As 9100 Keeps Bosch Communications Flying High In Aerospace Industry
Making the Case for Quality
AS9100 Keeps Bosch Communications
Flying High in Aerospace Industry
by Janet Jacobsen
When a key customer makes a request, the smart supplier listens carefully. Bosch Communications
At a Glance . . .
Systems recognized this to be the case when aviation giant Boeing asked all suppliers to become
certified to AS9100, the international aerospace industry quality management standard based on ISO
• In 2006, the Bosch 9001. While aerospace customers represent just 5% of Bosch Communications’ revenues, company
leaders understood that AS9100 certification was a necessary step to retain the business of Boeing and
other aerospace customers.
Communications, Inc., a
supplier to the aerospace
industry. This business About Bosch Communications Systems
became known as Bosch
In 2006, the Bosch Corporation acquired Telex Communications, a Burnsville, MN-based company,
• Boeing, a key customer for
which subsequently became known as Bosch Communications Systems. This business offers a number
of product lines such as professional speaker systems, mixing consoles, microphones, intercom
aviation headsets, issued a
requirement for all suppliers systems, headsets, and aviation headsets, two of which are shown below.
to become certified to
AS9100, the international
The timing of Boeing’s AS9100 requirement coincided with Bosch’s effort to bring its corporate
quality management system (QMS) structure to the newly acquired Communications Systems
system standard for the
aerospace industry. headquarters because the corporation’s goal is to have a QMS in place at each facility worldwide. In
• To satisfy Boeing’s most cases this involves compliance to ISO 9001. In Europe, where Bosch is heavily involved in the
requirement, Bosch automotive industry, many facilities are certified to the automotive QMS standard, TS16949.
an ambitious initiative to
achieve dual AS9100/
ISO 9001 certification
in less than one year.
• Bosch contracted with ASQ
to provide AS9100 lead
auditor and internal auditor
training to educate a cross-
functional team about the
standard and prepare them
for the auditing process.
• In October 2008, just 11
months after launching its
certification effort, Bosch
earned both AS9100 and
ISO 9001 certification.
Bosch’s Stratus 50 headset is used by the aviation industry. Bosch’s Airman 850 headset is also used in the aviation industry.
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Taking Flight With AS9100 Setting the Stage With Auditor Training
Bosch Communications Systems’ AS9100 certification journey AS9100, like most QMS standards, requires internal auditing, so
was cleared for takeoff in November 2007. This particular effort project leaders at Bosch Communications Systems searched for
focused on the auditor training courses and eventually selected ASQ to provide
Minneapolis area the AS9100 training; see the sidebar, “ASQ Tailors Training
ASQ Tailors Training for Aerospace Industry
headquarters, for Aerospace Industry,” for more information. In April 2008,
which is home 24 Bosch employees, including personnel from other Bosch
Bosch Communications Systems prepared its
to research and facilities around the country, participated in either a three-day
internal auditor team with in-house training
development, AS9100 internal auditor or a five-day lead auditor training course
contracted through ASQ. Both a five-day lead
sales, and product
auditor and a three-day internal auditor training at Bosch Communications Systems headquarters. The auditing
course were presented at company headquarters management students, shown below, were truly a cross-functional group, as
in April 2008. functions. the following departments were represented: quality, engineering,
Industry experts taught Bosch employees how to The first step finance and accounting, purchasing, product management, envi-
assess compliance with both AS9100 and ISO toward AS9100 ronmental compliance, engineering services, and IT.
9001. The interactive training course featured
workshops tailored to the aerospace industry to
Dr. Claus Scholpp, director of quality management at Bosch
reinforce the following topics:
analyzing all Communications Systems, says the training helped him become
• The elements of a quality management system.
documentation more knowledgeable about the additional requirements of
• The relationships between ISO
and matching it to AS9100 that go above and beyond those of the generic ISO
9001 and AS9100.
specific clauses 9001 standard, such as configuration management, first article
• Skills to conduct documentation audits.
in the AS9100 inspection, and approval of engineering changes by the customer.
• The use of ISO 19011 to understand standard—a He notes that other colleagues who were less familiar with
pre-auditing, auditing, and post-
huge endeavor, QMS standards benefited from learning about the importance of
auditing follow-up activities.
according to processes and procedures. Sewell adds that the course provided
• How to conduct opening and closing meetings.
project manager a structure for the entire certification process, noting that the
• How to plan audit activities, develop checklists, Howard Sewell. training “set the stage” for everything else to follow.
and perform pre-assessment visits.
“Just getting the
• Techniques for listening and Securing Buy-in
questioning during an audit.
cross reference to
• Preparation of nonconformance reports. The AS9100 auditor training course was just one of many
• How to verify the effectiveness of corrective methods used to involve a wide variety of employees in the
clauses in the
actions and close out an audit. certification effort because securing employee buy-in was crucial
standard and the
for achieving certification in such a short time. The effort began
between the by holding a kickoff meeting, developing the project plan, and
documents themselves was a big hurdle,” explains Sewell, who is organizing monthly steering committee meetings, which increased
director of environmental compliance. in frequency to weekly as the project progressed. This was
Twenty-four Bosch employees (pictured here with their trainers) attended AS9100 training.
Row 1: Howard Sewell, David Scherping, Bob Eatinger (lead auditor trainer), Claus Scholpp, Sean Prada, Angie Stobaugh, Debra Schommer, Eric Butler.
Row 2: Shirley Flynn, Gloria Lyons, Janet Posch, Deb Hall, Mel Rose, Robert Williams, Keith Bremel, My Lu, Anthony Stacy, Hank Fahrlander (auditor co-trainer), Ashraf Ibrahim.
Row 3: Steve Parker, Dagan Lutjen, Sid Doher, Richard Kwiatkowski, Derrick Sweet, Bonnie Collins, Debbie Lenhart.
The American Society for Quality www.asq.org Page 2 of 4
underpinned by a letter of commitment from top management tive actions and sent a corrective action plan and implementation
expressing support for the process. “It was important for everyone schedule to DQS,” explains Scholpp.
to see that this wasn’t just a target from quality management, but
Earning AS9100 Certification
from top management as well,” states Scholpp.
While there was discussion about postponing the final DQS audit
In addition to having a cross-functional group participating in
the auditing classes, Scholpp and Sewell organized training ses- until fall, Bosch leaders made the decision to stay on sched-
sions to provide overviews of both ISO 9001 and AS9100 for all ule and proceed with the late July audit and then correct any
employees. The training focused on the following topics: nonconformities during the 60-day period allowed after the certi-
fication audit. This decision paid off and Bosch Communications
• What the two standards mean to the company. Systems received both ISO 9001 and AS9100 certification in
• Why certification is important for Bosch Communications October. The AS9100 certificate is shown in Figure 1.
• The ISO 9001 and AS9100 structure, including key Now that Bosch Communications has earned the dual certifica-
differences between the two standards. tion, the improvement process hasn’t come to a halt. The internal
• The certification procedure. auditing team will continue with scheduled audits, and DQS
• Bosch quality principles and quality policy. auditors will visit for annual surveillance audits until a full
• The quality management system. recertification audit is conducted by October 2011.
• System document structure, including internal and external
Looking back at the certification initiative, Scholpp and Sewell
agree that scheduling more time between the internal and peer
• Storage of documentation in the company’s PLM (product
audits as well as additional time between the peer review and
life cycle management) system and how to locate items.
the registrar audits would have been beneficial. “The time frame
• How to prepare for the external audit.
was too short; we should have had at least four weeks to put
Sewell reports that this training was important in helping every- changes in place before the next audit,” Scholpp concedes.
one understand the quality standards and their requirements: “I
Figure 1—AS9100 certificate
think that was key to getting the buy-in.”
Conducting the Audits
The training class graduates were divided into internal auditing
groups with a lead auditor on each team. The first internal audits,
which took just over three weeks to complete, uncovered a vari-
ety of gaps, including several missing documents and processes.
For example, auditors discovered the need for a procedure to
notify customers when changes are made to a product—a chal-
lenge, considering many products are sold “off-the-shelf.” By
the time the audit and corrective action reports were generated
for the internal audit, a new group of peer auditors from other
Bosch facilities arrived for a second audit. “We started working
on the peer audits and had more nonconformities to manage, and
we were still dealing with that when the DQS (DQS German
American Registrar, a third-party auditing firm) auditor came for
the stage-one audit document audit,” Sewell recalls.
This was followed by the DQS stage-two audit five weeks later.
During the very short time between the stage-one and stage-
two audits, the Bosch team worked through corrective actions
from the internal and peer audits, as well as the initial DQS
stage-one audit. It was a busy time between the stage-one and
stage-two audits to ensure that all the nonconformities had been
addressed. The decision to proceed with the stage-two audit was
not made until one week before it was scheduled to occur. “The
steering committee team reviewed existing documents, created
new documents, and submitted them for approval through our
revision-controlled workflow system. We finished all the correc-
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Completing the rigorous certification process provided benefits For More Information
beyond satisfying Boeing’s supplier requirement. Sewell reports
additional positive outcomes as follows: • To learn more about Bosch Communications Systems
and their AS9100 certification journey, contact Dr. Claus
• Improved process structure utilizing an interactive process Scholpp at email@example.com or Howard Sewell
landscape. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Alignment with Bosch corporate processes such as the product • Additional information about Bosch Corporation is available
creation process and corrective action request (CAR) system. online: www.boschcommunications.com.
• Enhanced internal communication underpinned by the new • For more details on ASQ’s AS9100 auditor training courses,
procedures and structures. visit www.asq.org/training/topics/auditing-aerospace.html or
• Better understanding of how the business works. call 800-248-1946.
• Process repeatability. • Information and resources for auditing and ISO standards
professionals can be found at www.asq.org/iso-auditing/
Scholpp says that the return on investment from the certifica- index.html.
tion process is difficult to assess, but he believes that without a • The aerospace industry provides detailed information on
QMS based on AS9100 or ISO 9001, problems are more likely AS9100 through the Americas Aerospace Quality Group Web
to occur. “Now with the new processes and procedures we can site at www.sae.org/aaqg and the International Aerospace
identify potential risks in earlier phases and potentially bring Quality Group Web site at www.iaqg.sae.org/iaqg/.
products to market faster with better quality,” notes Scholpp. • ASQ’s Aviation, Space & Defense Division offers a newsletter,
He also expects to see the positive effects of the certification hosts a Web site (www.asq.org/asd) and discussion groups,
process in the future through lower external defect costs and and sponsors conferences and networking activities.
warranty return rates, something he says will be measured using
key performance indicators (KPIs). “We’ll monitor KPI data About the Author
over time and I expect to see this reflected in improved figures,
beginning with R&D processes next year and then with quality Janet Jacobsen is a freelance writer specializing in quality and
in the field one year later—this is a long process,” he predicts. compliance topics. A graduate of Drake University, she resides
in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
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