ANSI/ASQC C1-1996 Supplier Testing

Schedule, calendar, timeline

Q: I need clarification on the following, please:

ANSI/ASQC C1-1996 — Specification of General Requirements for a Quality Program — has been included in the required specifications from a prospective customer. Section 3.3.4 states (in the last sentence) “Furthermore, the validity of certifications shall be periodically verified by the buyer through independent testing.”

What criteria (time-frame, suppliers, mills, etc.) should be used to comply with “periodically?”

What testing is to be performed for the required independent testing? Is it to be only a chemical analysis, or are mechanical tests to be performed as well?

Does this standard require independent testing of materials in purchased components such as gaskets, glass, bolts and fittings, or is “raw materials” only meant to be the base materials such as plate and sheet steel that we purchase?

A: To begin with, most establishments, including your customer, already know that materials most often come with material test certificates.  For example, when you order a sheet of steel from EMJ Metals or another supplier, they will supply a test certificate along with it.

The certificates include that data which would be most important to your customer such as chemical analysis, mechanical properties, ASTM specifications, etc. You are probably already aware of all this.

As for “periodic” and “independent” testing, here is my opinion:

If you have, in writing, a document stating that all purchased materials will be subject to receiving inspection and such inspections will verify that customer requirements have been met, that will be step 1.

For step 2, if you go to the web site of almost any materials supplier, they will have documentation (quality manual, ISO certification, etc.) which you can use as evidence they are a qualified supplier.

You can then contact that supplier and ask if they will verify, in writing, that they also test the material they are sending.  Steel suppliers, like most material suppliers, sell what they receive from the original mills.  The material certs they provide to you are made of tests the mills run.  A company such as EMJ, which I mentioned earlier, uses what is called a Niton tester to verify chemical make up of the product which they buy and in turn sell to their customers.

Finally, step 3: as with any quality management system, you must “do what you say you do.”  So, if you say that part of your receiving inspection includes hardness testing, be ready to provide evidence of that (incoming inspection reports).

In closing, I feel confident that if you prepare the steps noted above, or something similar and communicate this to your potential customer, they will be doubly satisfied with your company. Doubly because all of this would display evidence of an organization with a mature QMS.

Bud Salsbury,
ASQ Senior Member, CQT,CQI

ISO/TS 16949 Clause, Product Testing

Automotive inspection, TS 16949, IATF 16949

Q: Can you please clarify a requirement in clause in ISO/TS 16949 Quality management systems—Particular requirements for the application of ISO 9001:2008 for automotive production and relevant service part organizations. The requirement is as follows: “A layout inspection and a functional verification to applicable customer engineering material and performance standards shall be performed for each product as specified in the control plans.”

We have a third-party auditor claiming that “product” means every part number.  Our belief is that this is every product family, not every part number.   As a company trying to stay in business, testing every part number is not feasible or cost efficient.

A: This is a controversial area as all production parts that conform to TS 16949 must be PPAPed which is, in effect, an inspection of each part that is produced. If parts produced have different part numbers depending on whom they are supplied to, then one PPAP would be OK. Also, it would be OK if the supplier can get a variance from its customers to the requirement “A layout inspection and a functional verification to applicable customer engineering material and performance standards shall be performed for ‘each product’ as specified in the control plans.” The supplier may want to seek a sanctioned interpretation by the International Automotive Oversight Bureau.

Ron Berglund
Voting member of the U.S. TAG to ISO/TC 176
ASQ Fellow
Canton, MI

Value of CQA Certification in Aerospace Auditing


Q: What groups recognize the ASQ Certified Quality Auditor (CQA) Certification? The CQA is not enough to conduct an  internal audit to AS9100:2009 Revision C Quality management systems—Requirements for aviation, space and defense organizations, and I am not trained in AS9100C.

Why become a Certified Quality Auditor (CQA)?

A: Thank you for contacting ASQ Ask the Experts. The ASQ CQA is recognized by companies, industries and organizations worldwide as evidence of an individual that has demonstrated their ability to meet established criteria for quality management system auditing.

AS9100C contains requirements that are specific to the aerospace industry and  exceed the ASQ CQA requirements.

Having an ASQ CQA would be a good start toward obtaining an AS9100C auditor certification.  However, keep in mind that although first party internal auditors should be trained as auditors, rarely would they be required to be certified for the purpose of conducting internal (first party) audits.  I hope this helps.

Bill Aston
ASQ Senior Member
Managing Director of Aston Technical Consulting Services
Kingwood, TX