Why have a Qualification Program?
The primary benefit of qualification is that it improves the availability of products and shortens the procurement process by completing long or highly complex evaluations and tests of manufacturers or products prior to awarding a contract. Qualification improves readiness by ensuring the availability of products with requisite quality, reliability, performance, and safety from trusted manufacturers or distributors. Qualification can also help reduce costs by eliminating repetitive surveillance audits and tests. The requirements for 'qualification' appear in Section 3 of specifications where other means of establishing conformance, such as first article testing, are not practical. Although most specifications establish procedures for qualifying sources for specific items, some are focused on qualifying manufacturers' production lines. Products or manufacturers qualified to the requirements in a governing specification, are published on a corresponding Qualified Product List (QPL) or Qualified Manufacturers' List (QML) in the Qualified Product Database (QPD). Both the ASSIST and Quick Search websites link governing specifications to the corresponding QPL or QML, and also link the QPL or QML to the products and sources in the QPD. The latter may also be accessed directly in the QPLDOCS website. Responsibilities and procedures for the Qualification Program are in DoD Manual 4120.24, Defense Standardization Program (DSP) Procedures, specifically Enclosure 14, Qualification, starting on page 80. More guidance can be found in SD-6, Provisions Governing Qualification.
Industry-Managed QPL Program
The Qualified Product Management Council (QPMC) was formed by industry to fill the void left by the cancellation of military specifications with requirements for qualification. Founded in March 1997 with the cooperation of SAE International, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the Performance Review Institute (PRI), DoD, other federal agencies, and leading aerospace industry companies, the QPMC manages the PRI QPL program. For more information about the QPMC and the available industry managed QPLs, visit the PRI website