Should Quality be an independent organization in aerospace company?

Mango

Registered
#1
Hello all,

I am working in Aerospace company (AS9100D certified). We make parts for Boeing, RR, Triumph, Bombardier, MOOG, etc.
My company's top management is trying to move one of the inspection teams from Quality organization to Operations organization. I am trying to convince them that Quality functions should operate independently from Operations and should report to Quality Manager.
I am struggling to find any written regulatory/customer requirement to back me up. As of right now it is my opinion VS theirs.
I was hoping to get your support in finding such a requirement.

I will appreciate any help.

Thanks in advance!
 
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Sidney Vianna

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Staff member
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#3
I am struggling to find any written regulatory/customer requirement to back me up.
I doubt you will find it. It is not even in FAA Part 21.

Actually, more and more aerospace companies are getting away from the old-school approach of "independent inspection". One of the IAQG developed Standards is AS9162- Operator Self-Verification Programs, which shows that the industry allows for production personnel to accept their own work, based on certain conditions.

Quality that is not cost-effective is not sustainable. Gone are the days of an army of "independent inspectors" accepting or rejecting hardware around the organizations. It is a cultural shift for most organizations. In your situation, I would do a SWOT with your site leadership on the risks and opportunities associated with inspection reporting to Operations, but, be aware, chances are inspectors will go the way of T-Rex...more and more quality (including product conformity) is becoming the responsibility of the people who actually make the parts.
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#4
It is irrelevant. At some point both "quality" and "operations" meet at one person. If there is a dispute, that person will make the call. The best thing is to integrate the quality mindset into operations so there is never a dispute. Good luck.
 

optomist1

A Sea of Statistics
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#5
Aero, Auto, etc...Quality should be a separate orgainization...only then can it be the unbiased arbitor of quality, safety regulatory issues...no undue influence.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
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#6
Aero, Auto, etc...Quality should be a separate orgainization...only then can it be the unbiased arbitor of quality, safety regulatory issues...no undue influence.
That mindset promotes the concept of quality as a policing function. In my opinion and experience, that’s an archaic, losing approach. If the corporate culture doesn’t understand how quality is achieved, it really does not matter if quality is “independent” or not.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#7
Quality is best done by the people doing the work when they are planning and doing their work.

These days quality professionals advise top management on the development of their organization as a system to support everyone in delivering quality work.

Leadership is probably the most important part of that system.
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#9
As others have said I know of no standard that requires separation.

The culture (and thus leadership) are the keys. This unified approach is the ideal, but IMO will only work well when the culture is right and leadership truly and always walk the talk. If the Manufacturing guys are allowed to look at this kind of unification as an opportunity for the fox to be in charge of the henhouse, thus giving them free reign to enjoy a diet of free chicken whenever they want, it will be a disaster.

If the culture is not right, QA has to “battle” and the degree to which the culture is poisonous is directly proportional to how often a battle takes place.
 
#10
I'd go as far as to suggest that "Quality Assurance" as a department isn't needed. "Quality Management" (of processes) as a function, shared across a number of functions is what we should be aiming for in business. Plenty of organizations perform very well without a "Quality" title in the place.
 
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