Are You Ready for the Upgrade to AS9100C?

By Sonja Hughes.

Are you ready for the upgrade to AS9100C?  I mean, are you really ready?

Is this you?  You are currently certified to AS9100B, and have been thinking about upgrading to version C, since Version B is going to go away next year.  You’ve purchased a standard and reviewed the changes.  Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it?  You’ve updated your documentation to reflect the changes, added some statements about risk management and project management, expanded your configuration management information a little and you’re good to go, right?

It may be time to do a little more research.  If your registration auditor has not contacted you, yet, you should contact them to learn what their plans are for upgrading you to the C version.  You should also purchase a copy of the AS9101D Standard which defines the audit requirements your registration auditor must use in certifying you to the new standard.  You will be surprised to learn that there are several requirements in that standard which are not in the AS9100C standard, but which your auditor will be looking for you to meet.   Some simple examples are providing your top five aerospace and defense customers and what percent they are of your total business and how those customers rate you in terms of approved or conditional status.  Another requirement you will be asked to supply is twelve months worth of data on the performance of your Quality Management system.  This may or may not be difficult, but if you have created quality objectives for AS9100B, then performance data against these objectives will meet the requirements.

Some of the more difficult ones may be when your auditor asks you for turtle diagrams, or SIPOCs for your Clause 7 Product Realization processes.  They may even ask you to complete PEARs.  Turtles, SIPOCS, PEARS – sounds like a strange and exotic dish!

What they want is for you to define your processes.  Turtle diagrams and SIPOCS are tools that help describe your process so your auditor has a better understanding of what they will be auditing.  They will be doing process audits rather than element audits so understanding your processes ahead of time will be helpful for them and you.

Example of a turtle diagram:    Note:  this may be a good place to identify any risks in your processes.

Process diagram

Example of a SIPOC:


PEAR stands for Process Effectiveness Assessment Report and is Appendix C in the AS9101D Standard. Your auditors must complete one of these for each of the processes you have identified as part of Clause 7 Product Realization.  Note:  They may ask you to complete parts of this form.  The key section of the form is where they must indicate the level effectiveness.  There are four levels.  The process is:

  1.  Not implemented and planned results are not achieved.
  2. Implemented; but planned results are not achieved and appropriate actions are not taken.
  3. Implemented; planned results are not achieved, but appropriate actions are being taken.
  4. Implemented and planned results are being achieved.

The expectation of the PEAR is that you have identified Key Performance Indicators for your processes that allow you to determine if the process is effective – are you meeting the planned results.  If your processes are not performing to plan, then what actions have you taken (read corrective action) and can you produce the documented evidence that you are taking the appropriate actions?

This isn’t all the requirements in AS9101D that may surprise you.  So, do yourself a favor, get a copy of the AS9101D standard and read it, then talk to your registrar and see what their plans are regarding your upgrade audit.  Get into their schedule for the first quarter of 2012 if you can, since it will take time to resolve any findings in the audit.  Another point that may not be clear is that effective July 1, 2012 all certificates to AS9100B are obsolete!  This means that if you have not successfully upgraded to C, you will no longer be certified.  Act now – don’t wait any longer.