Saturday, May 18, 2024

SIRIM – Raising The Bar

Enhances Excellence in the Aerospace Industry

Malaysian aerospace companies have been making a name for themselves in the industry’s ecosystem, particularly in maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and components manufacturing segment. By getting certified with AS9100, these companies can demonstrate their adherence to industry best practices which in turn will raise their profiles and secure more contracts with the largest aerospace OEMs in the world.

Since the launch of the National Aerospace Blueprint in 1997, Malaysia’s aerospace industry has evolved considerably to become an important contributor to the economy. This is evidenced by how the total revenue generated by the industry has grown from RM0.9 billion in 1998 to RM12.2 billion in 2021. And today, it employs more than 27,500 skilled workers.

In its efforts to create a conducive ecosystem for the industry to develop, the Malaysian government launched the Malaysian Aerospace Industry Blueprint 2030 (MAIB2030) during the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) 2015. This masterplan outlines the nation’s aspiration to become the leading aerospace nation in Southeast Asia by 2030.

Being the nation’s premier research and technology organisation, SIRIM plays a key role in driving excellence in the Malaysian aerospace sector. Offering comprehensive service, SIRIM is without a doubt a one-stop solution provider for the aerospace industry.

Its subsidiary companies are testament to this fact. Take SIRIM Calibration. The company provides industry players such as Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines with a comprehensive and diverse range of calibration services for their measurement devices and equipment. Another subsidiary is SIRIM STS, which provides training as well as consulting services to assist companies in the auditing process for certifications. Then there is SIRIM Industrial Research. For the aerospace industry, this company develops electric aviation as well as sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). This is essential for aviation companies to achieve their ESG goals, as the use of SAF will reduce their carbon footprint on a per-passenger-mile basis. Besides that, SIRIM Industrial Research also provides Aerospace MRO support in terms of machinery development as well as engineering services.

Last but not least, SIRIM QAS International ensures that organisations meet industry, local, regional and international standards through providing testing, inspection and certification (TIC) services. This is reflected in how it is the first conformity assessment body (CAB) in Southeast Asia to provide AS9100 – Quality Management Systems certification. SIRIM Berhad President and Group CEO Dato’ Indera Dr Ahmad Sabirin Arshad tells International Business Review how this has propelled SIRIM into being a key partner for aerospace industry players that seek to lift themselves to the next plateau.

As any industry insider will tell you, the aerospace industry places deep importance on standardisation.

Major players within the industry do not operate in silos and more often have operations in more than one country. The only way to ensure that quality is consistent across different bases is to ensure that a standard is followed to the letter. Enter AS 9100, an international management system standard for the aviation, space and defence (ASD) industry, developed by the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG). The AS9100 is based on the ISO 9001 Quality Management System while also incorporating additional requirements unique to the ASD industry.

The standard is for organisations that provide products and services to the ASD industry, including manufacturers and designers of aircraft components, parts and assemblies. MAIB2030 highlighted certification to this standard as one of the key initiatives for Malaysian aerospace companies to enhance market share globally. “As Malaysia is part of the aerospace supply chain, it is important for companies to be certified with the AS9100, not only to enhance competitiveness but also to achieve greater productivity and quality excellence,” said Dato’ Indera Dr Ahmad Sabirin.

Why It Matters

To become a major aerospace hub, Malaysia needs to align its processes to be on par with international standards.

Presently, the country is home to over 240 foreign and local aerospace companies, which are involved in five core subsectors, namely aerospace manufacturing; maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO); systems integration; engineering and design services; and education and training.

Local players, such as UMW Aerospace, CTRM and Aerospace Composites Malaysia (ACM), produce components and parts for global aerospace original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Boeing and Airbus. UMW Aerospace, for instance, is a Tier 1 supplier of fan cases for Rolls-Royce’s engines. This shows how far the Malaysian aerospace sector has progressed. Unfortunately, many of the smaller suppliers in Malaysia and in the region do not possess the AS9100 certification. For Malaysia to increase its influence in the aerospace sector, this must change.

The reason? For OEM manufacturers, such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin, AS9100 is a crucial and must have element in their suppliers. Conformity to said standard assures these major aircraft manufacturers that their supplier is committed to producing quality products and services. This helps reduce costs and liability risks, expedite delivery as well as establish trust between the OEM manufacturer and its suppliers. This is especially important as risk-sharing partnerships are becoming more popular among OEMs and suppliers.

According to Dato’ Indera Dr Ahmad Sabirin, by demonstrating compliance with international standards, suppliers are able to meet the expectations of OEM manufacturers and enhance their ability to secure participation in aircraft development programmes. This is especially beneficial to Malaysian companies that are at Tier 2 or below, because of the time required to grow and better maintain their “Management Certification System”. Because of which, the AS9100 is the perfect gateway for these companies to provide higher value-added content and its services to major OEM players.

Furthermore, an AS9100-certified company will also be included on the Online Aerospace Supplier Information System (OASIS) maintained by the IAQC. OASIS is an online database of certified aerospace suppliers that is accessible to all organisations within the global aerospace landscape. This would further boost a company’s visibility in the aerospace market.

The Prime Building Blocks For Growth

One of the intrinsic qualities of the AS9100 standard is the need to find ways to make the management system incrementally better over time – a process called continual improvement. Companies certified with AS9100 benefit by adopting a mindset that pushes them to develop.

This is because AS9100 adopts the core principles of ISO 9001, which include a process-based approach, risk-based thinking and the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. “By implementing the AS9100 standard, it will not only help improve an organisation’s processes to achieve desired objectives, but also imbue a culture of continual improvement to achieve that result consistently,” stated Dato’ Indera Dr Ahmad Sabirin. This ultimately contributes to improved efficiency and overall business performance.

To break into the intensely competitive and yet lucrative aerospace industry, Malaysian companies need to aggressively pursue excellence in all their operations and seek growth at every turn – something that the standard can help them achieve.

And not only does it facilitate growth, but the standard also helps increase efficiency. It allows organisations to better understand how their products and services are provided, and how these processes interact. From this perspective, it is easier to find and eliminate inefficiencies within the system, which can go a long way towards cost savings.

More importantly, AS9100 is systematically designed to help cultivate better customer relationships. Multiple sections of the standard focus on how an organisation will interact with its customers or partners for mutually beneficial results.

Beyond lifting customer satisfaction, it helps discover ways to develop suitable delivery methods, improve component tailoring and reduce operational costs.

Dato’ Indera Dr Ahmad Sabirin
SIRIM Berhad President and Group CEO

Experience, Expertise, and Excellence: SIRIM QAS for Aerospace Certification

SIRIM, as Malaysia’s leading CAB, is playing a major role in steering the national aerospace agenda in line with the targets outlined in MAIB2030.

It is the only Certification Body (CB) in Malaysia appointed by the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI) for AS9100 certification and the first Malaysian-based CB to offer the certification scheme. SIRIM has also gained accreditation from the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) for the AS9100 scheme, which further demonstrates the credibility of its certification process.

Added to this, companies that are subscribing to the AS9100 standard with SIRIM can rest easy because certifications issued by the company are accepted in over 50 countries worldwide.

Now companies within the industry, especially those based in Malaysia and around the region, can rely on SIRIM to acquire AS9100 certification without the need to venture far and wide and at an incredible expense.

“SIRIM is equipped with a team of experienced auditors to guide industry players through the process. So, they can be assured of quality when they choose SIRIM for their certification needs,” Dato’ Indera Dr Ahmad Sabirin expounded.

Through AS9100 certification, Malaysian aerospace companies can enhance their competitiveness in the global arena and have a slice of the pie and SIRIM is ready to assist organisations of all sizes in the aerospace supply chain to achieve AS9100 certification. This, coupled with the unrivalled expertise of its highly competent auditors, makes SIRIM a trusted co-pilot to elevate industry players to greater heights.

SIRIM QAS is ready to assist organisations of all sizes in the aerospace supply chain to achieve AS9100 certification. This, coupled with the unrivalled expertise of its highly competent auditors, makes SIRIM QAS a trusted co-pilot to elevate industry players to greater heights.

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