The Aerospace Supply Chain: Why AS9100 certification matters

In the regulation-heavy world of the aviation, space, and defense (AS&D) industry, adherence to quality management system (QMS) standards is a necessity. This applies not only to suppliers and manufacturers, but also to service providers throughout the aerospace supply chain. In this article, we’ll examine a common QMS certification, AS9100, and explain why it’s important that your chosen warehouse provider meets these standards.


What are AS9100 Standards in Aerospace Logistics?

logistics in manufacturing industryThe 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 tasks to ensure quality and consistency.

AS9100 standards were formulated in 1999 by the Society of Automotive Engineers and the European Association of Aerospace Industries. 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. 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 it has  ‘put its money where its 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.

This is certainly true among third-party logistics providers (3PLs) who specialize in aerospace supply chain services. 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 its services in line with an exacting set of standards, informed by a precise definition of quality that will be repeated every time a given function is performed.

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.


Advantages of Working with an AS9100-certified 3PL

Working with a warehousing provider that is AS9100 certified can offer several advantages for businesses in the aerospace industry, including:

  1. Quality assurance: By working with an AS9100 certified warehousing provider, businesses can be confident that their products will be handled and stored in accordance with the highest quality standards.
  2. Compliance with regulations: As AS9100 is informed by industry regulations and standards, businesses can be sure that their products are being handled and stored in compliance with these regulations.
  3. Increased efficiency: An AS9100-certified warehousing provider will have processes in place to ensure that products are handled and stored efficiently, minimizing the risk of errors or delays.
  4. Risk mitigation: With a focus on quality and compliance, businesses can reduce the risk of product damage or loss, as well as the risk of regulatory non-compliance.
  5. Competitive advantage: Many businesses in the aerospace industry require their suppliers and partners to be AS9100 certified. By working with an AS9100-certified warehousing provider, businesses can position themselves as reliable and trusted partners, giving them a competitive advantage in the market.


Kanban Aerospace Logistics

Kanban has long been certified in both ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D. 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 support your aerospace supply chain, contact us today.

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