AS9100D and the resource requirements
AS9100 REV D Section 7, Support, is probably a little bit more detailed than the clause in rev C, and that's a good thing. Clause 7.1 – Resources especially, has a chunk more detail than the previous version. Resources required around your Quality Management System have always been a bit poorly defined in the past and varied wildly, now, however, the AS9100 REV D version of the standard puts structure around it and while it will need more thought it really will help your organisation.
Since clause 7.1 has increased so much we'll split it over a few posts, here, we will cover sections 7.1.1 (general) to 7.1.4 (Environment for the Operation of processes) the remaining sections 7.1.5 (Monitoring and Measuring Resources) & 7.1.6 (Organisational Knowledge) we'll cover in our next post.
Clause 7.1.1 - General
AS9100D Clause 7.1.1 is largely what the clause was before, the organisation needs to figure out what resources are required to not only implement the Quality Management System for your Aviation, Space or Defence organisation but also you must ensure you have time to carry out improvements are available. There are two options for this resource, of course, it can be internal, or it can be a suitably qualified external person, both are ok to use. In both cases however you need to ensure that they have the required capabilities, training, funding, and of course the capacity to get the work done.
Clause 7.1.2 - People
This little clause is all about specifically ensuring that you have the people available to implement the requirements of your AS9100 REV D Quality Management System as you've documented it, to run it effectively, control it and of course continuously improve it. They need to be trained and deemed competent for the part that they play. Now Competence is always something that gets widely discussed and we'll be talking about it more in a later post around clause 7.2. However, competence basically means you need to be able to prove that in some way either through your paper training records or if you have a system like Mango QMS where you can just look it up in the HR module which links the training directly to the documentation that the person doing the role is competent to do so.
Clause 7.1.3 - Infrastructure
However, it's not just about people, you need to carefully consider your infrastructure as well. Most people as what has this got to do with AS9100 REV D? Well, think about it if you don't have adequate equipment, software, buildings (and their associated utilities e.g. water!) you will have a problem delivering a quality product. For those items you need to ensure that your infrastructure is well maintained, how do you do that effectively, is it manual or is it part of an integrated system?
The infrastructure may also include for example associated supply chains, where you need the supply chain infrastructure around you to ensure you get what you need, that could be raw materials, components, even a supply of well trained engineers from the local university, it all counts as infrastructure. Similarly, if you physically can't transport the product around either internally or externally you can't deliver a quality product and of course, information and communication systems are now so integrated into a business that you really must control these, how stable are your servers? How is your Disaster recovery side of things if your server fails? Are your documents backed up? The organisation needs to determine which elements of its infrastructure needs and will vary wildly based on the size & type of organisation & it's products and services
Clause 7.1.4 - Environment for Operation of Processes
This clause of the standard requires organisations to determine & control the environment for the operation of its processes to ensure good quality. So, what does that mean? Let's take an electronics company for instance, the environment there should ideally be temperature controlled and positively pressurised to ensure dust is kept out. If you are in a high or very low humidity environment, then the humidity levels must also be controlled as these things can impact the quality of the product. More overt they can impact the physical wellbeing of your staff as well. Equally if you have an environment where the culture is 100% top down authoritative then you are likely to stifle continuous improvement ideas.
This section requires you to look at your organisation from 3 angles and determine if they impact your Quality Management System
- Social – do you operate a non-discrimination, non-confrontational environment? How do you do that? Are you socially responsible?
- Psychological – do you have things in place which will reduce stress, prevent burnout of your people and support them emotionally as needed
- Physical – Are you controlling the temperature / humidity the light levels the hygiene or the noise?
Each of these items will impact organisations in different ways and each should be assessed with your organisation in mind. They should consider both the people in your organisation who, after all, are responsible for executing your Quality management System but also your products and your processes. Again, for example high temperature swings in an organisation who is measuring small high tolerance metal parts may be an issue due to thermal expansion, it may not be an issue if you are a foundry so it is important you consider these from your own individual view point.
AS9100 REV D Clause 7.1 - resources is all about ensuring that the organisation has thought about and put in place the resources required to do what they say they are going to do. So really when you stop and think about it for a moment, the 3 sections discussed so far – People, Infrastructure and Environment for operation really do help prompt the organisation to understand if they have the resources they need at a capability level that is required to really deliver the quality product that they want to, if not then they get to understand that and put steps in place on how to create it.
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