VOL. 10 September ISSUE YEAR 2009

Standards Forum

in Vol. 10 - September Issue - Year 2009
Specification Review Procedure
Paul Huyton

Paul Huyton

Whether we are working to ISO 9001, AS EN 9100 or AC 7004 quality system, specification review is an important part of the product realization process. Specification review gives essential technical detail for the materials or processes to be used in providing a product that conforms to customer requirements. Product non-conformance, process errors and audit findings often have a root cause associated with inadequate specification review. Problems of this type can be avoided with a well-planned and managed specification review procedure.
The approach taken can be based on the general ISO 9001 model:
Plan - Do - Check - Act

Have a procedure to detail:
how new or revised specifications are identified;
who must review the specifications;
the review format & consideration points;
the type of review outputs.
Execute the planned procedure and implement any changes necessary to conform to new specification requirements.
Revised procedures, processes or products should be checked a few weeks after implementation by a specific follow-up or scheduled internal audit.
After the follow-up, the new procedures can be affirmed or revised, depending on the result of the audit.
Within this general PDCA framework a step-by-step procedure would be as follows.

The review team
Select the people to undertake the specification review. A review by one individual is vulnerable to omissions. Two or more reviewers are far more likely to identify changes in requirements and design adequate solutions. Combining a technical specialist with representatives from quality and/or production will provide good breadth to the team and provide for a successful review.

The new specification should be reviewed each paragraph at a time and two questions asked: what is the requirement and how will we achieve it? For the revision of a currently used specification the new requirements should be directly compared to the original, to form a gap analysis. The analysis identifies the gap between what is currently required and the new requirement. The means of bridging the gap can then be determined.
Attention should be focused on the words "shall", "must" and "will". These denote mandatory requirements which must be met.
The use of the words "may", "should", "can" and "might" indicate a conditional status that is not a mandatory requirement. These usually indicate "best practice" which the organization is encouraged to adopt.

Draft the changes in internal procedures to meet the new requirements. Then consider the consequences of the changes NC does the organization have the technical capability? Are new accreditations required? Do the personnel have the right training and experience? What additional resources or equipment may be needed? Is there an impact on other activities or procedures within the organization? Is there a need to out-source some activities? A standard questionnaire can be used to evaluate these and other relevant questions.

Communicate the new requirements and procedures to all involved along with the timescales for training and implementation.

It is important to have a defined effective date for the new procedures. Withdraw any superseded documents and ensure that retraining of the effected staff has taken place.

It is essential that the changes are followed-up to ensure that the new requirements are being met. Conduct an audit of the work area or process, or add to the existing internal audit schedule if the timing is appropriate. If the requirements are not being met then notify the review team so that corrective action can take place.

Complete documentation
Ensure that quality documents list is up-issued, old documents withdrawn, current issue specifications available, training records complete. The specification review procedure should require a signed-off for the completed review.

Specification review can be conducted with a well-planned and structured procedure to minimize the risk of non-conformance.

Peening specifications in development
The Surface Enhancement sub-committee, reporting to the Aerospace Materials Engineering Committee of the SAE continues in its endeavour to produce new and improved specifications for the peening process. The current work in progress includes:
Flap Peening: an all-new specification that utilizes procedures from SAE J443 and SAE J2277 for intensity and coverage determination. Requirements for operator qualification will also be well-defined and the calculation of tool speed for hole peening shall be simplified.
Ultra-sonic peening: new specifications for ultra-sonic peening using the peening balls and for the ultra-sonic peening media should soon be published. A specification for ultra-sonic needle peening for forming is also planned.
Shot sieve analysis: improvements are in progress to remove ambiguities in shot sieve analysis from AMS 2431 and AMS 2430.
AMS 2430: a number of improvements are scheduled for this specification. These have high importance now that AMS (MIL-S)-13165 has been cancelled.

These developments demonstrate the importance of the peening process to the SAE Aerospace Materials Committee and more information will be available when these specifications receive official publication.
Copies of newly published specifications and information on SAE membership can be obtained from the SAE website, www.sae.org

For questions contact paul@mfn.li

Standards Forum
by Paul Huyton,
MFN Course Director World Wide
more information at www.mfn.li/trainers