After a first 3-year cycle, the Assistance Aéronautique & Aérospatiale (AAA) company has just completed its renewal-audit for EN 9100, flagship quality-standard for the aeronautic sector. This is a worldwide certification for the expanding mid-cap company, which owns several operational sites overseas.
Founded in 1990, AAA meets its clients’ technical needs in the aeronautic and aerospace sectors, both for civilian and military programmes. “Our teams go on manufacturers’ sites in France and abroad to operate on planes and plane-components”, explains François Manesse, quality director. Finishing touches, repairs, maintenance, layouts, subassembly production, logistical and technical support, but also inspection, quality checks and insurance… AAA’s 3,000 employees intervene on all fronts.
A token of coherence
In these conditions, being certified represents an everyday-tool. “In our professions, without an EN 9100 certificate, we simply can’t operate”, states François Manesse. Beyond the regulatory obligation, the head of quality underlines the many benefits of this approach designed for the aeronautic sector. “The EN 9100 standard is a means to improve, to never miss anything but most of all, to be absolutely coherent everywhere. For a company like ours, operating on several sites of its own, but also on its clients’ installations, it’s a safeguard to avoid the “one site – one management system” trap”.
In order to guarantee the same level of quality whatever the site or the country, AAA has built several years ago a corporate system, with added specificities depending on the country. “This organisation allows us to integrate the 264 specific requirements from our clients. This way, what is implemented in Tarbes, Morocco or the Philippines for Airbus or Dassault, is reproduced everywhere.” Given the complex nature of this organisation, the company opted for a change of certification body in 2012, to best assist its international extension. “We own several sites, as well as a plant in France, and installations in China, the Philippines, Morocco, Germany, Spain, the United-States, Mexico and Canada. And we’re still expending”, details François Manesse.
A tailored audit-campaign
AAA chose AFNOR Certification. “Everything has been tailor-made to suit our needs. AFNOR Certification has taken the time to optimise and proportion the audit in order to downsize both its cost and length. The preparation phase was an interesting time to share the specifications, the organisation chart and give key-elements to our intern auditors”, tells François Manesse.
The initial audit in 2012 reviewed every site, and then the follow-ups were lighter. “For this renewal cycle, we had more employees, more operations and more sites to cover”, recalls François Manesse. It resulted in a 40-days long audit-campaign led by a dedicated team, which two of the three originals auditors were part of. “The quality of the auditors, their expertise in the aeronautic sector, the fact that AFNOR Certification comes out to prepare the audit, but also their ‘in-situ’ synthesis for the staff, without having to wait for the final report: it all adds up to the certification’s added value”, he concludes.
Find out more about the EN 9100
This post is also available in FR.