Quality assurance in the aerospace industry : implementation of AS 9100 Quality Management Standard at an SME

Leonard, Corli (2011-03)

Thesis (MScEng (Industrial Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: South Africa has potential to grow extensively as a country supplying components to the global aerospace industry supply chains, as well as directly to OEMs like Airbus, Boeing and Cessna which are first tier suppliers. The economic crisis had a significant impact on the growth of small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), also in aerospace companies. Before the recession, SMEs did not see the necessity to become certified with internationally accredited quality standards, because there were an abundance of business opportunities. In the current restricted business climate SMEs are increasingly realising the importance of certification. The standard that aerospace companies need to comply with, is the AS 9100 standard. Compliance to AS 9100 was previously considered as a competitive advantage (order winner) but has become a necessary prerequisite (order qualifier) to be considered for a contract. In the aerospace industry accountability, traceability, documentation and quality of parts are of critical importance. Quality of products according to specification is crucial as it has a profound effect on safety. The tendency in improving of a company's processes is to scale down on superfluous documentation. In the case of aerospace companies, this is an extremely challenging goal because traceability is of such crucial importance in this sector in terms of aircraft structural system and –operational integrity. For the purpose of this study, a small to medium manufacturer of aircraft and defence system parts was studied and considered to be representative of the aerospace industry in South Africa. The research gap amongst SMEs was investigated by means of a case study at an SME in South Africa where an IT-based AS 9100 quality management system was designed, developed and implemented. The investigation includes the analysis of the research partner's quality documents, the steps in the design and development of the quality management system (QMS) and a description of the implementation thereof. This study aims to provide the focus group (SMEs) with more knowledge when developing their quality management systems for implementation of the AS 9100 requirement to compete in the aerospace industry. It describes the historic background and current use of the AS 9100 standard as background. The objective of the case study will be to determine the generic validity of the method to be able to implement AS 9100 at a small to medium sized aerospace supplier when using the same guidelines which are followed in this specific case. The method's value and success are determined by means of an external audit (certification audit) of the company used in the case study. The method makes specific use of an IT-based infrastructure to facilitate the reduction of unnecessary documentation. Experiences gained by the author in applying AS 9100 to upgrade local manufacturing companies to aerospace suppliers to Volvo Aero Company in Sweden are briefly discussed as well as the validity to make use of these generic steps.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Suid-Afrika het die potensiaal om betekenisvol te groei as ʼn land wat komponente lewer aan internasionale lugvaart verskaffersnetwerke. Die ekonomiese krisis het 'n beduidende impak op die groei van klein tot mediumgrootte ondernemings gehad, asook in die lugvaart-industrie. Voor die resessie, het hierdie ondernemings nie die noodsaaklikheid om akkreditasie tot internasionale kwaliteitstandaarde te verkry na waarde geag nie, weens die genoegsame beskikbaarheid van sakegeleenthede. In die huidige ekonomiese klimaat word die belangrikheid van akkreditasie egter toenemend besef. Die standaard waaraan maatskappye in die lugvaartindustrie moet voldoen is die AS 9100 kwaliteitsbeheerstelsel. Voorheen is die akkreditasie tot hierdie standaard gesien as ʼn mededingende voordeel wanneer daar getender is vir ʼn kontrak. Deesdae word dit as ʼn noodsaaklike voorvereiste beskou, voordat die besigheid se aansoek om ʼn kontrak te verkry eers oorweeg sal word. In die lugvaartnywerheid is aanspreeklikheid, naspeurbaarheid en dokumentasie van kardinale belang. Die tendens in die verbetering van 'n maatskappy se prosesse is om af te skaal ten opsigte van onnodige dokumentasie. In die geval van lug- en ruimtevaartmaatskappye, is dit 'n uiters uitdagende doel, omdat naspeurbaarheid gedurende die komponent se leeftyd van deurslaggewende belang is in hierdie sektor. Vir die doel van hierdie studie is 'n klein- tot mediumgrootte vervaardiger van lugvaartkomponente wat dien as navorsingsvennoot, bestudeer. Hulle is beskou as verteenwoordigend van die lugvaartnywerheid in Suid-Afrika vir die doel van die studie. Die navorsingsgaping is geïdentifiseer as die implementering van ʼn gehaltebeheer stelsel wat voldoen aan die AS 9100 kwaliteitsbeheer standaard. Die gevallestudie van hierdie lugvaartvervaardiger sluit die bestudering van die ontwerp, ontwikkeling en implementering van ʼn IT-gebaseerde AS 9100 gehaltestelsel in. In die studie word die navorsingsvennoot se kwaliteitstelsel en dokumente ontleed, en die stappe in die ontwerp en ontwikkeling van die nuwe stelsel verduidelik. Die implementering en die validering van die stelsel deur die outeur, word beskryf en getoets deur middel van ʼn eksterne sertifiseringsliggaam. Hierdie studie poog om as riglyn te dien vir die fokus groep (klein- tot mediumgrootte ondernemings) en hul kennis van die AS 9100 standaard te verbreed. Hierdie kennis dra potensieel by tot die ontwikkeling van hul eie gehaltebestuur stelsels en die implementering van AS 9100 vereistes sodat akkreditasie tot die standaard verkry kan word en hul die lugvaartnywerheid kan betree. Die dokument beskryf die historiese agtergrond en huidige gebruik van die AS 9100 standaard. Die doel van die gevallestudie is om die generiese waarde van die metode vas te stel sodat ander klein tot mediumgrootte ondernemings in staat sal wees om dieselfde metode te volg om AS 9100 te implementeer. Die metode se geldigheid en sukses word bepaal deur middel van 'n eksterne oudit (sertifiseringsoudit) van die navorsingsvennoot in die gevallestudie. Die metode maak gebruik van 'n spesifieke IT-gebaseerde infrastruktuur om die vermindering van onnodige dokumentasie te fasiliteer. Ervarings en bevindings van ʼn soortgelyke studie in Swede, waar die outeur lid van die implementeringspan was, word ook kortliks bespreek om die geldigheid van die generiese stappe te bepaal en te beklemtoon.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6836
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