Aerospace & Defence Industry Failing to Meet New Quality Management Standard

Press release

24 March 2003

Business could be lost if companies don't meet supplier requirements

UK aerospace and defence companies are being warned that they may lose contracts if they fail to update to the new international quality management standard.

The warning comes from leading certification body, BSI Group, which estimates that only 14% of the 1,528 aerospace and defence businesses that hold the old ISO 9000 certificates have transferred to the much improved ISO 9001:2000.

Companies that fail to transfer before the December 2003 deadline may miss out on the clear benefits of ISO 9001:2000 including the potential cost savings and reduction in red tape that the standard brings. They could also face problems meeting the quality requirements of major customers in the defence and aerospace sectors, many of which will specify that suppliers must meet the updated ISO 9001:2000 standard. Major primes including Boeing, Rolls Royce and Lockheed Martin, are currently mandating AS9100 which incorporates ISO 9001:2000 to their suppliers.

The International Organisation for Standards (ISO) regularly updates all standards. ISO 9001:2000 was created after feedback from UK business illustrated the shortcomings of the old standard, introduced in 1994. ISO 9001:2000 has three distinct new benefits:

  • less red tape
  • - companies will find it easier to show that they meet the requirements of the updated standard
  • focus on customer satisfaction
  • - the updated standard helps companies ensure that customer satisfaction is central to their operation, making them more competitive
  • more flexible
  • - the updated standard is more flexible, enabling companies to run quality management systems the way that is most relevant to them

Nick Moy of BSI Management Systems, says:

"All standards are updated periodically to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of business and deliver real benefits. As businesses evolve, standards must also evolve and ISO 9001 is no exception. The standard was changed to benefit those companies certified to it; it is less bureaucratic than the old standard and focuses more on customer satisfaction. The updated standard will be of real benefit to companies in the aerospace and defence industry but they risk missing out if they don't transfer from the old standard."

The old standard ISO 9001/2/3:1994 was criticised as bureaucratic, inflexible and focused on providing fixed standards rather than encouraging continuous improvement of quality.

The main difference between the old and the updated standard involves the manner in which management systems are to be implemented. ISO 9001/2/3:1994 required that a company met its requirements by showing that it undertook a set of distinct activities to safeguard quality. ISO 9001:2000 however encourages that these systems are interactive and provide feedback:

  • under ISO 9001/2/3:1994 a company did not need to show that it had a customer complaints/comments system
  • under ISO 9001:2000 it has to show that not only does it have a system to record comments but that these comments are fed back in and acted upon, helping to improve overall quality of the product or service and increase customer satisfaction.

What is ISO?

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from more than 140 countries.

ISO is a non-governmental organisation established in 1947. The mission of ISO is to promote the development of standardisation and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing co-operation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity.

ISO's work results in international agreements that are published as International Standards