role (without it, all work would come to a screeching halt - no bueno for anyone).

A customer is coming to audit us next week. We've done business with them before, and we're pretty much a sole supplier for what they buy from us.

I need advice on how to handle this audit. Once I am able to work on the QMS again, I anticipate taking another 6 months or so to get everything in order, processes refined, internal audits taking place, etc, but obviously the auditor does not want to hear how good my intentions are. They want to see objective evidence - which we have very little of.

My plan was to show them the procedures in draft form, give them an idea of what our implementation plan is going to be, and find out which gaps they need us to address first.

Does anyone have any insight or suggestions for me on how to approach this without looking like a maroon?

Thanks in advance!
 
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Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#2
Have an implementation project plan and offer to update them on your progress every 4 to 6 months. Be honest and sincere. If the plan falters at any point, have a writeup on why the plan is running behind or is stalled. Not much else I can think of that you can do.

BTW - I hope you have confidence in your consultant. Something sounds fishy to me: "...the consultant advised me that we would now begin working toward Rev C certification, which would require significant rework on ALL procedures..."
 

JaimeB

Starting to get Involved
#3
Thank you for your response...you have allayed some of my fears, and confirmed my gut feeling that this consultant is either incompetent, doesn't care, or both. I was working to Rev C all along, and it wasn't until October she told me her input had been based on Rev B, not C. I was born at night, but not last night.

By the way - if I need to hire a new consultant, is it ok to post on this board? I've reached out to some local ASQ members but haven't heard back.
 
D

dkusleika

#4
I had a very similar situation a couple of years ago. Our quality manager was downsized and another engineer was tasked with quality. After it was clear that it wasn't moving forward, it was assigned to me. It had been pretty stagnant for a while. Then two customers came to "audit" us and I was quality manager.

The first thing I did was to get the sales guy for those customers there. I also convinced our CEO to be there. Having this kind of fire power impressed the customers, I think. And the sales guy was ready to spin anything that needed spinning - although that turned out to be unnecessary.

I thought we would get grilled. We were on our way to certification, but no progress had been made in six months. How was I going to explain that? They didn't really care. They did their observations and due diligence and I'm 100% sure that they would have done the exact same thing if we had a certificate on the wall. They asked us when we were going to be certified, and we gave them our best guess, but they didn't look at documents, records, management reviews, or anything like that. They looked at manufacturing stuff. They didn't care what our ESD procedure said, but they looked at our static control mats. They didn't care what our Preservation of Product procedure looked like, but they looked at the expiration dates of our raw materials. They didn't even ask if we had a Control of Nonconforming Product procedure, but they looked closely at how we segregated nonconforming product.

It seems obvious in retrospect, but they weren't performing a certification audit. They focused on the stuff that was important to them - stuff they thought would determine if we shipped them a decent product or not. And, in my opinion, they would have done the exact same thing if we were certified or not. They've been through the certification audit. They know the difference between one auditor and another can be great. They know that a cert auditor can't possibly see everything he would want to see. They also know that the cert auditor may not place the same importance on certain areas that they would.

I only have the information you've given me, so take this for what it's worth: I think you tell them your story. You're working diligently on certification. Some unexpected turnover has affected your timeline. And you're happy to show them whatever they want to see. I'll bet they don't ask to see a single document. But they will ask you a lot of questions about the areas that are important to them. Good luck.
 

Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Staff member
Super Moderator
#5
Good afternoon.

I work for a small aerospace engineering company who is working towards AS9100C certification.

As it stands currently, we have all documented procedures required by the standard, but the extent of implementation/awareness varies greatly.

A little background:
Before I was hired earlier this year, a consultant was hired who "developed" 15 procedures based on AS9100 Rev B. I was hired to distill these procedures into something that reflected actual practice within the company (keeping in mind AS9100 requirements). At the consultant's advice, we were trying to develop all of our procedures first, then provide formal training to everyone and commence the implementation. Once I finished the procedures required by the standard (with input from the consultant, as well as the staff here, including management approval), the consultant advised me that we would now begin working toward Rev C certification, which would require significant rework on ALL procedures (including the ones I developed, knowing full well we would never have a chance to certify to Rev B). :mad:

I don't have a background in Quality, but I have lurked around the cove for nearly 6 months and have received quite an education.:thanks:

To top that off, we had a key person leave the company last month, and I was asked to put my work on the QMS on hold to temporarily fill the vacant role (without it, all work would come to a screeching halt - no bueno for anyone).

A customer is coming to audit us next week. We've done business with them before, and we're pretty much a sole supplier for what they buy from us.

I need advice on how to handle this audit. Once I am able to work on the QMS again, I anticipate taking another 6 months or so to get everything in order, processes refined, internal audits taking place, etc, but obviously the auditor does not want to hear how good my intentions are. They want to see objective evidence - which we have very little of.

My plan was to show them the procedures in draft form, give them an idea of what our implementation plan is going to be, and find out which gaps they need us to address first.

Does anyone have any insight or suggestions for me on how to approach this without looking like a maroon?

Thanks in advance!
It appears that you Management System is immature, so if/when you have the Stage 1 audit, the Lead Auditor will discuss with you if you are ready for Stage 2 (Registration Assessment) and if you are able to make the necessary corrections to the Organization. I would consider a pre-assessment audit when you feel that the organization is ready. This will assist you in identifying any possible holes in the Management System, prior to Stage 1.

As for the Customer's audit...I would talk to your Customer and explain that the Management System has just been established, and maybe waiting until you have completed 1 Internal audit cycle, and management reviews. The customer may choose to postpone their 2nd party audit until after the system has been in place. But, that is their decision.

As for the consultant, I am with Marc on this...something is wrong with this picture. Since Rev C has been out for over a year and registrars are now performing upgrade assessments. The consultant should have been aware of this and it should not have been any surprise. Be careful.

Just my opinion.
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#6
Quote:

"Before I was hired earlier this year, a consultant was hired who "developed" 15 procedures based on AS9100 Rev B. I was hired to distill these procedures into something that reflected actual practice within the company (keeping in mind AS9100 requirements). At the consultant's advice, we were trying to develop all of our procedures first, then provide formal training to everyone and commence the implementation. Once I finished the procedures required by the standard (with input from the consultant, as well as the staff here, including management approval), the consultant advised me that we would now begin working toward Rev C certification, which would require significant rework on ALL procedures (including the ones I developed, knowing full well we would never have a chance to certify to Rev B)."

IMO, this is bassackwards. You should start with your actual practice and look to improve the procedures while at the same time address any AS compliance issues you identify. I would also implement and train on the revised procedures one at a time, starting with the highest priority one. Done this way, your training and implementation become so much easier. You can also show progress.

As for your customer audit, I would be less concerned about a documented procedure and more concerned that your actual process is "compliant." Take a quick look for any major gaps in key processes. If you have been supplying them for a while without problems, you probably have most of the requirements in place. If you have had problems, rejections, etc., make sure your corrective actions are still implemented. Let them take the lead and address each issue as they come up. Good luck.
 
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