Home

AS Transition Guidance for Clients

The long awaited AS9104-1:2022 standard has been published along with the associated supplemental rule 004.

To remind you, this standard (which is also reference on your AS9100, AS9110 and AS9120 NQA issued certificate) addresses requirements for accreditation bodies (like ANAB – also listed on your certificate), certification bodies like NQA and certified companies like yourself. Though we will continue to conduct your audit to the AS9100, AS9110 or AS9120 standards as we have in the past, the way we go about it, how the auditors plan for it and the length of time we spend both onsite and off are governed by AS9104-1:2022. 

The supplemental rule previously mentioned is published in conjunction with this revised standard and defines the industry requirements for the implementation of AS9104:2022 such as timelines, expectations etc. all with an end goal of ensuring that this new standard is rolled out and adhered to by all interested parties to include yourselves.

In Summary

I am sure your first thought is ‘how does this affect my organization?’. In general, the new requirements in this standard mainly ensure consistency amongst certification bodies like NQA in how we apply the rules for certification audits. Most of these new requirements should be transparent to certified companies like yourselves. The two areas of change that you will notice though are:
  1. The need for additional information from you prior to each audit for determining the length of the audit

  2. Organizations with Campus, Several Site and Complex structures will transition to a Multisite structure

The following provides more detail on these 2 areas:

Changes that affect your audit structure, NQA audit planning and length of audit

AS9104:2022 introduces some new concepts and requirements. Many of these will have little effect on the 3rd party audit NQA conducts at your facility whereas others have a greater impact. The most significant of these changes concerns the information we gather in preparation of an audit and how it is used to determine permissible site structures, assists with audit planning and calculates audit time for the audit and the planning of the audit.
 
Addressing these most significant changes one at a time, the permissible site structures found in the current version of AS9104-1 include single site, multiple site, campus, several site  and complex. The new AS9104-1:2022 has simplified the site structures so that once implemented, all certified companies will either be single site or multiple site meaning companies who are currently classified as campus, several site or complex will be reidentified as a multiple site and a new certificate will be issued. If you are unsure what your structure is, your NQA certificate clearly identifies it.
 
AS9104-1:2022 requires that we consider much more information than we have in the past to assist your NQA auditor with audit planning.  With that information your NQA auditor will approach your audit with more focus on areas that need improvement so you can continue to meet the requirements of the AS9100, AS9110 and AS9120 standards.
 
Lastly, the time needed for the NQA auditor to conduct audit planning and the audit itself will be more reflective of the effectiveness of your quality system. Whereas the current version of AS9104-1 uses a very simplistic formula to calculate actual audit time the new AS9104-1:2022 standard requires that we collect more information to ensure that the length of the audit is commensurate with the effectiveness of your quality system, the complexity of your organization, levels of customer satisfaction etc. (see bulleted points below). In addition, this new standard will ensure that the auditor(s) will be afforded sufficient time to properly plan for the audit.

Preparation for AS9104-1:2022

The new version of AS9104-1 has progressed from just relying on employee head count as the main means to determine audit days to now include other inputs on your organizational structure and performance measures. 

Some of the information provided below will be answered by the NQA auditor based on past audit results whereas other information can be gleaned from the OASIS database or NQA’s database. But some of this information can only be attained from you, our customer. Ultimately responses to the questions below will be used by the auditor(s) and NQA office in preparation for your upcoming audits:
  • How robust your internal audit program is

  • The competency of your internal auditors

  • Your ethics program

  • Whether or not your company has a major NCR issued by NQA, customers, regulatory agencies etc. in the past 12 months

  • Whether or not your company has had a certificate suspension within the past 6 years

  • Whether or not your company has met customer satisfaction levels

  • The complexity of your organization

  • On time delivery

  • Conformance of delivered products/service to customers

  • Customer complaints

  • Effectiveness of your quality system as measured by your PEAR scores on previous audits

  • Processes excluded per site (for multiple site organizations)

  • Need for translators

  • Time needed to close out previous corrective actions

  • Integration of other standards (for those companies certified to a combination of AS9100, 9110 and 9120)

What is OCAP?

During this transition you will hear a new acronym ‘OCAP’ Organization Certification Analysis Process. The International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) has created a new method to take the organizational information from above and use it for determining audit days. The OCAP methodology is imbedded in the new AS9104/1:2022 standard and is set up in a way that it should not change historic audit length. The key addition though is that it does have modifiers for both good or poor performing quality systems.

We will apply the responses to the questions above to the OCAP calculation methodology found within AS9104/1:2022. The output of that calculation will produce both audit duration (the time from the opening meeting to the closing meeting) for each site along with audit time (additional time needed for report writing, audit planning etc.). Taken together, the audit duration plus the audit time represents the total time for required to conduct each audit for each site. Eventually it is expected that the OCAP tool/methodology will be found in the newest version of the OASIS database and will allow the auditor, customer and NQA office personnel to enter this information directly into that database.

Changes that directly affect certified organizations such as yours

AS9104/1:2022 does include new requirements for certified companies and adherence to those requirements will be evaluated by the NQA auditor. AS9104-1:2022 requires all AS9100, AS9110 and AS9120 customers to:
 
  • Provide notification to your aerospace, space and defense customers within 15 days of suspension

  • Allow NQA to publish public data (e.g., information on the AQMS certification and its status) and non-public data (e.g., audit results, assessment results, nonconformities, corrective action, scoring) in the OASIS database

  • Identify when there is a need to omit information that is proprietary or subject to restrictions, from the audit report, prior to the OASIS database entry

  • Appoint and maintain an administrator for the OASIS database

  • Support the audit process via direct input of data into the OASIS database, including online corrective action management

  • Either provide electronic access to audit results data contained in the OASIS database, or download and distribute audit results data to your aerospace, space and defense customers and regulatory authorities, upon request, unless justification can be provided (e.g., competition, confidentiality, conflict of interest).

  • Provide data required by this standard, to NQA prior to initial, surveillance, and recertification audits for the completion of the OCAP analysis

Timeline

NQA expects to be accredited to this new standard this summer. In accordance with the aforementioned supplemental rule, NQA will have 90 days from the time we are accredited to start applying the requirements of AS9104-1:2022 to our customer base. What that means is that we will begin collecting this information for any customer whose regularly scheduled audit starts later this year. We will then continue to collect this additional information approximately 90 days before your regularly scheduled audit until all of our customer have been issued new certificates under the requirements of AS9104-1:2022. Your certificate expiry date will not change though.

What should you do

Don’t Panic! We have been through transitions together before.  We know how do to do this and will guide you along the way.

Be on the lookout for additional future awareness information and communications later this summer approximately 90 days before your next scheduled audit. For the most part this will consist of us asking you some more questions about your quality system and your company.

Await the communications from the NQA office as we transition you to the requirements of AS9104-1:2022.