Book reviews for Book 3 (latest book)

K. M. Priyadarsanan

(Retired) Dy  Director, Directorate General of Air Quality Assurance, Ministry of Defence, India and Aerospace Experienced Auditor

It was in 2010 that an amateur writer arrived on the aerospace Quality Management literary scene by publishing a book titled “Safety Follows where Quality Leads”. This book, which skilfully dealt with the practical aspects of QMS as applied to the military aircraft industry, heralded the advent of its relatively unknown author Mr K.T. Thomas in the international business of Quality Management publications and was based on his first-hand experiences as a Quality Assurance personnel on the production line and assembly shops and later as an auditor.

The author, who now works as an independent auditor, later penned the book “A Complete Guide to Implement Aerospace Standard AS 9100C” before publishing “Implement AS 9100D for Business Excellence” recently, which is the book under review.

The book under review, which is thus the third book of the author, establishes him unequivocally as an authority on practical aspects of aerospace Quality Management Systems generally and on auditing specifically. Whereas the first book of the author “Safety Follows where Quality Leads” drew inspiration from the author’s numerous case studies, his second book, though not containing such case studies was comprehensively packed with supporting guidance material in scrupulous detail. In his third book, which is the book under review, the author strikes a neat balance between these two approaches.

The result is a thoroughly enjoyable and informative book which explains the aerospace standard AS 9100D threadbare to its very minutest detailed clauses. True to what he has promised in the Preface to this book, the author has definitely succeeded in his attempt to provide clause-by- clause explanations to all the changes and improvements made to not only ISO 9001 standard, but also to the aerospace standard AS 9100. In this book, the author has greatly reduced the number of Appendices and Annexure containing tools, templates and formats which constituted more than one-third the bulk of his previous guide book, ”A Complete Guide to Implement Aerospace Standard AS 9100C”, stating in the Preface that those guidance material in hard copy or Kindle version of the same book may still be referred if felt necessary. The author has spiced up the book with brief and witty anecdotes which appear in grey boxes interspersed throughout the text of the book, greatly increasing the readability of the book.

The book contains eleven chapters, Chapter 1 to 10 of which correspond to Clause 1 to 10 of the standard AS 9100D. An additional Chapter 11 addresses the topic of auditing in all its importance and explains the types, methodologies and activities involved in auditing as only an auditor with years of auditing experience can do.

This book, which, at 357 pages has come out quite compact, can be considered as a must-read for all students and professionals of ASD and for organisations in the industry interested in identifying, understanding and implementing best practices as a prelude to getting themselves certified to AS 9100D, and also for those professionals sincerely interested in maintaining and continually improving their QMS to achieve business excellence. The author deserves credit for penning this book in this era of ‘Make In India’ and Digital India campaigns, especially since it sends across a message to the world at large that quality has now become the buzzword in India too.

Sreelal Sreedhar

Associate Director (Reliability and Quality Assurance), GTRE, DRDO, Bangalore

engineers’ work – among which compliance to the International Standards has greater emphasis and importance. Awareness and responsiveness to assert the rights, exercising the responsibilities of organization, environment and people require good comprehension on the Standards and conscious efforts to implement the requirements. The author very vividly addresses this aspect in this book.

At a time when cutting edge technology finds a place in every aerospace industrial product segment, the discipline for backbone jurisprudence needs no further emphasis. Right interpretation of the requirements is necessary for effective implementation. Regular practice benefits from adopting advanced quality management system for equipment design, development and realization. It is considered as the de-facto decision for defence sector requirements and projects. Addressing this, it can be seen that the author has embedded seamlessly into this book, life lessons of many and the author’s decades of deeper contemplation during his service to nation’s aerospace and defence industry. While all of us often preserve such experience, the author has articulated and brought it out with passion and clarity for benefit of readers.

Another noteworthy feature is the ready to use, context specific guidance positioned ‘then-and-there’ based on the author’s vast experience of aerospace auditing. Beginners of Aerospace Industry Standard could find it as ready reference guide – for professionals it is likely to have benefit of faster learner’s curve in their practice of world’s latest aerospace and defence quality system standard.

The author appears to have made tremendous efforts to do the background systems thinking while interrogating and deciphering the intertwined clauses.  The author must be appreciated for being current among the fraternity of Indian quality professionals even a decade after superannuation. He makes all out efforts and dares to bring up a second time, the right interpretations, insights to align and equal to the best practices in the world. For any practicing and aspiring professional of quality management system standard for use in the aviation, space and defence industry / organizations, one couldn’t ask for more.

This book would be a very useful possession for any quality professional to get initiated and for those who aspire to digest aerospace quality standards and get influenced for taking up the challenges it brings. It further instils confidence in establishing the Standards by Best Practices. Following the simple narratives offered by the author through this book, I am sure all personnel would get the essence of direction and find a sustained inspiration in their professional pursuit.

Sastry Veluri

Senior Industry Principal – Aerospace Engineering Infosys Limited

This book will be useful to organizations in the areas of product design and service providers to aerospace, defence and space products. Mr KT Thomas has put in great effort to explain all the requirements of aerospace standard in a very systematic manner bringing all his experience together.

He detailed out the terminology used and various templates required to implement the system across various processes. He brought out with clarity the implementation requirements to establish a quality management system both for aerospace product and service organizations.

I strongly recommend this book to aerospace organizations and practicing aerospace engineers for the purpose of understanding aerospace quality standards in detail for implementation across the organizations.

Pulak Sengupta

Emeritus Professor, National Institute of Technology Patna, Former Director General, Aeronautical Quality Assurance, Ministry of Defence, and Former Executive Director (Quality), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bangalore

Mr. K. T. Thomas served in the quality assurance department of Indian military aviation for nearly 30 years, making significant contributions to our Defence Industries and the Military services. I am delighted to see that he continued his passion to improve quality management systems in the aviation, space and defence industries post his superannuation from the Government assignment. He interacted with more than 200 organisations over the last 10 years for guiding world class aviation quality systems and processes. This book (following the earlier edition, which I also had read delightfully) will help Mr. Thomas to contribute to large number of industries dealing with the quality system of aviation products.

Quality management systems have continuously evolved over the last 25 years culminating to the latest iteration, AS 9100 Rev D. More and more organisations have adopted these quality systems for their business excellence. Business in aviation, space and defence organisations demands the continuous growth of safety level and quality standards in the aerospace industry.

This book is an ideal reference guide to many organisations that wish to achieve excellence in quality by adopting world class practices in upgrading their quality management processes. Throughout the book, Mr. Thomas has clearly demonstrated his  depth of experience in quality assurance, both as a regulatory authority official in the Directorate of Aviation Quality Assurance in Ministry of Defence  where I had the opportunity to work as the Director General and also as an expert in aviation quality systems. Mr. Thomas is now working as an independent auditor to large number of organisations in India and abroad. The deliberations in the book, I am sure will benefit many quality system practitioners to establish the culture of right first time and every time across multiple industries.

This book is a rich contribution by a practising professional who is passionate about spreading the message of quality standards. The style is easy to follow. The author has taken painstaking efforts to explain specific quality system elements such as how to address operational risks, manage regulatory requirements within the context of the organization, align with specifics of design, etc. Interleaved with interesting anecdotes, the book will prove to be an asset for any professional in aviation, space and defence industries.

I am sure this book will provide valuable practical inputs to all those budding professionals who are driving quality in aviation and related sectors. My best wishes to Mr. Thomas for this great stride!