More constructive working relationships than I thought possible

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More constructive working relationships than I thought possible

03 September 2013

Name: Paul Evans
Company: JFIMS
Location: 7 sites in the UK (3 of which have Nadcap accreditation)
Processes: NDT is the only special process we do
Industries served: 40-45% aerospace and the rest is split between the nuclear and engineering sectors

What is your current Nadcap status?

We are Nadcap accredited for NDT at three of our sites, and they all have merit status.

What challenges have you faced in gaining and keeping Nadcap accreditation?

Initially, we had to revise a number of our procedures because Nadcap is a more disciplined system than we were used to. But we had to do it – we couldn’t process parts until we had our approvals in place. We started out with a small team, making sure everything was working well and when we were satisfied, we brought in more people. As we already had the system set up, training new people was relatively straightforward.

But it’s not enough to get everything in place: you have to have an ongoing review process. For example, we had to extensively rewrite our procedures. To ensure that they remain current, we have a three-year review cycle although in reality, customer specifications and industry standards change more frequently than that so it’s really more of a fail-safe method. We expect customers to flow down any change in requirements to us, but for industry standard updates, we are signed up to mailing lists that inform us when there are changes to relevant ASTM, British and European standards and any other standards we use.

What benefits have you seen from being Nadcap accredited?

I think it’s the rigour that Nadcap requires. We now have a better system. It’s very specific from a quality point of view, very robust (provided it is followed of course!). For example, before Nadcap, we weren’t required to do statistical process control checks to the same extent. We do a lot more checks now which means we know ahead of time if something is causing problems in our processing, instead of having nonconforming product at the end and not knowing why. Through trend analysis, we can pinpoint where our equipment is starting to fail, for example.

It also gives us great traceability and, in the worst case scenario, if there is an escape, we can trace the origin and fix it more easily. That has real commercial benefit, even though it’s not “visible” money through sales. It can cost a lot to close out non-conformances and make changes to your system, and it costs even more if you don’t even know where to look.

Why did you want to get involved with the Nadcap Supplier Support Committee?

I attended my first Nadcap meeting in 2004 and I’ve participated ever since. I remember at the Nadcap meeting inToulouseattending a supplier symposium and seeing Boeing, Airbus and Rolls-Royce all sitting together, working together for the good of the whole industry. And I thought to myself, if they can do it, then so can the suppliers. There were over 100 suppliers in that room, each with different perspectives. By communicating with each other and pulling together, we are much stronger. Before I got involved in Nadcap through the SSC and the meetings, Nadcap was quite daunting. Now, after years of working and networking with like-minded colleagues from throughout the global industry, I have more constructive working relationships than I thought possible.

What SSC achievement are you most proud of?

I think it’s just the fact of the suppliers all working together and gaining a voice in a systemic way. We have an avenue to help us help ourselves, and the rest of the industry. We should use it.