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AS9100 Rev D and the Quality Objective Requirement

The AS9100 rev D standard for Quality Management Systems for Aviation, Space and Defence organisation's Clause 6.2 is all about setting your quality objectives for the organisation. It is another of the sections which is a "shall" i.e. you must do this to comply with the standard.

Interestingly this clause doesn't say "Top Management" will … it says "The Organisation" which means that you should include more than just the leadership team in developing the quality objectives for your organisation. The aim of taking this approach to the requirement is to truly make them organisational objectives which means you should be able to ask anyone in the organisation what they are and what they personally are doing to help meet them.

As you can imagine this process tends to take time. You need to really think about what the objectives are that your AS9100 quality system needs to meet and over what time frame. You also need to think about how you cascade those objectives further down the organisation to ensure alignment and buy in.

The place to start is at your top-level Business Strategy and work forward, after all, shouldn't your AS9100 Quality Management System be a key part of your business strategy? Then it follows that your Quality Objectives should align completely with your business strategy and be an integral part of the directions and individual objectives? This also helps your team understand that AS9100 is not just a bolt on to your business but is in fact your business operating system.

You need to be able to take the objectives from the top-level strategic view and translate them all the way down through departments to individual contributors, so they know their part in the grand plan.

The AS9100 Quality Objectives Criteria

If you want to achieve Clause 6.2 you there are number of things that you must meet with respect to the objectives that you set over and above the fact you must write them down and keep evidence of the steps you are taking to meet them.
  1. Your objectives must be consistent with your Quality Policy and relevant to the Quality Management System (and of course your organisation!), if they aren't then they really aren't much use. They also need to consider any applicable requirements you as an organisation needs to meet. They could be linked to your industry or your customer.
  2. The standard says they must be measurable. It is after all important to know if you are succeeding or not. Monitoring doesn't stop at just keeping score of the numbers it must be discussed as part of your Quality Management Review sessions and should be part of the Senior Leadership Teams agenda and they must be communicated out to your organisation.
  3. They should contribute to improved customer satisfaction with respect to your product or service, the hint here is that they should create some form of continuous improvement approach that benefits the customer satisfaction.
  4. They must be kept up to date and not left to gather dust on the 2nd shelf from the bottom of your bookshelf never to be looked at again until the day before the big audit!

Planning to Achieve the Objectives

You do have to create a plan to achieve the objectives, which seems obvious but can get missed. At the other end of the spectrum, it is always surprising how some organisations manage to over complicated things. It is not enough to just write down your list of objectives, a list isn't a plan, it is missing some key elements, so here are some hints.

 Elements of a Plan

  1. What are you going to do?
  2. When are you going to do it? (start & finish should be considered)
  3. Who is going to do it?
  4. What support or resources are needed to achieve this objective?
  5. How will success be measured?

Writing the Objective

The world of business has become obsessed with objectives following the SMART approach (Specific, Measurable, Achievable / Appropriate, Realistic & Time-Bounded). As a template, however, I strongly recommend something in the format of a From X to Y by When. Here is an example, this hits everything that you need in 1 nice crisp statement

Objective Example:

 Communicate the Plan

Finally, if you want to ensure that everyone understands the objectives at the company level and how their individual objectives fit into those there is one simple thing you need to do - Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. When you think you have fully communicated it, do some more! It is critical that you talk about it in plain English so that everyone gets it and it's interesting, they need to see how they fit in and know that they are not going to be overwhelmed with it.

Summary

If meeting AS9100 Rev D for Quality management Systems for Aviation, Space and Defence organisations Clause 6.2 is your goal, then you need to ensure that you align the quality objectives with your strategic objectives and your Quality Policy. You must create a plan on how to implement, resource and measure them. You must communicate them widely in your organisation to ensure everyone understands their part and how it fits with the larger organisational picture.

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Tuesday, 29 November 2022

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