Passing Your Furnace Audit and Gaining Nadcap Accreditation

The Nadcap accreditation process and Aerospace Material Specification (AMS) standards are meant to ensure those utilizing special processes and heat treating parts for the Aerospace sector comply with consistent, high-quality standards for Aerospace products.

Heat treatment is something that touches the lives of people everywhere in one form or another. Heat treatment has played a role in the creation of numerous items from tools and technological devices to cars and planes. The quality and safety of these products is very crucial both to the companies that make them and the consumers that use them.

The Nadcap accreditation process and Aerospace Material Specification (AMS) standards are meant to ensure those utilizing special processes and heat treating parts for the Aerospace sector comply with consistent, high-quality standards for Aerospace products.

By focusing on maintaining international quality standards, the safety of all who utilize these final Aerospace products is ensured, and for companies, it will help to continually enhance and refine their heat treatment processes. In turn, this allows them to provide all of their customers with the best product quality possible.

While a number of Ipsen’s customers have found each Nadcap audit to be a unique process based on their specific Prime specifications, equipment and processes, the process of receiving Nadcap accreditation normally involves:

  • Requesting and scheduling an audit
  • Performing an internal audit
  • Implementing corrective actions for any findings from the internal audit
  • Undergoing an official audit
  • Reviewing and responding to any nonconformance citings/findings
  • Applying corrective actions to resolve the remaining issues
  • Receiving Nadcap accreditation

To help with the steps and processes, Ipsen has curated recommended best practices and steps from those that have undergone Nadcap accreditation. This article will scrutinize the general process and best practices for obtaining Nadcap accreditation, as well as review some of the resources suggested for gaining a deeper understanding of how to prepare for and complete a successful audit.

Whether a company is participating in a Nadcap audit for the first time, or going through the reaccreditation process, many have found that they are continuously refining their audit process as they keep track of what worked and what did not for future reference. It is Ipsen’s goal to share some of this knowledge so that companies can have a quality audit experience, along with a quality product.

Preparing for an Audit

Although the Nadcap audit process can be long and in-depth, Ipsen has found that those who sufficiently prepare are able to pass the audit process without difficulty.  Most of the time, the biggest step is to know where to begin.

Locating Key Documents and Specifications

When getting ready for a quality audit, a recommended first step is to know which specifications to adhere to and which documents to reference throughout the audit. Most people who have gone through Nadcap accreditation recommend beginning with www.eAuditNet.com.

This site is provided through the Performance Review Institute (PRI), an organization that facilitates industry-managed programs and administers special process accreditation programs, such as Nadcap. Through eAuditNet, PRI offers access to a range of supplemental materials that can be referenced during the Nadcap audit. This website also offers procedure documents on the pre-and post-audit processes, which include specific, detailed information on how to decrease the frequency at which audits are performed, response timeframes, what to do if one fails an audit and more.

Some materials normally referenced during the audit process are the Heat Treating Task Group Audit Handbook and the Heat Treating Task Group Pyrometry Reference Guide. These materials offer a variety of helpful information, including:

  • Definitions
  • Supplier guidelines for auditing to Nadcap audit criteria
  • General heat treatment items (e.g. vacuum considerations, testing and inspection etc.)

Generally, the handbook and reference guide offer guidelines meant to assist companies with better understanding and meeting the items listed on the audit checklist.

Audit Checklists and Customer Requirements

Companies can receive Nadcap accreditation for several applicable programs, such as Heat Treating, Coatings, Materials Testing Laboratories, Fasteners and more. In case a company is taking up a Nadcap audit for Heat Treating, several standard audit checklists apply to all disciplines within the Heat Treating category.

These include AC7102/8 – Nadcap Audit Criteria for Heat Treating Pyrometry; AC7102 Revision H – Nadcap Audit Criteria for Heat Treating and AC7102/S Revision F – Nadcap Supplemental Audit Criteria for Heat Treating. Based on the processes for which the company is seeking accreditation, there may be extra checklists that must be adhered to. The complete list of checklists for the Heat-Treating category can be found on eAuditNet.

In case a company requires accreditation by a specific Aerospace Prime, the supplemental checklist (AC7102/S) contains more supplementary requirements. Primes are companies that take on the full accountability for any given project and usually build the key elements of a product in their own plants (e.g. Boeing). However, they frequently subcontract to other companies for the different parts and systems needed.

As such, Ipsen believes it is very important to be aware of both the common industry standards and the customer's requirements and specifications before proceeding with the audit process. Overall, it is essential for a company to be familiar with these documents, as they are the standards by which the audit is based.

Consulting and Networking with Suppliers

On top of becoming acquainted with chief documents and specifications, consulting and networking with other suppliers, i.e. a company that processes components used by Primes, can help companies establish additional best practices for preparing for an audit. PRI conducts three annual meetings and attending them is one such chance to discuss other audit experiences.

In case the meetings are missed, the next best thing is to analyze the meeting notes, which include information on what was discussed and any conclusions reached for how to best deal with certain issues and/or specifications. The meeting notes can be found on the eAuditNet website.

Ipsen’s customers have also found that talking to other quality managers about their Nadcap audit experiences exposes them to various points of view and helps them get a proper understanding of certain specifications. As an extra bonus, open discussions regarding best practices and recommended techniques help them better regulate themselves and ensure they constantly adhere to an international quality standard.

Scheduling the Nadcap Audit

Once companies have reviewed the applicable checklists, customer's requirements and reference materials, as well as verified they are prepared to perform an internal audit, it is then time for them to set up the official Nadcap audit through the eAuditNet website.

When companies do so, Ipsen has found there are a few essential questions for which many recommend knowing the answers beforehand:

  1. Will you either have real orders for an Aerospace customer or have time to run sample Aerospace orders during the scheduled audit?

    If sample Aerospace parts are going to be used, it is best to inform PRI in advance.

  2. Have you defined the scope of accreditation (i.e, the processes and specifications) for which you want to be audited?

    It is crucial to know the scope of accreditation in advance since the company will have to define the scope when scheduling the audit, as well as verify it at the start of the official audit.

  3. Do you already have an acceptable quality system approval (e.g. AS/EN/JISQ 9100 and AS/EN 9110; ISO/IEC 17025)?

    In case there is no acceptable quality system approval, a standard audit process includes AC7004 (Aerospace Quality Systems) being added to the scope of accreditation. If that happens, the Nadcap auditors will then include a one-day Quality System audit as part of the official audit process to validate that the particular company adheres to this specification.

    If there is an acceptable quality system approval, the company just needs to provide evidence of it when scheduling, or at the start of, the official audit. If it is not possible to provide documentation, the auditor will conduct the Quality System audit.

  4. Have you scheduled enough time to prepare for and perform an internal audit?

    The Nadcap accreditation process stipulates that an internal audit needs to be carried out. It is a form of self-assessment that is used to measure strengths and weaknesses against the Nadcap audit requirements.1

    The results have to be submitted at least 30 days before the official audit. However, it is recommended that a company actually performs the internal audit anywhere between three and six months before the official Nadcap audit.

    Through discussion of ideal timelines, Ipsen has found that ensuring sufficient time to prepare for and perform the internal audit, as well as to work out any issues that might arise, can help the official audit process go smoothly.

These are a few instances to consider both before and while scheduling the official audit. While just one preliminary step on the path to accreditation, Ipsen’s discussions with those who have undergone the process show that those who are well prepared from the very beginning tend to have more success later on in the process.

Understanding the Internal Audit Process

An important part of getting ready for the official Nadcap audit is ensuring a clear understanding of what will be required for the internal audit. Internal audits involve conducting quality system audits (e.g., AS9001 or AC7004) and live job audits, as well as studying past surveys, leak tests, maintenance logs, system accuracy tests and historical jobs.

During the internal audit, it is recommended that the company use the audit checklists found on eAuditNet to ensure specifications are being adhered to, as well as to help identify any potential findings.

Before submitting the internal audit results to PRI as proof of completion, some suggest conducting more than one internal audit to become more familiar with the process and to apply any needed corrective actions. Another potential approach is to hire an outside consultant to do the internal audit; this helps give a more realistic viewpoint of what might happen during the official audit.

During the internal audit, it is recommended to record where in the system the company meets requirements, as well as record where the company has objective evidence of compliance. Examples of objective evidence could be notes that refer the auditor to a particular section in the Quality Manual, reference training files in the Production Manager's office, and/or state the auditor should see the Sales Manager for customer satisfaction surveys.

While talking about best practices for performing an internal audit, Ipsen found it is required to perform live job audits, with either sample or real Aerospace parts, as this can make it easier to identify any probable non-conformances that the auditor might discover during the official Nadcap audit.

It is also useful to evaluate a balance of live and historical job audits; most propose conducting a minimum of 10 job audits with at least two job audits for each Prime. However, irrespective of which audits the company performs or prepares, it is vital to make sure all records are in order for the official audit as the auditor could ask to check anything: from paperwork for a job that took place three months ago to TUS results for preliminary surveys from several years ago.

Preparing for Job Audits

When it comes to carrying out job audits during the internal and official audit, there are a few proposed best practices that Ipsen feels are helpful in achieving a straightforward audit process:

Do You Know the Instrumentation Type?

As part of the job audit, some have found that auditors will normally confirm the company is adhering to all the requirements of AMS 2750. As such, it is important that all records are on hand plainly show how all of the necessary requirements are being met. Besides meeting all the requirements for AMS 2750, it is also required that instrumentation classes and types, work zones, etc. be defined as well as proper documentation available to show the auditor. During the internal audit, it is suggested that this information is reviewed while performing job audits to guarantee everything is in order for the official audit.

Do You Know the Soak Requirements?

During the job audit, the auditor will also evaluate the cycle data to ensure the cycle complies with the customer's needs for the beginning and end of the soaking time, i.e, combination of first-in or last-in and first-out or last-out. As such, it is crucial that the company carefully reviews their own cycle data during the internal audit process.

Through discussions regarding this aspect of the audit process, Ipsen has found that a vital step is confirming customer's initial soak requirements before running a cycle and listing this data on the process sheet in the job traveler. If there is any uncertainty about the requirements for the start and end times, it is best to refer to the guaranteed soak-in table, which can be found on eAuditNet in Section 12.3.3 of AC7102, or to other industry and customer specifications that call out this information.

Do You Understand Flowdown Procedures?

When studying production cycles during job audits – whether it is for the internal or official audit – Ipsen has found that it is imperative to understand how flowdown procedures function.

To begin with, it is recommended that all material testing parameters are listed on the PO and internal documents, such as the job traveler. Furthermore if material testing is outsourced, then these specifications must be provided to the calibration service provider and they should document the specifications on their test reports.

Another aspect of flowdown procedures Ipsen has found to be required is, knowing the Prime and/or end user of the part. For instance, a supplier could conduct more than four hundred production orders in a single day; however, they are required to know the Prime, i.e. find out if any of the parts will be used for a specific Aerospace Prime and which one.

Understanding how to perform job audits properly, from confirming the instrumentation type to knowing flowdown processes is just one aspect of performing an internal audit. It is also important to review generally experienced non-conformances as part of the internal audit process. This will help identify any non-conformances for which root-cause analysis must be done and corrective actions applied before the scheduled official Nadcap audit.

Reviewing Common Nonconformances

Reviewing PRI's list of common nonconformances is considered to be another valuable step that should be taken before beginning an internal audit. This is followed by confirming that companies are in compliance as they go through the internal audit. PRI creates this list every year in order to highlight the most common nonconformance reports (NCR) written during the previous year.

These lists, and other NCR-related materials, such as ineffective NCR responses, can be found on eAuditNet. By reviewing these lists before starting an internal audit, individuals can determine the extent to which they might need to make adjustments, implement additional training, etc. before the official audit takes place.

Two common nonconformances that frequently occur from year-to-year include:

  1. Not correctly following documented procedures or not having a documented procedure in place
  2. Not providing intervals for evaluations and retraining

Overall, by familiarizing oneself with common nonconformances, individuals can better avoid them during their own accreditation process, as well as refine and enhance other aspects of the heat treatment processes. This article examines some best practices for avoiding these nonconformances, from knowing which specifications to note to defining retraining intervals.

Incorporating Documented Procedures

Ensuring that procedures are correctly documented and knowing exactly what needs to be done is one example of when reviewing the audit checklists during the internal audit can help. One of the many questions asked on the audit checklists touches upon this very subject:

"Does the supplier have an internal procedure, or procedures for Pyrometry addressing all the aspects of AMS 2750E and other customer specifications applicable to their operations?" [2]

In summary, this question is asking if the company has procedures that (1) are set in place, state what they do to fully comply with AMS 2750E and (2) include any additional Prime specifications to which they are required to adhere.

Occasionally, this requirement leads to a nonconformance as some suppliers tend to forget to note any additional applicable Prime specifications, which can be found in AC7102/S. It is also essential to know which specifications take precedent over others, i.e, Prime or AMS 2750E specification. Knowing this means that when it is time for the official audit, companies will be able to ensure that they are adhering to the strictest applicable requirements.

Not having any documented procedures in place can also result in a nonconformance if there are no documented procedures in place. Additionally, if it is not documented how Temperature Uniformity Surveys (TUS) or System Accuracy Tests (SAT) are performed as part of the procedures followed to comply with AMS 2750E, this can also result in nonconformance.

When this issue was discussed with Ipsen’s customers, it was discovered that some suppliers will only present the auditor with the SAT and TUS reports submitted by their calibration service provider. However, it is required that the company also submit the internal procedure's form number on the SAT and TUS reports, as well as have the calibration service provider's procedures on hand. In the end, this common nonconformance illustrates the significance of preparing for the audit process and going through each relevant audit checklist to make sure that the company fully understands and adheres to each listed requirement.

Implementing Training and Retraining Intervals

Another common nonconformance involves improving employees' general knowledge of the processes ran within the equipment, as well as having a procedure in place for employee training, retraining and periodic evaluations. The exact checklist question asks:

"Do records indicate that training is scheduled and attended in accordance with procedures and documented ... Do records indicate that the evaluations are performed at documented frequencies and the results reviewed with employees in a program of continuous improvement of personnel?" .3

When reviewing this question during a typical official audit, the auditor will confirm that procedures for training, retraining and evaluations are in place. they will also want to verify that these procedures state the rate at which retraining and evaluations will take place.

Based on the experience of those trying to receive Nadcap accreditation, Ipsen discovered that not having documentation of these events is equal to not having a procedure in place, which will indeed result in a nonconformance. Thus, when creating procedures for training, retraining and evaluations, it is essential to include intervals for retraining and re-testing employees and also to define these intervals and provide documentation.

In the end, these are just two examples of common nonconformances; nonconformances can result from a variety of oversights, from non-certified overtemperature thermocouples to not documenting the uniformity tolerance at each surveyed temperature. This is why it is important that a company should plan to evaluate every item referenced on the applicable Nadcap audit checklists, AMS specifications and PRI's list of common nonconformances before the official audit.

Finishing the Internal Audit

After concluding the internal audit, it is essential to follow the proper steps outlined by PRI in preparation for the official audit. These steps include:

  • Reviewing any findings (i.e, nonconformances)
  • Performing root-cause analysis
  • Implementing corrective actions

Reviewing Findings

To begin with, a finding is essentially a nonconformance that is identified during the internal audit or the auditor identifies during the official audit.

Nonconformances come in one of two categories: major or minor. A minor nonconformance refers to, "Any single system failure or lapse in conformance with the applicable standard or audit criteria."4 A major nonconformance is either, "The absence of, or systemic breakdown of, the process control and/or quality management system," or "Any nonconformance where the effect impacts or has the potential to impact the integrity of the product.".5 In other words, a minor nonconformance is any small deviation from Nadcap/AMS specifications or customer standards that does not impact the product, e.g. a typographical error. Whereas a major nonconformance refers to a lack of control over the process or product quality, or that the safety of the product is considerably compromised. However, a minor nonconformance becomes a major nonconformance if it could affect the product, e.g. not having a thermocouple calibration document on hand.

When reviewing the findings after the internal audit, it is necessary to prioritize and group any related findings together. After establishing the order in which the findings should be addressed, the next step is to determine the root cause of each nonconformance. If a variety of findings have been identified, it is typically recommended to start with the most drastic findings, i.e, any major nonconformances, in order to quickly ensure the basic safety and quality of the products.

Performing Root-Cause Analysis

When determining a root cause, or the reason why a nonconformance occurred, it is essential to define the "5-Whys" as noted by PRI.6 This will help identify the chronological events that led to the ultimate root cause. If any of the answers to the "Why?" questions are "Because," or "As a result of," then further investigation is required as the true root cause has not yet been identified.

A common misconception concerning appropriate root causes refers to the fact that an individual can list the immediate contributing factors or simply list human error, e.g, the operator did not adhere to the correct processes when positioning the load thermocouples in the furnace.  However, the root cause was not human error. Rather, a more acceptable root cause might be that a procedure was not in place to provide the operator with suitable training and retraining at regular intervals.

The article now focuses on how to determine the root cause of an issue. For instance, if the problem is that an individual was late to work, then they might ask themself, "Why was I late?" If the answer is, "The car wouldn't start," then this is a contributing cause and the individual has not yet identified the true root cause.

As a result, they must continue to ask themselves why questions, e.g, "Why didn't the car start?" until the answers are no longer, "As a result of" or "Because." By doing this, they will discover the true root cause, such as "The battery was old." In the end, the individual will know the true root cause has been found when continuing to ask "Why?" no longer adds value, meaning any further possible answers would not help prevent a recurrence, reduce erratic results or provide cost savings.7

Applying Corrective Actions

After determining the root-causes for all of the findings from the internal audit, the corrective action made to address the issue must be defined and the companymust cite timing of the implementation.

Some that have gone through the audit process have mentioned that if a corrective action implemented as a result of an internal audit has not yet been completely applied due to time constraints, the Nadcap auditor might not write an NCR for the same finding as long as the individual is working to apply corrective actions. This, of course, depends on the actual finding, as well as the ability of the auditor to later verify that the corrective action was truly implemented.

For example, during the internal audit, a nonconformance is identified in relation to a typographical error that had no product impact in the calibration report for the over-temperature controller. Consequently, the root cause might be a lack of quality resources for reviewing calibration reports. However, if the calibration service provider is not available to correct the root cause within the 30 days before the scheduled audit, then it should be noted in the internal audit report that the corrective action will be completely implemented and verified during the next calibration with the future date. The auditor will verify that the corrective action was implemented by the aforementioned date after the official audit. Thus, it is required to document the implementation of any corrective actions after the internal audit, as auditors will verify that these corrective actions are still in place during the official Nadcap audit.

On a general note, implementing corrective actions for any findings identified during the internal audit is considered to be one of the final steps in conducting an internal audit. From there, it is essential to ensure all of the proper documentation from the internal audit is submitted to PRI at least 30 days prior to the official audit.

Executing a Successful Official Audit

At this point, scheduling of the official audit has taken place, followed by execution of the internal audit and submission of all the necessary documentation. The next step in the Nadcap accreditation process is undergoing the official audit. When getting ready to start the official audit, it is important to remember that this is an independent, objective activity that has been designed to verify that a company is operating under a specified state of control.8 This is important because, by having control over the processes and equipment - essentially almost every single aspect that goes into creating a product - the individual is best equipped to consistently meet and adhere to quality standards for all Aerospace products.

Controlling processes is extremely important because certain processes, such as heat treatment and brazing are considered special processes. In other words, special processes are those that, when executed, the individual cannot fully verify whether the final product meets the specified requirements. Hence, the process must be validated in advance to ensure these products are free of defects and meet the high-quality standards of the Aerospace industry. In the end, guaranteeing the process and demonstrating control through a Nadcap audit is the only way to ensure quality results.

However, in addition to preparing for the audit process and performing an internal audit, a few best practices are recommended for executing a successful audit. These processes include scheduling key personnel, informing the auditor of any schedule considerations in advance and verifying the desired scope of accreditation.

Scheduling Personnel

According to some, a significant first step for guaranteeing a successful official audit is having the personnel who performed the internal audit available during the official audit process. Based on recommendations, key personnel typically include those who regularly operate the equipment and those with the greatest depth of knowledge about your day-to-day processes.

It is also essential to inform all personnel of the audit process and confirm that they all understand the role they play in making the audit successful. This helps prepare them as the auditor could choose to talk with any one of them when the official audit takes place.

Informing the Auditor of Schedule Considerations

Scheduling is critical during the official audit. In most cases, the auditor is required to be on site for four to five full days, if not longer. As such, it is required that the auditor is informed at the start of the official audit of what Primes the individual wants to be approved for, as well as what is scheduled with production over the next few days, e.g, if there are any upcoming furnace cycles. This will help the auditor schedule the visit more efficiently. In turn, this will also help with efficiently managing the production schedule and maximizing productivity.

In addition, many have found that informing the auditor of the production schedule, as well as any personnel schedule considerations that should be considered, (e.g, if a particular furnace operator only works until 2 p.m. during the week) helps the auditor plan out and balance varied aspects of the official audit.

Verifying Scope of Accreditation

When starting the official audit, the first thing that is typically done with the auditor is to verify that the scope of accreditation submitted when scheduling the audit has not changed. Essentially, whichever specifications and standards are selected to be audited against are exactly what the auditor will go over in detail during the audit process. It is not possible to remove or add any areas once the auditor has finished verifying the scope of accreditation.

The Audit Process

The official audit, as customers typically experience it, is divided into two segments: the Quality System audit and the Process audit.

The Quality System audit takes place over one day. According to PRI, the auditor will not perform the Quality System audit if evidence of an acceptable quality approval is provided when scheduling the audit. If an acceptable quality approval is not possessed by the company, then the auditor will typically perform the Quality System audit, which involves verifying that all the requirements for a quality specification are met.

After the Quality segment of the audit is completed, it is time for the Process audit, which is scheduled for approximately four days long. However, the Process segment could be longer, based on the the scope of accreditation, the number of Primes for which the individual is being accredited, etc.

Typically, during this portion of the official audit, an auditor spends a major portion of time reviewing specification checklists and both live and historical jobs. As such, it is required to have a large number of both live and historical jobs prepared, as defined on the eAuditNet website, as auditors will ask for different historical jobs besides the initial ones prepared, as well as request to do a live job audit.

Interacting with the Auditor

The individual will interact with the auditor in a variety of ways all through the official audit process, from discussing the understanding of specifications to reviewing any findings. As such, a vital part of the audit process is providing credible data and information on how the process is controlled, as well as explaining it to the auditor in a concise and clear manner.

All Nadcap auditors have been extensively trained to identify nonconformances and ensure all specifications are being adhered to within the set standards. Discussing any nonconformances received with the auditor will improve the understanding of all aspects of the situation, as well as why the nonconformances were received.

Recommended methods for interacting with the auditor include presenting reasons for doing things a certain way in a factual manner, as well as discussing how a certain specification was interpreted in order to determine where any misunderstanding might have occurred.

Thus, it is vital to keep a few key best practices in mind for ensuring interactions with the auditor are professional and calm.

Balancing the Auditor's Time

With the few days in which the auditor must review everything, as well as the amount of time each job audit can take up, it is helpful to provide a daily reminder of what times certain personnel are available, when loads are being run, etc.

The auditors will divide their time between the office and on the shop floor. Being prepared, regardless of when they want to review a specific area or job audit, will help avoid any delays in the audit process.

Explaining Interpretation of a Specification

When interacting with the auditor, there could be instances where individuals will have to explain how they interpret a specification. When doing so, many recommend having documented procedures, collected data and having any additional information on hand for any discussions that may occur.

Moreover, being able to provide an explanation for why certain things are done in a certain way not only helps to improve the understanding of the nuances of various specifications, but it also helps to decide if any refinements need to be made to the process.

Finishing the Audit Process

From discussions about what occurs after the official audit, companies have found that it is important to follow the proper steps – regardless of whether they failed or passed the audit. These recommended steps are nearly identical to those followed after the internal audit, but with a few significant differences.

Reviewing Findings

The first and most important step is to review any findings with the auditor and make sure that all these findings are understood. This step is very important because if individuals do not understand what the finding is, then they will not be able to correct that finding.

After the conclusion of the audit, the next step is to respond to all findings, making sure to include:

  • The corrective action taken
  • Te root cause of the nonconformance
  • The product impact of all nonconformances
  • The action taken to prevent future reoccurances
  • The objective evidence

Performing Root-Cause Analysis

The process of performing root-cause analysis for the official audit is identical to the steps employed during the internal audit. However, a recommended best practice is to take advantage of the root-cause trainings offered by PRI in order to better understand how to identify them. This is because, depending on the auditor's findings, related findings are at times grouped together based on the root cause.

In the end, understanding how to perform root-cause analysis is a vital part of the official audit process since having a similar root cause does not necessarily mean the number of findings will be reduced.

Applying Corrective Actions

After performing root-cause analysis, the next step is to apply corrective actions. When making corrective actions, the resolution made to address the issue should be defined and the timing of the implementation should be cited.

For instance, if there was a finding for improperly located load thermocouples and the root cause discovered was a lack of operator training, the corrective action would be to provide operator training at a particular frequency. The training schedule that has been followed since the corrective action was implemented must then be noted.

When going through these processes after the audit, it is also essential to note that there are 21 calendar days from the end of the official audit to submit the initial response about the findings. Then, there are seven calendar days to submit each subsequent response with four total responses allowed. Thirty extra days are allotted if additional time is needed. However, utilizing these extra days can affect the company's merit, and using more than the 30 extra days or more than the allotted four responses, could result in an audit failure.9

When ending the Nadcap accreditation process, it has been found that keeping track of things that went smoothly, as well as areas that could use some refinement, helps contribute to success during future audits. Continuous refinement of the methods and processes helps enhance the safety and quality of the components that are processed.

Conclusion

As with any quality audit, auditors are tasked with evaluating a specific set of standards and making a note of findings that do not adhere to the set specifications. As such, they play a vital role in ensuring suppliers successfully adhere to the high-quality standards of the Aerospace industry. After all, Primes have established global quality standards so that planes can travel safely to their destinations and everyone can be confident that air travel is secure and safe. Ultimately, the safety of Aerospace products is very important and quality standards must be regularly enforced in order to ensure that these high global standards are met.

The Nadcap accreditation process helps ensure the safety of all who utilize these products and also helps to continually refine and enhance the processes. In the end, whether this is a company's first or tenth Nadcap audit, constantly refining and developing the audit process will contribute to a successful and positive audit experience each time.

References

[1] American Society for Quality, "What is Auditing," 2013, http://asq.org/learn-about-quality/auditing/.

[2] Performance Review Institute, "AC7102/8: Nadcap Audit Criteria for Heat Treating Pyrometry," 2014, pp. 1.

[3] Performance Review Institute, "AC7102 Rev. H: Nadcap Audit Criteria for Heat Treating," 2014, pp. 6.

[4] Evans, Paul and Eric Jacklin, "Nadcap Supplier Tutorial," Performance Review Institute (June 2013), pp. 28.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Performance Review Institute, "Root Cause Corrective Action - Nadcap Style," 2014, pp. 1-11.

[7] Ibid., 7.

[8] American Society for Quality, http://asq.org/learn-about-quality/auditing/.

[9] Evans, pp. 37

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This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Ipsen.

For more information on this source, please visit Ipsen.

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