Original Date: 02/03/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program
As an aerospace and DoD supplier accreditation program, the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program’s (NADCAP’s) purpose is to reduce and streamline the large number of redundant quality systems’ audits being conducted on supplier organizations. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Aerospace Council approved the formation of the first NADCAP Accreditation Task Group in May 1987 which led to the first NADCAP meeting in September 1987. Government and industry funding for NADCAP’s development and pilot auditing was secured between 1988 and 1989. To assure an unbiased and objective organizational structure, NADCAP was spun-off to the newly-formed affiliate, Performance Review Institute, in May 1990.
NADCAP represents a unique arrangement among original equipment manufacturers, prime contractors, and users which combines second-party and third-party approaches with the accreditation of suppliers, in accordance with consensus-derived requirements. The overall program is guided by the NADCAP Council as well as the individual, product-class task groups (users of the accreditation process). A qualified manufacturers list identifies accredited suppliers that are available to subscribers.
NADCAP relies heavily on industry element participation and guidance. Figure 2-3 shows the structure of NADCAP. NADCAP membership categories consist of:
Subscriber A NADCAP user with a vote in all NADCAP activities; a prime contractor in this category can subscribe to individual NADCAP programs and implement NADCAP in accordance with its own established procedures.
Government Representatives of government agencies with a vote in all NADCAP activities.
Associate Prime A NADCAP user member who can participate in NADCAP meetings, but has no formal vote at these meetings.
Supplier An active supplier who has a vote in task groups on non-accreditation matters and can participate in the development and revision of audit criteria.
Consultant An individual with specific technical knowledge for a particular task group.
Pending Subscriber A temporary subscriber status which allows new users to fully participate, but only has a vote in a task group during its audit criteria development.
Observer Can attend NADCAP meetings.
NADCAP task groups are responsible for the development of specific requirements and associated audit checklists for compliance with specifications and standards. Examples of currently-active task groups include chemical processes, general quality systems, welding processes, coatings, heat treat, distributors, materials test laboratory, fasteners, nondestructive test, fluid system components, and sealants.
Currently, NADCAP has 19 major subscribers and five associate primes. The use of NADCAP industry consensus- based certification is actively supported by DoD, NASA, the Defense Logistics Agency, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Canadian National Defense. Held regularly at various locations, NADCAP meetings allow participants to devise consensus-based decisions regarding specific audit criteria, auditor qualifications, hiring issues, and supplier accreditation status. The participants use audit results and the thoroughness of corrective action in response to audit findings. Since DoD, NASA, and FAA accept NADCAP-based accreditation as inherent parts of contractor quality systems, it is critical for prime contractors to participate in these meetings.
NADCAP improves supplier quality and reduces the burden on suppliers and subcontractors due to redundant customer oversight. Other benefits include corresponding savings to primes in the downsizing of quality surveillance staff, as well as the establishment and use of non-government standards which represent best industry practices.
Figure 2-3. NADCAP Organization
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