Quality of the end-product is a top priority in every aspect, but with the critical missions found within the defense industry quality standards can hold even more weight. To ensure customer satisfaction and the constancy of excellent value, suppliers take steps beyond just regular business promises. There are multiple certifications companies can pursue to ensure to their customers that their products are made of the highest caliber. Below are the most recognizable and key certifications to look for when searching for suppliers in the defense industry.
AS9100: The AS9100 is a mandatory supplier certification for anyone working within the defense industry. It is a quality management system that ensures a supplier has the processes in place to guarantee the customer receives exactly what they ordered. This certification is given out through a 3rd party registrar, such as NSF International Strategic Registrations (NSF-ISR), licensed by a global governing body, to qualified and proven suppliers. In order to maintain their high standards, suppliers are audited every year sampling various elements in the Quality Management System (QMS). Every three years, approved suppliers undergo a complete QMS audit. Be aware that there are often revision numbers listed behind this certification. Revision D (Listed AS9100D), is the latest revision and highest standard a supplier can achieve. With the AS9100 Certification, you can be confident in the consistent quality of your suppliers.
ISO 9001: This international standard outlines all specific requirements for a supplier’s quality management system (QMS). This includes process interactions, leadership responsibilities, resource management, and internal continued improvement. In order maintain this accreditation, suppliers must consistently output products that meet the customer’s specifications. ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization, and the latest revision should be listed as ISO 9001:2015.
ITAR: ITAR stands for International Traffic in Arms Regulations. This certification creates controls over the export and import of defense-related articles and services on the US Munitions List. Confidentiality is often a priority for those in the defense industry, and the ITAR certification adds reassurance that suppliers are taking specific measures to uphold it.
Nadcap: Nadcap stands for the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Association Program. This auditing agency is focused on the “special processes.” These processes are generally those that effect the molecular structure of metals which cannot be detected by conventional inspection methods. Heat treating or various chemical processes are both examples that would fall within the Nadcap scope. Nadcap certification is managed by the Performance Review Institute (PRI).
Rhinestahl AMG proudly holds and maintains these certifications, participating in all associated audits when necessary. In addition to these national and international standards, we also welcome private customer audits. Often, customers have their own specifications that go beyond the scope of those mentioned above. We work in collaboration with the customer to prove our process efficiencies and ensure overall quality of the end-product. To guarantee consistent performance, we established a Continuous Improvement Team led by our Quality Team with interdepartmental participation. This internal team’s sole focus is on identifying opportunities and engaging in solutions to make Rhinestahl AMG more efficient.
The goal of all suppliers in the defense industry is to constantly improve on quality of outputs while making the processes more cost efficient for both the supplier and customer. By achieving and maintaining these certifications, it signifies their attention to detail and commitment to customers. Furthermore, by understanding these standards, customers can more easily identify targeted suppliers. It standardizes the procurement process and increases efficiencies from conception to delivery. The defense industry demands top quality; make sure your suppliers can exceed your expectations.