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Production Process Verification Past, Present and Future

20 August 2020
There seems to be some industry confusion regarding AS9100, clause on Production Process Verification (PPV) regarding the history of the requirement, whether compliance to AS9102 is required, new requirements in AS9100D, and synergies with AS9145.

Background on clause, PPV

Early versions of AS9100 included a requirement for the organization’s system to provide a process for First Article Inspection (FAI) in clause 4.10.6 using the old 20-element model and then using the 8-section model. These early versions included a NOTE referring to 9102 for guidance. There was a significant misunderstanding of this requirement.

This requirement was to provide a process for FAI and there was no requirement to implement that process unless the organization had a contractual requirement. This was the only AS9100 published requirement that just required a process and not implementation. Users also believed that AS9102 compliance was required due to the reference in the NOTE. Of course, NOTEs are for guidance in understanding and clarifying the associated requirement.
The 9100 Writing Team believed there was benefit to the industry to make a FAI type requirement mandatory for implementation, moved the requirement to clause in AS9100C and changed the clause title to Production Process Verification. The move acknowledges that this requirement is not primarily a measuring and monitoring process, but a process that will be used to assure product realization capability under controlled conditions.

Being in clause 7 also allows justifiable exclusion for unique and individual products. Previously covered by clause FAI (under monitoring and measurements), these requirements have been moved into clause 7 to emphasize that they are integral to the production part of the lifecycle-confirming that production processes are capable of consistently producing products that meet requirements.

The title was changed and the reference to AS9102 was removed to avoid confusion that AS9102 compliance was required. Obviously AS9102 compliance is a means of meeting this requirement but not the only acceptable approach. Moving Production Process Verification under clause 7 now allowed organizations to take a justified exclusion if it did not apply to their organization.
During the last AS9100 revision, it was viewed that PPV was effective to ensure compliance with requirements but did not consider the process ability to meet customer requirements. Is the process repeatable to meet capacity requirements demanded by the customer regarding deliveries? Is the process in control in yielding conforming products to meet customer requirements and not create escapes?

Some AS9145 tools can be used to meet these new requirements. But there are alternative methods of compliance including assessment of risks and capacity studies to show that delivery rates to the customer can be achieved. AS9145 was released after AS9100D and the team wanted to create some bridges to AS9145 while not mandating compliance.

So, what does the future potentially hold for PPV?

Today, PPV is limited to production and product related activities.  Previous ISO 9000 definitions of product included services. ISO 9000:2015 definition removed services since service applicability is now clearly stated in ISO 9001. Obviously, verifying the process to meet customer quality and delivery requirements is important for services including maintenance activities. A potential PPV enhancement would be to broaden the application so all Aviation, Space & Defense organizations can apply these valuable requirements.