Nadcap Meeting Attendance – To Attend Or Not To Attend

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Nadcap Meeting Attendance – To Attend Or Not To Attend

01 September 2012

Nadcap audits are a requirement which most companies that perform aerospace work in the special process arena have to deal with. Nadcap audits are work intensive, time consuming, costly and something to which most of us do not look forward. You probably invest at least three weeks in the pre-audit activities and close to a week for the actual audit. If you have findings there is even more time invested in answering the findings. Why would you invest any more money, time or energy attending Nadcap meetings that occur all over the world?

The meetings provide a forum where you are allowed to express opinions to a receptive audience. If the evidence provided is clear and concise, the task group may or may not implement your suggestion. Either way fair opportunity is given to express opinions and have a voice in the audit process. A really bad audit could have a devastating consequence to your company. One of your best allies is Nadcap meeting attendance and more importantly, participation at the meetings. You learn a lot about the whole process. Think of the savings of not having to deal with the devastating consequences of a really bad audit.

As an executive at the company for which I work, I am responsible for containing costs to the best of my ability. I take this responsibility seriously. Yet I attend most of the Nadcap meetings, both nationally and internationally. This adds to about $15,000.00 to $20,000.00 a year, including my time to the cost of doing business as it relates to Nadcap. How can I justify the extra time and money spent? Let me briefly explain my reasoning for justifying this cost.

Attendance at Nadcap meetings is extremely beneficial toward ultimate success in passing Nadcap audits. First and foremost, if you attend Nadcap meetings you have to participate. This means active participation. You need to listen to what is being said by the Subscribers, guests and Suppliers. There are times when subject matters are not interesting, but you still have to listen. Careful listening will allow for thoughtful insight whenever you choose to speak. If you hear something that is wrong for your company or industry in general, you must speak up. If it is wrong, and it is allowed to become auditable material, it pains us all. By stopping issues that are close to impossible to achieve, think how much time and money you have saved your company in answering the initial finding and any follow-up findings that might occur in the future. Even if you are incorrect, you get the valuable insight of those in attendance which may lead to understanding requirements more clearly, which in turn may allow you to perform at higher efficiency.

I have been in regular attendance at Nadcap meetings since 2007. From personal experience; I can guarantee that the company that I work for has saved far more than the $15,000.00 to $20,000.00 annual expenditure (as well as my lost work time) for attendance at Nadcap meetings. I have provided input in many issues at the Nadcap meetings saving money for the company I work for. There was one item in particular that was addressed at the 2007 Rome meeting regarding “off-site” facilities. The result would have been very costly to the company for which I work and to other companies, without added benefit. I was able to explain how things work and bring quick closure to the issue. This one action has saved enough money to justify my attendance for decades to come. If I had not been at this meeting, how much income could have been lost?

What about information? How valuable is that? Nadcap Management Council (NMC) meetings are open to all and provide insight from Nadcap and the Subscribers in regards to what is going on in the Nadcap community. Supplier Support Committee (SSC) meetings provide insight and information from other Suppliers across different commodities. During breaks, interactions with your peers occur in the hallways. You also get information straight from the source. During open meetings, questions can be directed to Subscribers and Staff Engineers to which you normally do not have access. Nadcap Staff Engineers have provided information on how to be successful in closing findings when they do occur. Suppliers have been asked to provide personal insight on how they have had success in closing findings. Guests have spoken on a number of topics such as NAS 410, annual eye exam requirements and black lights, to name a few. If new requirements are discussed and possibly implemented, you have an advantage over your competition. You can start to implement the requirements ahead of those who are not in attendance. How much value can you put on that?

Networking is another priceless commodity available at Nadcap meetings. You are networking with other members of your chosen field. Faces are placed with names of people probably dealt with over the phone. By being respectful and insightful when speaking at the meetings you may gain respect and become known to those in attendance. Trust between Subscribers, Staff Engineers and Suppliers are built. Experiences, both good and bad are shared. The company that I work for has both tangible and intangible evidence of the value of having someone represent them at the Nadcap meetings.

The company has endured hard times as well as good times and has yet to abandon attendance at the meetings. It is understood how important Nadcap is to our success. We choose to be an integral part of the Nadcap process to help ensure our continued success and help maintain the confidence that our customers have in us.

Hopefully by sharing our concerns and experiences with each other we can help create safer aircraft for the commercial and military customers that depend on the decisions that we make.

Dave Gray, Vice-President Mitchell Labs