QMT Features: May 2012
Aerospace suppliers say Nadcap improves quality
A global aerospace survey of Nadcap accredited suppliers show that Nadcap improves quality.

At the February 2012 Nadcap meeting in San Diego, USA,  the results of the most recent global Nadcap Supplier Survey were announced. In response to the question, "Do you agree, Quality has improved because of your Nadcap accreditation?" 85% agreed, while 7% neither agreed nor disagreed. This shows a continual improvement from previous surveys; in 2007, 76% of respondents agreed, rising to 83% in 2009.

Improved flow down  

43% of respondents rarely or never experience a problem with flow down issues regarding specifications, their revisions and other requirements from Nadcap prime user members, according to the recent survey. While there is clearly some way to go, this is an improvement on the previous surveys: in 2009 33% reported they rarely or never experienced problems, and only 9% indicated that they rarely or never experienced problems with flow down in 2007, so the trend is positive.
With regard to flow down issues regarding specifications, their revisions and other requirements from sub-tiers, the respondents indicated that this has remained steady since the last survey. 41% reported that they rarely or never had problems with flow down, showing little change from 2009 when 38% rarely or never had problems. This is still an improvement from 2007 when 14% rarely or never had problem with flow down from sub-tiers.

Auditor consistency focus
Participants were asked to rate Nadcap auditors for consistency within the special process fields (i.e. comparing chemical processing auditors to chemical processing auditors) and across commodities (e.g. comparing NDT auditors to heat treating auditors), depending on the type of Nadcap accreditations their companies' hold.
Different aspects of the audit process were analysed, including checklist interpretation, auditing methodology, request for data in advance of the audit, job audit completion and closing meeting information.

Within the same special process field, the results are comparable with the data set of two years ago:

71% see consistency in checklist interpretation, compared with 62% in 2009
87% see consistency in how job audits are completed, compared with 86% in 2009
83% see consistency in how auditors request data in advance of the audit, compared with 81% in 2009
91% see consistency in the information provided during the audit close-out meeting, compared with 91% in 2009

Across commodities, there have been some greater improvements but also some similarities compared to the last survey:

68% see consistency in checklist interpretation, compared with 60% in 2009
86% see consistency in how job audits are completed, compared with 76% in 2009
80% see consistency in how auditors request data in advance of the audit, compared with 78% in 2009
89% see consistency in the information provided during the audit close-out meeting, compared with 93% in 200
Staff engineer/auditor consistency shows improvement
84% of respondents find the Staff Engineers have consistently interpreted the findings as documented by the Nadcap Auditor. This is an improvement from 2009 when 81% agreed, and a further advance from the 2007 survey when 74% of respondents agreed.

Scott Klavon, director, Nadcap Program and Aerospace Operations at PRI noted "Consistency has been a focus area and it's one that will continue: where people are involved, whether they are auditors or staff engineers, there is a natural level of discrepancy. It is our responsibility to continue to minimize that as much as we can."
Nadcap continues to work to improve globalization

The aspects of globalization that have most impact on the Nadcap audit are language and culture. Most survey respondents reported that they had never expected any challenges with Nadcap related to language and culture. The availability of auditors or staff who speak different languages and the availability of checklists and other online resources in different languages were the most common issues reported in the survey.

Joe Pinto, PRI vice president and chief operating officer explained "It's good to see that having offices around the world, with staff consequently available almost 24/7, helps our customers find the information they need, when they need it. It's clear that there is still work to do here, particularly in terms of the language capabilities of the program, and we have to balance and prioritize that accordingly."

Nadcap meetings deliver benefits
58% of the respondents indicated that they plan on attending a Nadcap meeting in the next twelve months with the availability of free training, the opportunity to learn about Nadcap developments and participate in Task Group and technical discussions as well as to network with other industry representatives being key reasons for participation. For those who do not plan to attend, this is primarily due to travel expense involved.

SSC improves ability to deliver
The SSC - aware that it has to deliver value to its constituents (the global Nadcap accredited aerospace supplier base) - uses the survey as an opportunity to verify that it is meeting its goals. 72% of respondents agreed that the SSC represents their interests and concerns in the Nadcap process, with 18% neither agreeing nor disagreeing. This is an improvement of 22% compared to 2009, when 50% indicated that the SSC represented their interests and concerns, and a further improvement on 2007 when 45% agreed.

About the survey participants
1,581 responses were received, an increase of 290% from the previous survey in 2009. 62% of respondents were from the Americas; 25% from Europe; and 13% from Asia. This split closely follows the distribution of Nadcap audits per sector.
Respondents were also asked to indicate for which special processes their companies' hold Nadcap accreditation and the results match the audit distribution, with non-destructive testers being most common, followed by chemical Processors, heat treaters and welders. These are the four special processes most commonly audited by Nadcap.

About the survey
Every two years, starting in 2003, the Nadcap Supplier Support Committee conducts a survey of all Nadcap accredited suppliers around the world to gauge the value of Nadcap accreditation to their operations. The purpose of the survey is to assess Supplier satisfaction or concern with the Nadcap process via measurable questions and taking into account previous surveys and to identify areas needing improvement from the Supplier perspective.

This fifth biennial survey was conducted in 2011 and received over 1,500 responses, which were analyzed by an independent consultant, supported by a global team of aerospace prime contractor and supplier representatives.l
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