Building A Better Business – ASA/AFRA Conference 2019

Learn how to build a better business at the 2019 Aviation Suppliers Assn. (ASA)/Aircraft Fleet Recycling Assn. (AFRA) Conference which is just a month away (July 14-16 in Montreal, Canada). This conference is one of the largest for the aviation distributor industry and draws aviation professionals worldwide. ASA represents over 600 member companies that lead critical logistics programs, purchasing efforts, and distribution of aircraft parts globally.

At this year’s conference simpleQuE President, Jim Lee, will be presenting at the workshop on Quantifying the Value of Certification – Operational and Financial.  In between his travels, we recently caught up with Jim to get his insights on this relevant topic and conference.

Why do you attend the ASA AFRA Conference each year?

Jim: This is an important event with global participation. Since simpleQuE clients represent 2% of all AS certified companies in the US, it is also a great way to stay connected with our customers that attend.  The content and quality of the speakers is outstanding, covering what is current and predicted for the industry  The workshops always have content of value that is shared with our team and clients. We’ll hear from representatives from Air Canada, Airbus Americas, Avitas, Boeing, the FAA and others. Every year I especially look forward to the industry forecast data and witty humor of Dr. Adam Pilarski, SVP – Avitas

The semi-annual quality council meeting is held during the conference and I think it’s important to attend to help steer the industry and the ASA-100 standard.

Not only do I attend to learn, but I’m honored to be invited to share my knowledge and experience through a general session workshop.  I’ll also present at the annual ASACB auditor session to train the 3rd party auditors on what’s happening in the industry, including stakeholder interests with the certification process. The workshops increase auditor awareness and comprehension with differing views of the standards.

What’s in store for this year?  What topics are you covering?

Jim: The theme is Building a Better Business and a major component of that is how quality processes and management systems add value to your business.  There are 21 workshops, and this year I am co-presenting on Quantifying the Value of Certification – Operational and Financial.  This year’s agenda and registration are available at

Who is co-presenting with you?

Jim: Sam O’Connor, Vice President Technical Services, ASA ASACB, is co-presenting at the workshop. We have collaborated on a variety of projects and felt this was an area that many companies don’t know how to approach.  This topic flows right into the theme of the conference.

Who would benefit from attending these sessions?

Jim: This presentation would benefit leadership, quality managers, anyone considering certification and those already certified.  Many times certification is viewed as just a requirement to fulfill for a customer.  But to obtain operational and financial value from certification, companies should be looking forward toward building a better business.  Sam and I will share examples of how other companies are achieving real value through ISO and or AS certification.

How can those who weren’t able to attend, receive the information?

Jim: My workshop presentation and auditor sessions will be available at after the conference.  Check out our Resource Center and future blog posts for the links as well as great information.  You’ll also be able to sign up for our newsletter so information can come directly to your inbox. Presentations from previous ASA conferences are available on simpleQuE’s Downloads and Checklists page.

About Jim Lee: With 36 years of experience in quality and manufacturing, Jim is a certified manager of quality/organizational excellence and certified quality auditor with ASQ, an IRCA certified QMS lead auditor, a former IATF certified ISO/TS 16949 auditor, and a former RABQSA certified Aerospace Auditor. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Ohio University, and has served on and chaired various ASTM subcommittees, and is currently on the writing committee for AS9003 with SAE/AAQG.

Previously, Jim was an owner of ACLASS Corporation which performed laboratory accreditations to ISO/IEC 17025, and was sold to ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB).  He was President and Chief Operations Officer for EAGLE Certification Group, which provides third party certifications globally to ISO 9001, AS9100, AS9110, AS9120, and other standards.

Jim’s experience includes executive management, engineering, procurement and quality positions with Emerson Electric, General Motors, Huffy Corporation, and Systems Research Laboratories (Armstrong Aerospace Medical Research Laboratories/ Wright-Patterson Air Force Base).  Recognizing a need for quality management system consultants, he founded simpleQuE in 2005 so that he could share his knowledge and experience with companies seeking to implement, transition or simplify their system.  SimpleQuE has now grown to more than 20 consultants who share Jim’s passion for “Quality Excellence Made Simple”.


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