The CQI Birmingham branch event, held on 29 July, educated attendees about the role of the Performance Review Institute, a not-for-profit trade association that administers the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (Nadcap). Amandip Sandhu, CQP FCQI, Quality Engineer at Bromford Technologies-Alcester, reveals all.

At the latest CQI Birmingham branch event, Hannah Godfrey, General Manager at PRI Europe, spoke about how Nadcap delivers rigorous technical audits in 18 special processes and products. The programme conducts 6,000 audits a year globally and has 55 subscribing Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) who use Nadcap to ensure the highest level of manufacturing quality throughout their supply chains.

In addition to all specific audit requirements related to special processes, Nadcap and PRI are committed to compliance with all government export control regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which affect the manufacturing, sale, and distribution of technology.

Collaboration is a key element of the programme

Nadcap subscribers are aerospace prime contractors with design authority, such as Rolls Royce and Airbus. Together with suppliers, technical experts from these companies develop industry-wide audit criteria for special processes and products including heat treating, welding, chemical processing and composites.

Collaboration is a key element of the programme, attendees learned, and the supply chain is strongly encouraged to participate in technical working groups known as task groups – which run each special process or product area.

Nadcap also has a supplier merit programme, which permits extended frequency audits to suppliers who demonstrate exemplary audit performance. This is determined by the Special Process Task Group. Initial audits have an accreditation period of 12 months from the first quarter in which it is eligible for review, while the following two reaccreditation audits have accreditation periods of 12 months from their prior expiration. Subsequent reaccreditation audits are awarded for periods of 12, 18, or 24 months, based on the supplier’s performance.

While special process accreditation is at the core of Nadcap, PRI manages several valuable programs and offers opportunities such as professional development including offering training to support Nadcap audit preparation, Nadcap meetings and supplier symposia, which are held several times each year globally.

There was further explanation about the Nadcap approach to root cause analysis for closure on non-conformities. Audits follow the general auditing protocol, which includes an introductory or in-briefing meeting as well, as an exit or out-briefing meeting upon completion, although non-conformances are identified daily throughout the audit.

After corrective actions have been implemented for all non-conformances (to the satisfaction of the relevant PRI Staff Engineer), the complete audit report is submitted to the subscribers of the applicable special process task group – experts in the special process being audited – to verify the staff engineer’s conclusion and approve the audit for accreditation.

There was active engagement during the presentation with numerous questions and we trust members have taken away some thoughts to consider for their own organisations.