Original Date: 09/20/2004
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : AS 9100 Certification
Forest City Gear attained ISO 9001:2000 certification in November 1999 and quickly began the regimented process of attaining AS 9100 certification. This process enabled the company to identify deficiencies within its operations and take documented and repeatable corrective actions to reduce or eliminate future deficiencies.
During the 1990s, Forest City Gear (FCG) had a very effective but informal quality program. The effectiveness of this program was evidenced by the continued growth of its business and reputation for quality products. In late 1999, FCG recognized the need to become ISO 9001:2000 certified to continue expanding its business base. One of the requirements of ISO certification is that the applying organization have very detailed and documented processes for the operations of its business. Therefore, to be compliant, FCG formalized and documented all of its quality and business operation processes. The company completed the documentation, achieved ISO 9001:2000 certification in December 2000, and continues to operate under ISO certification.
Company management realized that having ISO certification and operating under ISO guidelines were good, but it was not going to fulfill the mission of becoming world class and operating at the competitive level it desired. It was both a management and business decision to attain the even more stringent Aerospace AS 9100 certification, which FCG began preparing for in January 2004. This certification would allow the company to expand its business base and further improve its already stellar performance. AS certification requires that a company be more regimented in procedural policies than ISO certification, and forces a thorough understanding of the company’s entire operations. Fifteen key areas (e.g., certified vendor usage, customer satisfaction surveys and analyses, piece part counts and history, corrective action analysis of defect detection, delivery performance data, management review records of reject data, and the effectiveness of a documented preventive maintenance program for all shop equipment) must undergo an internal and verifiable annual audit. In addition, AS certification requires an extensive and ongoing training program for all employees.
To prepare for AS certification, FCG gathered, charted, and analyzed data from several of its key areas. Through the regimented process of data gathering, analysis, and taking corrective actions on non-conforming conditions, FCG experienced a sharp downward trend in undesirable actions within its operations. By utilizing the AS certification process and tools, FCG identified deficiencies and implemented continuous improvement while expanding its business base potential.
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