The Nadcap Audit is an accreditation process has been designed to benefit both company and customer. With over 2,800 accredited Suppliers of Special Processes, being Nadcap approved is a crucial element of working in the industry and supplying into aerospace.
For many companies looking to supply into aerospace, the process of gaining accreditation can be daunting, and even for experienced metal finishers, preparing for your external auditors can be stressful.
To help more companies streamline this process, we’ve worked with our Nadcap approved customers to create an easy-to-follow guide on how to prepare for your Nadcap Audit, including tips and tricks make it easier.
9-12 months before
Preparation is incredibly important, with PRI recommending that companies start planning as far as 12 months in advance. This is preparation to educate your team and company about what’s required. Consuming PRI’s recommended reading comes top of the list of recommendations, along with getting into the habit of being compliant and audited by appointing Internal Auditors.
- Download and review the audit criteria and helpful resources such as handbooks/guides.
- Create a plan for your audit.
- Select and train Internal Auditor(s).
- Identify ITAR/EAR issues.
6-9 months before
Once you’re a quarter of the way through your allocated preparation time, now is the time to schedule your first audit. An online tool called eAuditNet is used to apply for the audit.
- Schedule your first audit using eAuditNet.
- Declare the ITAR/EAR status of the facility.
- Update the subscriber list and upload QMS certification or schedule an Aerospace Quality System (AQS) Nadcap Audit.
3-6 months before
Self-audit is the key to success. If you can find underlying issues long before your audit, you will have plenty of time to resolve them, with Steve Roberts of Alloy Heat Treatments saying “Start the process of self-audit a minimum of 4 months prior to your audit date”. When you’re halfway towards your audit, start creating your self-audit plan, this will include any revised procedures.
- Start working on a self-audit plan.
- Review the revised procedures.
- Update training and qualifications records.
90-120 days before
When the countdown of three months to go until the audit begins, this is the time to get stuck into your self-audit. Place yourself in the shoes of the auditor and be as thorough as possible. Robert Harrison, Quality Manager at King & Fowler suggests that users “Ensure that every requirement is understood and conduct ‘meaningful’ pre-Nadcap audits using the available audit checklists”. While Neil Hobbs, Quality Assurance Manager at Poeton suggests you can never be too careful with your audit process, saying to “Check, double-check and check again before the audit, especially laboratory and periodic testing, preparation is the key”. It is also wise to check the status of all Nadcap documentation as these do change from time to time, and you want to stay as up to date as possible.
- Conduct a thorough self-audit and address all identified non-conformances.
- Check the status of all Nadcap documentation to ensure no changes.
1 month before
PRI recommend getting in touch with your auditor a month prior to the audit. Confirm any working requirements they might have. This is also a good time to upload any required information onto eAuditNet, avoiding needless rushing days before the audit.
- Confirm contact with the auditor.
- Upload required information into eAuditNet.
A few days before your audit
With only a handful of days to go, this is the time to review and confirm all the corrective actions taken are now in place and have become daily working practices. Communicating with your team to ensure everyone is all hands on deck is crucial to the audit running smoothly.
Robert Harrison at King & Fowler explains “The auditors are in the main technical experts, so we need to ensure we have the right people in place to support at the audits”.
- Review and confirm that all corrective actions taken are in place.
- Confirm personnel availability and assign accountability for sections of the audit
- Ensure the hardware is available for job audits.
- Prepare a workspace for the Auditor with Internet Access.
After your Nadcap audit
Now the audit is over, this is not the time for complacency. Staying compliant allows you to reap the benefits brought by the audit, along with making your next audit even easier to pass. Robert Harrison recommends you “Compile certification matrix for operators approvals to ensure they stay compliant and are not overlooked and allowed to expire”.
- Continue to attend Nadcap meetings – this way you can keep up to date with changes, and create connections within the industry.
- Continue to communicate the Nadcap culture. Just because the audit is over, doesn’t mean that your processes are too. Keep the culture alive within the workforce so that the business can truly reap the benefits of the accreditation.
Fitfactory – Assisting you with your Nadcap audit compliance
Fifactory offer Production Control Software for aerospace metal finishing companies, covering from quotation all the way to invoice, and incorporating many requirements of a Nadcap audit. Robert Harrison at King & Fowler stated that “DNA gives us the traceability to check against orders and scheduling”, and this is possible because the system is configurable to different niches, including Chemical Processing, Plating, Powder Coating and Heat Treating. As Alan Selfridge at Aerospace Metal Finishers commented, “the system has been developed to the unique industry standards” which ensures users no longer rely on spreadsheets to track jobs and parts, instead of providing full traceability of who did what, when and for how long.
Would you like to simplify your Aerospace Compliance? Get in touch with us and see how Fitfactory can help streamline your processes and strengthen your operations.