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  • Martin Greenaway

Farnborough Take Away

I took a little time out today from a very busy schedule to visit the Farnborough Airshow to see the emerging trends and technologies in the aerospace industry, and the scale and participants at the show were quite breathtaking - to see the leading organisations of an industry in one place is quite an exceptional experience and I would recommend this to anyone interested in the aerospace industry.

For those involved in management systems and auditing of aerospace quality requirements it really puts the whole thing into perspective, and the importance of good governance in this high-tech and high-risk sector. Ever wondered why you have to fill out that FAIR - go to Farnborough and you will see why. Ever wondered why you have to audit flow down of requirements to suppliers - again visit Farnborough to see why. This is serious business !

But what I did take away that I think has more direct relevance to management systems in this industry is the emergence of APQP within the industry, and quite frankly I am delighted !

I first came across Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP), and its related Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) almost 20 years ago whilst working in the automotive industry under QS9000 certification. Prior to this I had only been involved with BS5750 and ISO9001 quality systems, and when first exposed to QS9000 and its related APQP, PPAP, FMEA, SPC and MSA manuals I was blown away as the QS9000 approach seemed to me to fill in all the gaps in ISO9001, and could be seen to clearly lean on the teachings of Deming.

It took ISO9001 almost another 10 years before it made the faintest of nods towards Deming by mentioning Plan, Do, Check, Act, but still that's as far as it goes for now.

For me APQP provided a clear and systematic approach to quality planning, the Plan bit of the PDCA cycle which we are now mostly familiar, but it fills in the gaps of Plan, and its logical, sensible and based on data and methodology of proven tools/techniques, so I am delighted that the aerospace industry has adopted this approach within its own AS9145, and this appear strongly supported by Rolls Royce.

I haven't seen AS9145 yet but it clearly has been drawn from the automotive industry, so my expectations are high. I would recommend all aerospace companies involved in design or more specialised or complex manufacturing processes to get ahead of the curve on this one and adopt AS9145, and I will keep my fingers crossed that this becomes a mandatory requirement within the AS9100, 9110 and 9120 certification standards.

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