What is the Aerospace Improvement Maturity Model (AIMM)?

The IAQG, or International Aerospace Quality Group, who is responsible for developing standards throughout the aerospace supply chain, has created several tools to make the understanding and implementation of their standards easier.  One such tool is the Aerospace Improvement Maturity Model, or AIMM, a tool that is freely accessible from the IAQG website. 

From the website:

The Aerospace Improvement Maturity Model (AIMM) is provided by the IAQG to help organizations move beyond compliance to the 9100 standard and improve the maturity of their Quality Management System (QMS). Using AIMM, an organization can evaluate its current level of maturity and set clear targets for improvement. AIMM can be successfully used by certified or non-certified organizations, either for the entire scope of a 9100 compliant QMS or specific areas of interest.​

The model comprises 26 modules, which have been developed by IAQG experts, and thoroughly reviewed and validated through several field trials by the ASD industry. This application supports the performance of self-assessments against the model, which can be planned and tailored in accordance with the needs of the users.​

The users are warmly invited to take advantage of AIMM and provide feedback for its continual improvement.

The tool was first released in late 2021, with AIMM 1.0 going live on the IAQG website in August of that year.  Since, there has been an extensive FAQ developed for the system and it has been translated into several languages, such as Chinese, Italian, and Japanese.  The system is freely available and users are encouraged to provide feedback for improvement.

The system sets up a maturity model of 5 levels, with distinct criteria for each level for each clause of the 9100 standard – here being referred to as ‘the 9100 standard’ in preparation for future changes in which the AS prefix is replaced with the internationally recognized IA prefix for all future revisions.  From the main screen, you can select ‘Study AIMM’ to look at each level and its criteria for each clause of the standard.  This allows organizations and assessors to become familiar with the criteria in preparation for implementation, improvement, or assessment.

The remaining tabs follow a PDCA methodology, allowing the users to plan maturity and conduct the maturity assessment, and to view the results so that gaps can be filled to reach the desired maturity level.

From the planning tab, hitting ‘Create New’ will allow for the user to create a new assessment, identifying the scope, team members, schedule, etc.  The form here was a bit clunky – if the user attempts to use a mouse scroll wheel to scroll down and complete the form, the website in the background scrolls instead of the open dialog.  I had to ‘tab’ through the open fields to get to the bottom of the form to hit submit once my scope was defined.

Once the form is submitted, but while still in the planning phase, the user can select whether they want to assess all auditable clauses of the 9100 standard (clause 4-10) or only certain clauses, as well as what maturity level (1-5) that the organization is targeting and hoping to find evidence of reaching with the assessment.  The desired maturity level can be manipulated per clause, allowing for organizations to strive for variable maturity levels in certain areas depending on their own SWOT analysis, previous assessments, etc.

Once the user has selected all of the relevant clauses and desired maturity level(s), they will be done with the planning phase of the assessment and will be able to move on to ‘Perform’, or the Do of the PDCA cycle.  In the Perform view, the user will be able to see all applicable clauses and expected outcomes, and by clicking in the remarks column for each line item, they will be able to see the maturity criteria for the selected clause so that they can make an informed decision based on objective evidence observed weighed against said criteria.

Under each maturity level criteria, the assessor is able to enter the % of level achieved, with the aggregate populating in the assessed column to the right of the assessment.  By clicking in the word balloon in the remarks cell, the user can enter any comments, such as evidence of conformity or what was observed and assessed against the criteria, and under that, the user can select ‘New Action Item’ if corrective action is needed to reach the desired level of maturity.

Check, the next step in the PDCA cycle, would lead the user or organization to review the results of the maturity assessment, which can be done in the ‘View Results’ tab, where users can see the percentage level achieved and the achieved vs target.  This information will be very helpful for users to determine where there are gaps and what might need to be done in the Act phase to make necessary improvements.  Unfortunately, this screen does not offer the user much in the way of analytics, such as showing which clauses did not meet the targets or why, or any of the improvement actions that were captured during the assessment to close the gaps.  And, since the ‘Perform’ view also shows the level achieved against the target, thus containing all of the information from this screen and more, it is difficult to see this portion of the application as being very useful.  And, while this screen can be printed or saved as a nicely formatted PDF, so can the ‘Perform’ screen, but with all of the criteria, assessment, corrective actions, and overall maturity status reached all in one place.

Overall, AIMM is a great tool to define criteria for the five levels of maturity against each clause of the 9100 standard and does a pretty good job of walking users through a PDCA approach to planning and executing a maturity assessment.  The ‘Perform’ view seems to be where there is the most value, as it not only allows the user to easily execute the assessment and compare observations against criteria, the screen also makes for the best portion of the application for reporting, allowing organizations to easily see where there are gaps to maturity targets and plan for corrective actions, all of which visible in the printed or exported report.  It’s excellent that the IAQG has invested the resources into building this tool and making it freely accessible for anyone, and, since the 9100 standard is based on ISO 9001:2015 and includes all of its requirements, it’s easy to see where there would be applicability elsewhere for this tool.