Aeronautical Center Zooms to Top in ISO Audit
Vol.6 Issue 7

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as demonstrated by ISO 9001:2015 signifies that an organization functions like a quality management system. Willingness to adopt to this conformance represents a strategic decision for any organization. It means that an organization desires to improve its performance and can provide a sound basis for sustainable development initiatives. Obtaining ISO certification is important for several reasons: it increases the value of an organization against its competitors; it gives credibility to the quality of products/services provided; it substantiates consistency in the work delivered; increases customer satisfaction; and it empowers employees to complete tasks using procedures, instructions, and metrics.

As of August 2020, the ISO 9001:2015 external audit has been completed. This year, the Aeronautical Center as an organization zoomed straight to the top.

Like most businesses operating virtually, in July an external audit recertification was completed via ZOOM. Being quarantined wasn’t enough to deter our resolve to conduct business as usual and triumph over adversity. The purpose of the audit was to determine how the Aeronautical Center’s Business Management System was performing for the organization.

Strong evidence of management commitment, customer service, interested party satisfaction, and awareness of objectives were demonstrated consistently by all members of the organization. Responsibility and authority was evident and supported fully via data, trends and related key performance indicators. The results indicated that senior management is fully engaged in supporting all aspects of the System.

The primary focus of this audit was to answer these three questions:

  1. Who are our interested parties?
  2. How do we communicate with them?
  3. What do we do with the information once we’ve gathered it?

The results were categorized in six process areas: Management, Internal Audits, Corrective Actions, Continuous Improvement, Operational Control, and Resources. This year, our score for Management was raised to its highest level: Benchmark! It should be noted that reaching that summit is extremely difficult and rarely achieved by most organizations.

The close-out of the audit revealed:

  • The Management Category is being raised to a Level 5, meaning that it is now ’Best In Class’ across industry, achieving benchmark status! It was raised because of evidence showing strong leadership and management commitment. Implementation of the strategic initiative of the 4C’s (cost effectiveness, collaboration, communication and culture) in addition to the attainment of the $20M by FY2020 goal, and then the setting of a new goal $125M by 2025. The reduction of our environmental footprint also contributed to the level increase.

  • Both Operational Controls and Continuous Improvement category scores were raised to Level 4 (representing Maturity level.)

  • The previous year’s two minor findings were closed and only one minor finding was issued.

  • Recertification was recommended pending approval of the corrective action plan.

Michelle Coppedge, Aeronautical Center Director explains, "This audit is an important reflection of the Center’s commitment to establishing a sound foundation that focuses on the most important areas of our business to improve efficiency. The results are a culmination of several years of work, as we have been steadily improving."

Intertek Maturity Model

Jennifer Funk, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, DOT commented, "Congratulations on this great achievement. I have seen great improvements at the ESC year after year, and we’ll make sure to share this news with others at DOT."

John Kramer, Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs, DOT remarked, "I add my congratulations to the entire team! I am not sure that I have ever seen a Level 5 rating!"

Lana Hurdle, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs stated, "This is terrific news! Thanks for all your hard work and I hope you are all proud of what has been accomplished…"

This year’s audit was a testament to the significant proactive change in the Aeronautical Center’s culture which was demonstrated through sustained growth and commitment.

Congratulations to all the employees of the Aeronautical Center for continuing to focus on Excellence, one the FAA’s cores values as demonstrated by embodying professionalism, transparency, and accountability.

Federal Aviation Aministration (FAA) seal