The Aerospace Supply Chain: Why AS9100 certification matters

In a recent blog post, we looked at ISO 9001 and the reasons why certification is a big “pro” among prospective logistics providers.  In the regulation-heavy world of the aviation, space, and defense (AS&D) industry, however, adherence to quality management system (QMS) standards begins to look less like a pro and more like a necessity.  So, in this post, we’ll examine these AS9100 standards and their importance within the aerospace supply chain.

What are AS9100 Standards?

The AS9100 quality management system (QMS) standards are an extension of ISO 9001 standards that are specific to the AS&D industry.  Both sets of standards have been created by independent international organizations to define expertly-agreed-upon method(s) of performing a given task to ensure quality and consistency. AS9100 builds upon ISO 9001 by adding additional requirements from the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA, and the FAA.  These requirements include items related to AS&D-specific risk management, product configuration, design verification and validation, supplier performance, and product monitoring and measurement.

Importantly, these standards do not replace any existing laws or regulations, but instead seek to optimize operations to ensure that all products and services are safe and reliable.

Who Must Adhere to AS9100 Standards?

Like other QMS standards, adherence to AS9100 is voluntary so no one “must” adhere to them.  However, companies from every facet of the aerospace supply chain seek AS9100 certification to demonstrate compliance and a commitment to quality, safety, and reliability.  In fact, many large companies within the AS&D industry will simply not work with partners that are not AS9100-certified.  Companies that commonly seek certification include designers, developers, and manufacturers of products as well as companies that handle those products and parts after they are produced.

Why Should I Care if My Logistics Provider is AS9100-certified?

Becoming certified is not a walk in the park.  It typically involves months of training, followed by an audit process that is repeated at regular intervals.  So, when a company is AS9100-certified, it shows that they have ‘put their money where mouth is’ by buttoning up every single operation – from filing paperwork to producing a plane engine – to conform to strict quality, safety and reliability standards.

View Kanban’s aerospace logistics video

This is certainly true among logistics companies like third-party logistics providers (3PLs) who specialize in AS&D logistics.  Such 3PLs can handle a wide range of services such as warehousing, kitting, and parts procurement.  With AS9100-certification, you have the comfort of knowing that your 3PL will perform every aspect of each of these services in line with an exacting set of standards.  This gives you a precise definition of quality that will be repeated every time the function is performed – across every one of its facilities and among every one of its associates.

Such QMS standards are important in every industry, of course.  But they are especially vital within the aerospace industry, where every single component and function can affect the safety of untold numbers of people.  And, while AS9100 certification doesn’t necessarily guarantee that a 3PL provider will deliver quality, safety, and reliability at a higher level than its competitors, it does show that it has done everything in its power to do exactly that.

Kanban Aerospace Logistics

Kanban has long been certified in both ISO 9001:2008 and AS9100C, and is currently undergoing certification audits for ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D – the latest iterations of these standards.

These certifications reflect our unwavering commitment to quality service within the aerospace supply chain.  Highlights of our AD&D services include:

  • Supplier management and purchasing of packaging and consumable parts
  • Warehousing and packaging, with full visibility up to and including final delivery
  • Vendor-managed inventory services
  • Kit assembly and JIT delivery

To learn how Kanban’s commitment to quality can improve your AS&D supply chain, contact us today.


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