Conrad Kacsik Blog

Nov 1, 2022 4:46:59 PM / by Jason Schulze

airplane-engineEarning Nadcap accreditation can be an expensive, long and difficult process in the first place. Even after that, suppliers need to be reaccredited through audits every 12 months. That is unless you have something called “merit” or “merit status.”

According to Nadcap OP 1111, suppliers can receive merit status once they meet certain criteria. Merit allows suppliers to have longer periods of time between reaccreditation audits, ranging from 18 months to two years.

For those that go through the audit process each year, this may be seen as a way to save on costs by avoiding preparation and accreditation costs. Unfortunately, depending on how your organization is structured and supported, gaining merit may not always be beneficial.

What Is “Merit” and How Do You Acquire It?

The Nadcap merit program allows Nadcap accredited suppliers to reduce their audit frequency to every 18 months, or if you meet certain criteria, every 24 months. Here are the requirements for each.

18-Month Merit

To earn the 18-month merit, you must have earned your first accreditation and be on your second reaccreditation audit. In other words, you must be on your third consecutive audit without losing your original accreditation at a minimum to earn the 18-month merit.

During this third audit, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • No non-sustaining corrective actions identified on current or previous accreditation audit or on any additional scope audit between the current and previous accreditation audit.
  • No verification of corrective action (VCA) audits as a result of current or previous accreditation audit.
  • No type C auditee advisories (reference OP 1109 Auditee Advisories) issued by that Task Group since the start of the previous accreditation audit.
  • No more than 14 days of cumulative delinquency.
  • No more than 50% of major and 60% of total non-conformances (NCRs) allowed for mode B reaccreditation audit failure criteria as identified in OP 1110 audit failure and risk mitigation.
  • Any other reason not addressed above and defined by the task group in their OP 1114 task group operation appendix or documented in the audit merit screen and approved by quorum during task group review.

24-Month Merit

To earn the 24-month merit, you must first earn the 18-month merit. Then, you must be reaccredited with that 18-month merit twice. Once you’ve done that, you can earn the 24-month merit if you meet the following criteria:

  • No major NCRs.
  • No more than seven days of cumulative delinquency.
  • Any other reason not addressed above and defined by the task group in their OP 1114 task group operation appendix or documented in the audit merit screen and approved by quorum during task group review.

It’s important to note that all requirements for the 18-month merit still apply to the 24-month merit as well.

Difficulties Maintaining Nadcap Merit: Why Merit Status Isn’t Always Best

Once merit is achieved, the challenge typically lies in maintaining the existing quality system to ensure conformance. I have seen suppliers get too relaxed with their daily quality assignments, and then NCRs will be discovered during the next Nadcap audit. This is especially the case for suppliers that have a 24-month merit.

This means that merit status may not be good for every supplier. It really depends on whether your organization can maintain conformance without the added pressure of a yearly audit.

I recommend that anyone who has earned the 18-month or 24-month merit treat their quality system as if it will be audited every 12 months. Performing internal audits every 12 months can also be helpful, which requires constant review of documentation along with consistent testing and verification of production cycles.

If your organization needs support with Nadcap accreditation, earning merit or maintaining compliance with merit for heat treatment, Conrad Kacsik can help. We have the expertise and training that can ensure you can meet the most demanding industry standards. Talk to an expert today.

What to Consider When Seeking Nadcap Accreditation

Topics: Nadcap, Nadcap Audit

Jason Schulze

Written by Jason Schulze

Jason Schulze is the director of technical services at Conrad Kacsik Instrument Systems, Inc. As a metallurgical engineer with 20-plus years in aerospace, he assists potential and existing Nadcap suppliers in conformance as well as metallurgical consulting. He is contracted by PRI Training as a Lead Instructor to teach multiple PRI courses, including pyrometry, RCCA and Checklists Review for heat treat. Jason is also a voting member on two AMEC committees. Contact him at jschulze@kacsik.com.