Well, it’s over. This week we finally received our AS9100D Certificate.
Was it easy, heck no!
For those of you who are interested in my experience I thought I would share it to equip and inspire you.
CARR Machine & Tool, Inc. has been ISO 9001:2015 certified for ~15 years – and that was good enough – until we made the decision to pivot in the aerospace industry. We have matured in recent years; our people, our technology and communication all driving the decision. Upgrading all of that and aligning our brand to match the industries we serve. It was only fitting and it was time.
Change. Risk. Reward. Scary words, huh? They are. Did I think it would be easy? Yeah, I really did. But no way was it.
First of all, this accreditation tells aerospace manufacturers that we truly do have the expertise and processes in place to identify risk, counterfeit, maintain a high level of quality control, traceability, and a lot more. In the simplest of terms it’s ISO 9001:2015 on steroids. I learned so much through this experience and am genuinely confident our company has the knowledge and resources to really be an aerospace supplier.This is a BIG deal.
There is no way we could have done this without a team of people; internal and external to CARR. Internally we had three people, including myself leading the mission. Externally, we had a ProShop ERP Implementation Specialist and Certified Quality Auditor guiding us. The biggest difference between being audited this time was our recent transition to ProShop ERP – a high level business management system that runs our business, houses and facilitates our QMS and the best part? It is paperless. To think our company now runs completely paperless just dumbfounds me.
Yes, we’ve ditched the endless color-coded binders filled with reams of paper. Internal Audits, Training Records, Management Review Records, NCR’s and more. We now track On time delivery, Product Quality, Supplier Quality, On Time Delivery, Sales, Employee Satisfaction, all requirements of the standard, without paper. Amazing.
The Audit Experience.
Ok, we’re ready to go, we have everything we think we need, we’ve crossed our t’s and dotted our i’s, we’ve done Management Review, got our Internal Audits and it’s time for the Stage One Audit. Since we all are living through a global pandemic, this process changed too. BOTH our Stage One and Stage Two Audits were virtual. In no way would I say it was easier.
During the Stage One Audit the auditor just reviews the QMS to see if the structure of the system is there and to say “yes’ you’re ready for Stage Two.
The Stage Two audit is an in-depth, high-level one where you need to show objective evidence to prove that you are actually doing what you say you are. You really need to know when the auditor reads a paragraph from the standard how to interpret it and relate it back to your system. All aspects of your company are on display. Will the auditor look at everything? There’s now way. It’s a random sampling. You simply don’t know what they’re going to ask for – so, be ready on all levels. “Do you have a written vision for growth?” “How do you communicate with your customers?” “Show me your Disaster Recovery Program?” These are all valid questions you could be asked during the audit.
How did we do? Great – but not perfect. We were recommended for the certificate only after we clarified a few minor findings in our system. Once resolved and submitted objective evidence we were issued the cert. What you don’t want to happen is have a major finding – a complete breakdown of your system (like not having gage calibration) – and have to go through a full audit a second time.
In closing, I honestly can say we’ve become a better company and getting stronger everyday. Our maturity level has ballooned and we are ready for growth, new challenges and opportunities.
4, 3, 2, 1….Blast off.
Jim Carr | President
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