Matching NASA Suppliers with Small Businesses

A blue planet earth in outer space

In 2017, NASA spent over $2.7 billion with small businesses – 16.5 percent of its total contracting budget. NASA is looking to expand its small business contracting even further by seeking new partnerships with a wide range of goods and services providers at a two-day conference where simpleQuE President, Jim Lee, is attending.

Hosted by Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, “Reaching High – Aerospace Business Matchmaker,” takes place July 17-18 at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and is a partnership between NASA and Procurement Technical Assistance Centers in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.

Jim is learning directly from NASA officials about the goods and services the agency needs and how businesses can qualify as vendors.  Aerojet Rocketdyne, SAIC, and STG are all prime contractors, these and other NASA suppliers have indicated they want their suppliers ISO 9001 and/or AS9100 certified.

On the second day of the conference, Jim and other businesses will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from NASA, as well as other agencies from all levels of government and NASA prime contractors, to learn of the contracting opportunities in aerospace industry services.

These opportunities will be available to businesses in a large variety of industries, providing good and services including:

  • Mechanical and electrical engineering
  • IT infrastructure services
  • Building maintenance
  • Medical services
  • Office supplies and equipment
  • Office administrative services
  • Testing laboratories
  • Apparel
  • Security and much more

For a complete list of buying opportunities, visit http://AerospaceMatchmaker.com.

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How Aircraft Manufacturers Are Reducing Environmental Impact

By Jim Lee

 

At the annual ASA / AFRA conference in June, we heard Kahina Oudjehani, Head of Eco-Design and Environmental Affairs at Bombardier.  She shared Bombardier’s environmental strategy through the entire lifecycle of an aircraft to improve the company’s environmental footprint.  A significant environmental impact occurs with aircraft design and we learned of some examples on the CRJ100 regional jet design as seen with these attached slides.

Reducing aircraft weight by redesigning components is another significant impact to improving the environmental footprint by using less raw material in parts, less energy and water in making parts, reduced weight to improve fuel efficiency, and selecting materials that can be recycled and reused, or repurposed. Congratulations to Bombardier on their efforts and recent recognition by Canada for its sustainability and eco-design approach applied to the C series jet.

As a technology geek, I’ve learned of aircraft design initiatives which utilize artificial intelligence and supercomputers with 3-D printing (or additive manufacturing).  Airbus analyzed the stresses and loads on a product, then utilized 3-D printing and some wild new algorithms based on slime mold and bone growth. Slime mold naturally creates a strong, efficient structure between two fixed points, and other algorithms are used to create bones and implants for reconstructive surgeries.  Combine these algorithms to calculate and determine the most efficient designs, which result in structures a human couldn’t conceive.  Then creating those designs with 3-D printing result in what Airbus calls bionic 3-D printing.

https://www.airbus.com/newsroom/news/en/2016/03/Pioneering-bionic-3D-printing.html

As Bombardier and Airbus have demonstrated, implementing environmental sustainability or ISO 14001 correctly, can yield positive financial impact while improving the environmental footprint. SimpleQuE can guide you on the path to ISO 14001 certification.  Contact us for more information.

AS9100, AS9110 and AS9120 Transition/Upgrade Relief

By Jim Lee

The International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) and ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) have published the linked notifications referencing Resolutions #150 and #152 that they will be allowing companies and certification bodies that have not completed the full transition and upgrade audits by 9/15/18 a little bit of relief.  This is intended to not penalize the certified AS companies when the certification bodies don’t have enough resources to get their clients completely through the upgrade or transitions with new certificates issued before the 9/15/18 expiration.  Not every certification body may honor this or have the resources to do this, so we still see some possibility to transfer.

What these IAQG and ANAB releases state are that the certification body and AS client can  work together to begin the certification upgrade, transition or transfer audit by 9/15/18, or before the current AS certificate expires.  All parties will be given up to 6 months beyond 9/15/18 to complete the upgrade/transition or transfer audit, close findings from the audit, process the registration approval through the certification body office, and issue the new certificate before 3/15/19.

This is not an extension.  The OASIS database will show your company with an expired AS certificate after 9/15/18, until the issue of the new certificate.  It just prevents the AS company from paying for a full initial certification audit (more audit days) and extends the timing past 9/15/18 to complete the upgrade/transition process through the certification body process and closure of findings.

This will cause some hardship on your AS customers who must track and conduct a risk analysis of any supplier who has expired or lost certifications.  The certification status is public information in the OASIS database and will show as expired after 9/15/18.  There will be further scrutiny on AS certified companies by their customers who let their certification completely lapse by 9/15/18.

SimpleQuE consultants can prepare and guide your company through the transition process, contact us to find out how.

SimpleQuE on the Go and in the Know


This week, while Vice President, Deanne Sparr, is attending AIAG’s 2018 Southern Automotive Quality Summit in Birmingham, AL,  President, Jim Lee, has immersed himself in everything space and defense at ASQ’s Collaboration on Quality in the Space and Defense Industries conference and NASA’s Quality Leadership Forum.

These types of industry conferences and training keeps us at the forefront of the latest rules, regulations, trends and best practices to share with our consultants and clients across the aerospace, defense and automotive industries.

For example: At the NQA Global session, it was reported that as of mid-February only 29 percent of aerospace businesses had transitioned to the AS9100:2016 standard, however, as of last week it was up to 41% with a target of 50% by the end of March.  Deadline for all to transition is September 14, 2018.

From Exploring Space – Is It Safe? presented by Astronaut Bill McArthur, to NASA conducted Counterfeit Parts Awareness and Inspection Training, quality is the topic interwoven throughout the conference and the critical piece that all in the industry rely on to launch us into space.  Check back for more news as we process all of the great information we’ve gathered from the sessions.

The Race to Commercialize Space Travel – a New Approach

Post by Jim Lee

 
shuttle launch. shuttle liftoff. rocket launches into space.-slight graininess, best at smaller sizes

Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle… all were US manned space programs from 1961 through 2011.  Why is it so different now with SpaceX, Orbital ATK, Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada Corp., Virgin Galactic, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin competing to put man in space?  Why is a commercial crew program such a big deal?  I asked these questions at the Collaboration on Quality in the Space and Defense Industries conference and got a variety of opinions about the collaboration between government and these industries. Here’s my takeaway from the conference.

  • NASA wanted to take their 50 years of manned space flight experience with Mission Assurance and partner with the innovative aerospace industry to come up with cutting edge solutions to take astronauts into space.  This included design, development, manufacturing, and operation in rapid succession that is more efficient and effective than the US government could do on their own.
  • All of these industry players are either private companies or large corporations, not the US government.
  • NASA wants to be a customer for these services, but doesn’t want to be the only customer.  If an interested company didn’t have other customers and uses for the technology and solutions, then NASA wasn’t interested in partnering with them.
  • You might have to take 2 steps backward to take 10 steps forward for continual improvement.  NASA learned that they had to let go of some of their oversight and restrictions, and let these other companies take responsibility for what happens in their buildings.  NASA’s Kennedy Space Center just created new values of being helpful, building relationships, and knowing what matters.  Part of this speaks to their focus on the safety of the astronauts and total mission assurance, and leaving the innovation companies at KSC to take their own responsibility for safety, quality and internal mission assurance. NASA wouldn’t get involved unless one of these tenants would affect stakeholders outside their buildings.  This is a big change in philosophy and culture.
  • Taking 2 steps backward to take 10 steps forward cannot include loss of life.
  • NASA has to rely on these new companies that have never put a human in space.  There is lost organizational knowledge from NASA that has to be relearned with these new technologies and innovations.
  • Where it doesn’t matter, get out of the way and let capitalism and entrepreneurs provide innovations never imagined.  If you’ve never seen the SpaceX first stage rockets return to earth and land, it’s like throwing a pencil and it landing upright on its eraser.  That’s just one example of the many innovations.
  • I also asked about Russia’s and China’s manned space programs, both of which are fully government funded. Is this possibly our opportunity to leave them in the dust by taking an approach to draw funds from a broader pool, and leap past current technology using more government/corporate resources?

Reaching New Heights at NASA’s Quality Leadership Forum

Image of aerospace refuel

Sustaining a Quality Foundation in Challenging Times

SimpleQuE president, Jim Lee, eagerly anticipates attending the Collaboration on Quality in the Space and Defense Industries conference then taking part in the informational NASA Quality Leadership Forum that follows. He’s set to join others in the industry who are focused on sustaining a quality foundation at the conference and forum, running March 12-15 in Cape Canaveral, Florida, not far from simpleQuE’s Space Coast office.

The American Society for Quality has designed the conference specifically for those working with organizations in the space and defense industries. Government and industry leaders representing NASA, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman will discuss the latest policies and practices.

For SimpleQuE, the conference will provide invaluable information, trends and best practices to share with our clients, allowing us to become even more effective when consulting with manufacturers and suppliers in the aerospace industry.

In the days following the conference, the NASA Quality Leadership Forum will offer a great mix of speakers who will provide the NASA assurance context, delve deeply into specific quality management issues, find issue resonance across agency lines, and a refreshed understanding of quality sub-discipline areas.

Forum topics will include lessons learned, emerging trends, quality threats and risk mitigation techniques of particular relevance in today’s rapidly evolving and cost-constrained environment. Of particular interest is the Counterfeit Parts Awareness and Inspection Training that Jim and simpleQuE aerospace consultant, Doreen Everett will be attending.

Attendees can look forward to hearing about the work of industry leaders and strengthening their network. More importantly, the forum offers a chance to meet colleagues face to face, with the potential to build and strengthen relationships. It’s an excellent opportunity to keep the quality management community vibrant and looking toward the future.

SimpleQuE is an ISO 9001:2015 certified company that provides consulting, training and auditing services for the AS9100 series of standards to assist organizations in successfully meeting transition and implementation targets.

Discovering Earth While Reaching for the Moon

On December 24, 1968 the Apollo 8 astronauts, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders shared this iconic “Earthrise” photo during the first manned mission to the moon.  The first astronauts to orbit the moon and spend Christmas in space.

Knowing that millions of people would listen to their transmission on Christmas Eve, and as NASA’s only guidance was to do something appropriate, the astronauts decided on the book of Genesis. Lovell explained, “The first ten verses of Genesis is the foundation of many of the world’s religions, not just the Christian religion,” added Lovell. “There are more people in other religions than the Christian religion around the world, and so this would be appropriate to that and so that’s how it came to pass.”

So while orbiting above the lunar surface, the astronauts shared images of the Earth and moon and took turns reading from the book of Genesis, closing with a wish for everyone “on the good Earth.”

Seeing Earth rise beyond the barren lunar surface gave us a new perspective of our home planet and became the icon of the environmental movement. Anders has said that despite all the training and preparation for an exploration of the moon, the astronauts ended up discovering Earth.

The crew launched into orbit on December 21, and after circling the moon 10 times on Christmas Eve, prepared to return home. On Christmas morning, mission control anxiously waited to hear that Apollo 8’s engine burn had successfully propelled it outside the moon’s gravitational pull. Confirmation arrived when Lovell radioed, “Roger, please be informed there is a Santa Claus.”

In 2013 NASA recreated the historic moment when the crew first saw and photographed the Earth rising from behind the Moon. The visualization captures the view from both inside and outside the spacecraft and is synced with the onboard audio of the astronauts. Watching and listening in, you can’t help but feel their wonder and excitement.

Wherever you are on Earth, our team at simpleQuE wishes all a Merry Christmas, cherished holiday celebrations and a New Year filled with peace and the spirit of innovation and exploration!

The Time Is Now – Preparing for a Successful IATF 16949 Transition

Automotive industry manufacture line with different metal parts

The transition to IATF 16949 has been a rough one according to industry experts.  More than 68,000 organizations certified to IATF 16949:2009 (and 6,382 companies in the US) will need to undergo a transition audit to IATF 16949:2016. As of April 2017, 181 upgrade audits had been completed, resulting in an average of 5.3 nonconformities and approximately one major nonconformity (.73) per audit.

The top five nonconformities overall are “total productive maintenance” (48 nonconformities), “control plan” (38), “contingency plans” (37), “control of production service provision” (26), and “internal auditor competency” (23). Based on automotive industry datathe top-five major nonconformance clauses are customer-specific requirements (7 nonconformities), internal auditor competency (7), quality management system (QMS) audit (7), TPM (6), and management review inputs (6).

For companies that have yet to transition to IATF 16949, you do not want to wait any longer. The deadline for suppliers to transition to the new standard is your next scheduled annual audit.  All audits as of October 2017 have to be to the new IATF standard.   And note that the IATF will not be granting waivers for organizations that can’t meet the transition plan timing.

According to Russ Hopkins, head of supplier technical assistance for Ford Motor Company, “Globally, over 1,200 audits need to take place each week, which averages out to about one per week per auditor,” he said. “This is doable with the proper planning.  It’s doable as long as people do not wait until the last minute.”

This process can seem daunting to suppliers, but Hopkins notes there are several steps to a successful IATF 16949 transition:

  • Confirm dates for the transition audit with your certification body. Upgrade has to occur at your next scheduled audit.
  • Develop a work plan back from the date of the transition audit
  • Review the requirements and provide feedback regarding any concerns (suppliers contact AIAG, certification bodies contact their oversight offices, and OEM through their IATF representative)
  • Allow enough time after the transition audit to address any non-conformances. All findings must be closed in 60 days.

For those with an existing IATF 16949 certificate with one or more nonconformities of the audit to IATF 16949 which are not either 100% resolved or closed within the required timeframe, the transition audit will be considered “failed” and the IATF database will be updated accordingly.  The certification decision shall be negative which means the IATF 16949:2009 certificate is withdrawn and the client has to start over with an initial certification audit. (International Automotive Task Force)

For more information on transitioning to IATF 16949 visit our website.

The Countdown Begins

Hour glass on calendar concept for time slipping away for important appointment date, schedule and deadline

By Jim Lee, President of simpleQuE

With the deadline for ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, AS9100:2016 and IATF 16949:2016 approaching on September 14, 2018, companies have been slow to transition.  The statistics are sobering, although not unexpected.  The new ISO standards have been in effect for 2 years but only 6-20% have made the leap. (The number varies among registrars and the ANAB.) The final draft for the AS 9100 series followed a year later, but with the same deadline, and only 3% have upgraded.  Even fewer IATF companies have transitioned – and all have only 1 year left to get the upgrade completed.

What should you be doing if you’re one of these companies that has pushed out the inevitable?

  • Know that your next scheduled annual audits are the dates when you must transition to the new standards. If your next audit is a recertification and upgrade, you will need to perform the audit at least 2 months prior to your certificate expiring to give you enough time to address any potential nonconformances.
  • Review the new standard and do a gap analysis to see where there are differences in your quality (and/or environmental) management system and the changes to the standard. Generic basic checklists are available from your certification body, or detailed gap checklists with tips and explanations can be purchased from simpleQuE.  Learn more about simpleQuE’s Gap Checklist for: ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, or IATF 16949:2016.  Note that IAQG offers a free AS9100D Gap Assessment Workbook.
  • Establish an action plan that will have you ready for your audits. Assign responsibilities and due dates to ensure you’re ready on time.
  • Train your internal auditors and perform a full system audit to make sure your system is on track and in compliance. You must have evidence of a full internal audit and subsequent management review prior to upgrading with your certification body.  If you can’t get your audits done in time you’ll need to outsource them.  (SimpleQuE can conduct an internal audit to the new standard after the implementation effort to prepare you for the external audit.)
  • Don’t expect to wing it and do nothing in preparation for these changed standards, or you will fail your next audit and lose your certification. Worst case if you aren’t ready in time, you may have to let your certification lapse and then become recertified at a later time when you’re ready.  No one wants to hear that, but it is a reality for some who haven’t started.
  • If you still aren’t sure how to proceed, work with a consulting firm (like simpleQuE) with certified experts who can provide consulting, training and customized plan to guide you through the transition.